President Trump going to hospital following positive coronavirus test, first lady experiencing ‘mild symptoms’

U.S.

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Donald Trump is heading to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center following a positive coronavirus test.

Trump tweeted overnight Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the virus,

Dr. Sean P. Conley, physician to the president, released the following information Friday afternoon about the president’s condition and treatment for his coronavirus diagnosis:

Following PCR-confirmation of the President’s diagnosis, as a precautionary measure he received a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail. He completed the infusion without incident. In addition to the polyclonal antibodies, the President has been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin.

As of this afternoon the President remains fatigued but in good spirits. He’s being evaluated by a team of experts and together we’ll be making recommendations to the President and First Lady in regards to the next best steps.

First Lady Melania Trump remains well with only a mild cough and headache, and the remainder of the First Family are well and tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 today.

The first lady tweeted Friday morning that she was also experiencing mild symptoms: “Thank you for the love you are sending our way. I have mild symptoms but overall feeling good. I am looking forward to a speedy recovery.”

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has tested negative for coronavirus in the wake of President Donald Trump’s infection.

 Dr. Kevin O’Connor confirmed the negative results in a statement.

“Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden underwent PCR testing for COVID-19 today and COVID-19 was not detected. I am reporting this out in my capacity as both Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden’s primary care physician,” Dr. O’Connor said.

Biden was on the debate stage with Trump for more than 90 minutes earlier in the week.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows addressed reporters with an update after the President’s diagnosis. Meadows declined to discuss treatment plans but said the doctor would “continue to provide expertise.”

“They remain in good spirits. The president does have mild symptoms. As we look to, try to,  make sure not only his health and welfare are good but we continue to look at that for all the American people,” said Meadows. “He continues to be, not only be in good spirits, but very energetic. We talked a number of times this morning. He is certainly wanting to make sure that we stay engaged.”

Trump was scheduled to campaign in Florida Friday, but the White House released an updated schedule that no longer lists the president as participating in the event. So far, the only meeting listed for the president Friday is a phone call on coronavirus support to vulnerable seniors.

Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien announced Friday afternoon that all previously announced campaign events are being moved to virtual events or are being temporarily postponed.

While the severity of Trump’s symptoms remain unknown, the positive test raises questions about what would happen if he were to become incapacitated due to the virus.

John Hudak, a senior fellow and deputy director at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Effective Public Management, outlined some of the scenarios designed to protect the continuity of government in the event of a positive COVID-19 test in a research note published in July.

“In an unfortunate scenario in which the president were to contract COVID-19 and need therapies such as a ventilator and/or the use of other therapies that would impair his cognitive abilities and/or abilities to communicate, there are a few procedures in place to deal with that situation,” Hudak said. For transparency, the Brookings Institute is a public policy nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.

Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Chuck Grassley (who is president pro tempore, third in line for the presidency), and members of the cabinet would all need to be isolated from the president, said Hudak.

Pence’s press secretary confirmed Friday morning that the vice president and his wife, Karen Pence, tested negative for the virus.

If Trump’s treatment were to impair his ability to perform his duties, the president could invoke Section 3 of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.

This would allow the vice president to become “acting president” until the president notifies the House and Senate that he is able to perform his duties once again.

President Ronald Reagan invoked Section 3 in 1985 and President George W. Bush did so twice in 2002 and 2007, all for medical procedures.

If Trump were to decline rapidly, ruling out the possibility of invoking Section 3, Hudak said Section 4 of the 25th Amendment would provide a solution to such a crisis.

In that scenario, the vice president and a majority of the cabinet would send notice to the House and Senate “that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” This would also see the vice president assume the role of acting president until the president recovers.

“While presidential incapacity would be a serious national situation, the government would be able to function in a largely uninterrupted way until the president is recovered,” Hudak said.

The Associated Press and Nexstar Media Wire contributed to this report.

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