White House physician Sean P. Conley gave an update on President Trump’s health from Walter Reed hospital, saying he was “doing very well.”
President Trump on Saturday evening tweeted a video of himself telling the American people that he’s “starting to feel good.”
“I think I’ll be back soon.” he said. “The therapeutics, which I’m taking right now … they look like they’re miracles coming down from God.”
Later Saturday, the White House released a memo from Trump’s physician saying the president had completed his second dose of the drug Remdesivir, did not have a fever, and was “off supplemental oxygen.”
“While not yet out of the woods, the team remains cautiously optimistic,” White House physician Sean Conley said.
Trump’s speech followed a number of mixed messages about his health. Conley said earlier Saturday he was “extremely happy” with Trump’s progress since going to the hospital with COVID-19.
In contrast to Conley’s rosy assessment, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told The Associated Press that Trump’s condition in the past day had been “very concerning” and that the next 48 hours would be “critical.”
This story will be updated throughout the day. You can follow all of USA TODAY’s politics reporters on Twitter or subscribe to our daily On Politics newsletter.
☕ The latest news you need to know:
- More than 14 people close to the White House have tested positive for COVID-19. Names include: Hope Hicks, senior advisor to the president; Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager; and Kellyanne Conway, former White House senior advisor. Find a full list here.
- The Senate Judiciary Committee has no plans to push back the confirmation hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
📆 Countdown: 31 days until Election Day, four days until the vice presidential debate, 109 days until Inauguration Day, 90 days left in 2020.
🙋Got questions about Trump and COVID?Ask us. You can use this form to submit your own.
🗳️ Voting: See USA TODAY’s Voter Guide for information on registering to vote, when your state begins voting and what the candidates think about the issues.
Democrat Harrison debates Sen. Graham from behind a plexiglass shiel
In the lessons learned department, South Carolina Senate candidate Jaime Harrison was taking no chances with the coronavirus as he squared off against incumbent Republican and Donald Trump loyalist Lindsey Graham in their debate Saturday night.
Harrison had his own plexiglass shield erected around his lectern, which was situated 13 feet from Graham.
“We shouldn’t blame the president for the inception of this disease,” Harrison said. “We shouldn’t blame anybody for the inception of this disease, but where blame should come is how we handle this disease, whether or not we take it seriously. You know, tonight, I am taking it seriously. That’s why I put this plexiglass up.”
Harrison who reportedly lost an aunt to COVID-19 earlier this year, said he had good reason for taking extra precautions.
“It’s not just about me, it’s about the people in my life that I have to take care of as well: my two boys, my wife, my grandmother,” he said.
– John D’Anna
White House doctor says his team ‘remains cautiously optimistic’ about Trump’s condition
The White House released a memo from White House physician Sean Conley Saturday evening, who said his team “remains cautiously optimistic,” though they were “not yet out of the woods.”
President Donald Trump had completed his second dose of the drug Remdesivir, did not have a fever, and was “off supplemental oxygen,” Conley said.
On Saturday, “Trump spent most of the afternoon conducting business” and was moving around his medical suite “without difficulty,” according to Conley. The president would remain under observation Sunday, Conley said.
The memo’s publication comes after a day of mixed messaging from the White House about the condition of the president and was released a little over two hours after Trump posted a video to his Twitter feed saying he was ‘starting to feel good..’
– Nicholas Wu
Christie admits himself to hospital
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in a tweet Saturday that he checked himself into Morristown Medical Center as “an important precautionary measure” due to his history of asthma.
Christie, 58, tested positive for the virus Friday. Christie had been with Trump for several days last week helping him prepare for Tuesday’s presidential debate. He told ABC “no one was wearing masks” during the sessions. He was also one of the roughly 200 participants at an outdoor gathering last week at the White House – which is now considered a possible “super spreader event” – to announce the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
– Dustin Racioppi and William Cummings
Meadows: Trump’s vitals ‘very concerning’
Trump’s condition after receiving a diagnosis of coronavirus was “very concerning” over the past day, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said – offering a more sober assessment than the one provided publicly by the president’s physician on Saturday.
“The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care,” said Meadows. “We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”
– John Fritze, Michael Collins and David Jackson
Doctor: Trump doing ‘very well’
“This morning, the president is doing very well,” said Dr. Sean Conley, President Donald Trump’s personal physician, during a news conference Saturday.
Doctors said the president had been fever free for over 24 hours and was not on oxygen. Conley said Trump had an oxygen saturation level of 96%, within the normal range for a healthy person.
When asked why Trump had been transferred to Walter Reed, Conley indicated it was out of an abundance of caution.
“Because he’s the president of the United States,” Conley said.
– John Fritze and William Cummings
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Saturday that he had not been tested for the coronavirus that day, but that he planned to be tested Sunday.
“No — but I am tomorrow morning,” Biden told reporters after exiting a church where he attended Mass.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s personal physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor said Friday that Biden and his wife Jill were each tested and “COVID-19 was not detected.”
However, given coronavirus’ incubation period of up to 14 days and that fact that he spent more than 90 minutes in a room with someone talking loudly, Biden is not in the clear.
“Thank you to everyone for your messages of concern,” Biden said in a tweet. “I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands.”
The Bidens said they will “continue to pray” for the president and first lady.
Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, and her husband Doug Emhoff also offered the president and first lady wishes for a speedy recovery.
– Bart Jansen
Sen. Wicker spotted not wearing mask on Delta flight
Sen. Roger Wicker was seen on a Delta flight with his mask pulled down to his chin for most of a trip from Atlanta to Jackson, Mississippi.
A photo of the Mississippi Republican on the Thursday flight was tweeted by Matt Harringer, who works for an advertising and media company in Washington, D.C.
“I’ve seen enough Republican senators test positive to tweet this photo,” Harringer tweeted. “@SenatorWicker – because you refused to wear a mask on our @Delta flight last night, please let your fellow passengers know your status once you’ve been tested.”
The senator’s communications director, Rick VanMeter, told USA TODAY that Wicker “lowered his face mask to eat a snack and forgot to put it back up. When he was reminded by a flight attendant, he put the mask back up.”
But Harringer said Wicker was not wearing his mask before the plane took off and told USA TODAY he doesn’t believe Wicker covered his nose after the flight attendant asked him to put it back on.
VanMeter did not address whether the senator had been tested for COVID-19 but said Wicker “did not attend any recent events at the White House and has not been in contact with any of the individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days.”
Delta Airlines says it’s investigating the incident in response to Harringer’s tweet.
“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our people and our customers,” the airline said. “We take our mask policy seriously and are investigating this incident.”
– Sarah Elbeshbishi
Trump previously had stake in drug companies
President Donald Trump previously reported that he earned capital gains from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Gilead Sciences Inc., the manufacturers of two of the medicines he is taking as part of his COVID-19 treatment plan.
According to a 2017 financial disclosure form filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Trump had a capital gain of $50,001 to $100,000 for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and $100,001 to $1 million for Gilead Sciences Inc. The form notes the information being noted was as of April 15, 2017.
Trump’s subsequent disclosure forms including his 2020 form signed July 31 did not list Regeneron or Gilead.
Trump received a single 8-gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail as a precautionary measure, according to his physician Sean Conley. The antibody cocktail is being studied in four late-stage clinical trials and its safety and efficacy have not been fully evaluated by any regulatory authority, the company said on its page. Trump also is taking Gilead’s Remdesivir.
– Kelly Tyko
Trump tweeted Saturday that White House and congressional negotiators need to come to a deal on coronavirus stimulus relief.
“OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you!” Trump tweeted, just hours after conflicting reports emerged on the presidents condition at Walter Reed National Medical Center, where he is being treated for COVID-19.
White House negotiators and congressional Democrats have been at an impasse for months over a relief bill after previous relief dried up over the summer. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democratic negotiator in the talks, said Friday she was “optimistic” about a deal, saying Trump’s diagnosis “changes the dynamic” of the negotiations. She has been meeting regularly with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the White House’s top liaison in the negotiations.
Trump’s statement comes after a jobs report Friday that showed U.S. employers added a disappointing 661,000 jobs in September. The jobs report is the last before a Nov. 3 presidential election that could serve as a referendum on President Trump’s handling of the pandemic and its economic fallout.
– Sean Rossman and Paul Davidson
Jobs report: US economy adds a disappointing 661,000 jobs last month in final employment report ahead of Election Day
Trump’s condition: Trump’s condition was ‘very concerning’ over past day, source says, as White House says president is doing ‘very well’
Stimulus talks latest: Pelosi ‘optimistic’ of a stimulus deal, saying Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis ‘changes the dynamic’
Rick Scott incorrectly says he tested positive for COVID
Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott looked like he was about to become the fourth Republican senator in two days to be infected with the coronavirus when he went on FOX News Saturday and said he tested “positive again”.
False alarm. His spokesman, Chris Hartline, said the freshman senator and former governor simply “misspoke. He tested negative.”
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said Saturday morning he tested positive and would quarantine, a day after GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina reported they had the virus.
– Ledyard King
When is the next debate?
The next presidential debate between Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami and hosted by C-SPAN Political Editor Steve Scully. Trump’s positive test, however, has raised major uncertainty about whether the debate will go on as planned.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said if Trump “feels up to it” the second debate should go forward, perhaps remotely.
But before then, Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris are to debate in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, moderated by USA TODAY’s Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page.
– Sean Rossman, Phillip Bailey, Joey Garrison and Ledyard King
3rd GOP senator tests positive for COVID-19
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., tested positive for COVID-19, his office said Saturday, marking the third Republican senator to announce they have contracted the virus since President Donald Trump’s positive result.
Johnson’s office said he returned to Washington on Tuesday after he had been in quarantine for 14 days following an exposure to someone who was positive for COVID-19. Johnson tested negative twice and experienced no symptoms during his quarantine, his office said. Once back in Washington, Johnson had another exposure to a person known to be positive and was tested Friday afternoon.
“Senator Johnson feels healthy and is not experiencing symptoms. He will remain isolated until given the all-clear by his doctor,” his office said.
Two other Republican senators have said they tested positive for COVID-19 since Trump announced that he tested positive. Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tested positive after attending the White House event last Saturday. Johnson is not on the Judiciary Committee.
Obama wishes ‘speedy recovery’ to Trumps ‘no matter our party’
“Michelle (Obama) and I hope that the President, First Lady, and all those affected by the coronavirus around the country are getting the care they need,” Obama tweeted Friday afternoon.
In another tweet, Obama urged everyone to put their political beliefs aside in midst of the contentious election season because “we’re all human beings” first. “We want everyone to be healthy, no matter our party.”
– Cydney Henderson
Trump’s COVID diagnosis followed waning White House precautions
From the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a disconnect between the guidance of public health experts and the actions of Trump and many of his deputies.
From holding large gatherings to resisting masks, the president, his administration and his campaign have sent conflicting messages to the American public as they sought to portray an image of strength and normality.
Experts said Trump and his administration could have done more: Mandate masks at the White House, hold fewer large gatherings and use technology to allow staff to meet remotely.
“This was not inevitable, but this was the likely outcome,” said Dr. Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
More than 14 people who were in close contact with Trump or White House officials have tested positive for COVID-19, sending shock throughout the nation just a month away from the presidential election.
Many of those who tested positive attended a White House event last Saturday at which Trump announced his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, who has since tested negative. They include first lady Melania Trump, former White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, the Rev. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame University, and a White House reporter.
The number of people Trump and his adviser Hope Hicks exposed to the virus could have expanded well beyond the circle of their close contacts. The pair attended several events over the past week drawing thousands of people. The list includes Trump’s top advisers, his campaign donors, his Democratic rival Joe Biden, and scores of his supporters.
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien also announced he had tested positive and will manage Trump’s re-election campaign from home.
– Donovan Slack and John Fritze
About Trump’s health: What’s the typical course of a COVID-19 infection?
HHS Sec. Azar: Trump is ‘a different situation than the rest of us’
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Friday during a House subcommittee hearing that President Donald Trump and his family are in a “different situation” in regard to mask-wearing and other coronavirus safety measures.
“The first family and the protective aspect around the president is a different situation than the rest of us because of the protocols around the first family,” Azar said, responding to a question from Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-NY, about the Trump family not wearing masks during the presidential debate Tuesday.
The secretary’s testimony before Congress, the first since February when the U.S. had fewer than 20 cases, comes after the President announced in a tweet early Friday he and the First Lady tested positive for COVID-19.
– Adrianna Rodriguez
➕➖ Who’s positive, who’s negative: Trump adviser Hope Hicks‘ positive infection was reported just hours ahead of Trump’s announcement. Barron Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner were negative as were Mike Pence and wife Karen; Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Joe and Jill Biden, Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi are among those reporting negative results. Here’s our running list.
- NOTE: A negative test means the person was not infected at the time of testing. The virus’ incubation period can be up to 14 days, so a negative test earlier in that time frame does not mean a person was not infected.
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