The news that senior White House aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) set off a flurry of contact tracing and other tests.
Overnight Friday, the White House announced that President Donald Trump and his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, had tested positive for the virus and would begin quarantining immediately.
The White House maintains it became aware that Hicks was sick on Thursday, shortly before the president decided to go ahed and attend a fundraiser in New Jersey.
"We had already started the contact tracing just prior to that event," Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Friday. "Last night even in the early hours of this morning, the minute we got a confirmatory test on the president we felt like it was important to get the news out there."
As of Friday afternoon, at least half-a-dozen members of the administration (plus several non-officials who recently visited the White House and several journalists) had tested positive for the virus.
Others, however, have tested negative — though if someone is tested too early in the course of infection, it can result in a false negative.
Fox News anchor Chris Wallace noted this caveat on Friday when saying he would be tested in the coming days, after being on stage with Trump at Tuesday's presidential debate. His doctor told him a more accurate test would require waiting, Wallace said.
Much remains unclear about the unfolding coronavirus situation at the White House, which aides tried to cast as inevitable, given how contagious the virus is — while critics said it only underlined how negligently the administration had handled the virus the whole time.
The president and first lady were so far showing "mild symptoms" as of Friday, according to the White House, but further information has not been released and officials have not confirmed how the Trumps became infected.
The White House physician said Friday that the president was suffering from fatigue but was in "good spirits" while the first lady had a couch and headache.
Below is a roundup of what is known so far concerning those who have recently tested positive and those who have tested negative in the White House and in President Trump's orbit.
President Donald Trump: "Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!" Trump wrote on Twitter shortly after midnight Friday. In recent days, the president has made appearances and had crowded campaign events in both Florida and Virginia. On Saturday, he spoke at the White House Rose Garden to announce his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The White House canceled all of the president's scheduled engagements for Friday except for a phone call on COVID-19 support for vulnerable seniors, which the president reportedly did not attend.
First Lady Melania Trump: Like her husband, Mrs. Trump's diagnosis was announced early Friday. In a series of subsequent tweets, she urged her followers to "stay safe" and said she was experiencing mild symptoms.
Hope Hicks: The former White House communications director and current adviser to the president — one of his longest-serving political aides, who left and then returned to his administration — was reported Thursday to have tested positive, though CNN reported that some White House officials were aware as of Thursday morning. Hicks was with Trump as recently as Wednesday, heading to a campaign rally in Minnesota. She was also on Air Force One with Trump when he traveled to the presidential debate against Joe Biden on Tuesday.
Sen. Mike Lee: The Republican lawmaker from Utah attended the Supreme Court announcement at the Rose Garden last Saturday. Video from that event shows Lee speaking in close proximity to, and hugging, several other individuals. As Politico reported, Lee also recently attended committee meetings and party lunches.
Republican Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel: The GOP chair received a positive diagnosis on Wednesday, according to a report in The New York Times. A spokesperson said she was last with President Trump on Sept. 25.
Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins: The In a letter to students, the Notre Dame head announced that he had contracted the virus after learning that a colleague had also tested positive. Writing that he had "mild" symptoms, he said he would be "entering an extended period of isolation as indicated by University medical personnel and county health officials." Like Lee, Jenkins attended Barrett nomination announcement on Saturday. (Barrett previously contracted and recovered from the virus, The Washington Post reported.) In May, Jenkins wrote an op-ed for the Times titled, "We’re Reopening Notre Dame. It’s Worth the Risk."
White House Reporters: CNN reported that at least three reporters who work at and cover the White House all tested positive on Friday. (An unnamed White House aide who spends time in the press area also tested positive, according to CNN.)
Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden: In a statement Friday, the Bidens' physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor said the couple "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." The former vice president and Trump debated one another in Cleveland on Tuesday night, in the first of what had been three scheduled face-offs ahead of the Nov. 3 election. Neither wore masks, though the candidates stood more than six feet apart and did not shake hands.
Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence: Pence's spokesman, Devin O'Malley, said early Friday that the vice president and Second Lady Karen Pence had both tested negative after the president was infected. O'Malley said Pence is tested daily. In a memorandum released Friday afternoon, his physician, Jesse T. Schonauu said the vice president would not need to be in isolation, as he had not come into close contact with any infected individuals: "Vice President Mike Pence does not need to quarantine. Vice President Mike Pence remains in good health and is free to go about his normal activities."
Barron Trump: The president and first lady's 14-year-old son tested negative and "all precautions are being taken to ensure he’s kept safe and healthy," the first lady's spokeswoman said Friday.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner: “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were tested again for COVID-19 and both are negative," Carolina Hurley, Ivanka's spokeswoman, said in a brief statement to PEOPLE. Hurley said Ivanka and her husband, also a senior White House aide, were tested Friday. Later Friday, the White House said the rest of the first family, including the president's sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, had also tested negative.
Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris: In a Friday afternoon tweet, the California senator said she and her husband, attorney Doug Emhoff, had both tested negative. "Both @DouglasEmhoff and I were tested for COVID-19 this morning and thankfully we tested negative. This virus is still very much active across our country, please continue to wear a mask and maintain social distancing."
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