WASHINGTON, United States — US President Donald Trump has tested positive for COVID-19 along with First Lady Melania Trump but is “well” and will continue to perform his duties while quarantined at the White House, his doctor said Friday.
Trump, who first announced the news of his positive test shortly before on Twitter, wrote: “We will get through this TOGETHER!”
The White House canceled his planned campaign rally in the crucial swing state of Florida on Friday.
Just 32 days before the November 3 election against Democrat Joe Biden and behind in the polls, it also looked certain that Trump would have to cancel a slew of other trips scheduled for this weekend and next week.
Trump’s official physician, Sean Conley, said in a statement that the president and his wife “are both well at this time and they plan to remain home at the White House during their convalescence.”
Conley said: “I expect the president to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering.”
Close aide gets virus
The shock news came right after one of Trump’s closest advisors, Hope Hicks, was reported Thursday to have come down with the virus.
Hicks traveled with Trump to Cleveland for his first debate with Biden on Tuesday.
She was with him again for a campaign rally in Minnesota on Wednesday.
With Hicks sharing Trump’s Air Force One plane and the even more cramped confines of the Marine One helicopter, speculation immediately erupted that Trump and possibly many others in his close entourage were exposed.
Trump was giving an interview on Fox News late Thursday when he confirmed the Hicks news and said he had been tested.
”You know I spend a lot of time with Hope, and so does the first lady,” Trump said.
Trump has been sharply criticized for holding large rallies where few supporters wear masks.
He himself has given mixed signals to the public on the need for wearing masks at all.
White House spokesman Judd Deere had earlier said ”the president takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously.”
Deere said the White House takes care to follow procedures ”for limiting Covid-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible both on complex and when the president is traveling.”
Global cases surpass 34 million
Global COVID-19 cases surpassed 34 million on Thursday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
The global case count reached 34,092,696 with a total of 1,016,050 deaths worldwide as of 1:23 p.m. local time (1723 GMT), the CSSE data showed.
The United States reported the most cases and deaths, which stood at 7,252,701 and 207,331, respectively.
India recorded 6,312,584 cases, ranking the second in the global chart.
Brazil registered the world’s third largest caseload of 4,810,935 and the second largest death toll of 143,952.
Countries with more than 750,000 cases also include Russia, Colombia, Peru, Spain and Argentina, while other countries with over 35,000 deaths include India, Mexico, Britain and Italy, according to the center.