When President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, the news triggered political, financial and economic questions worldwide — along with well-wishes from the president’s allies and staunchest critics.
Here is a timeline of this ongoing story amid the march toward the U.S. Presidential Election on Tuesday, November 3.
Note: Originally published Friday, October 2, 6:30 a.m. ET. Updated regularly thereafter.
Monday, October 5
Midday: President Trump expects to be discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and will return to the White House at 6:30 p.m. ET, despite ongoing speculation about his overall medical condition. Source: The New York Times.
Sunday, October 4
9:36 p.m. ET: President Trump briefly left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he is being treated for Covid-19, and waved to supporters from a presidential SUV, departing from government health guidelines designed to reduce the risk of spreading infection. Source: The Wall Street Journal.
9:29 p.m. ET: Doctors said President Trump’s condition was improving on Sunday, two days after he checked into the hospital, though they also noted that his blood oxygen level had dropped on Saturday and that he was taking a steroid that has typically been given to Covid-19 patients who are seriously ill. Trump could leave the hospital as soon as Monday. Source: The Wall Street Journal.
Saturday, October 3
6:33 a.m. ET – President Treated With Remdesivir: The President is being treated with Remdesivir therapy and does not need oxygen at the current time. Still, Trump did require oxygen earlier in his battle against COVID-19. Source: Bloomberg radio.
Friday, October 2, 2020
Bill Stepien, President Trump’s campaign manager, tested positive for COVID-19.
Kellyanne Conway, former White House counselor, tested positive for COVID-19.
Senator Tom Tillis tested positive for COVID-19.
11:41 p.m. ET – Campaign Manager Bill Stepien Tests Positive: President Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, has tested positive for Covid-19, Politico reports. Stepien received his diagnosis Friday evening and was experiencing what one senior campaign official described as “mild flu-like symptoms.” People familiar with the situation said the 42-year-old Stepien plans to quarantine until he recovers. Source: Politico.
10:16 p.m. ET – Kellyanne Conway Tests Positive: Former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Friday night that she has tested positive for coronavirus. Conway had attended the September 26 Rose Garden event where President Trump announced his Supreme Court nomination. Source: Kellyanne Conway, Twitter.
8:24 p.m. ET – Senator Tom Tillis Tests Positive: Senator Tom Tillis (R-N.C.) said in a statement evening that he tested positive for the coronavirus, writing: “I’m following the recommendations of my doctor. Thankfully, I have no symptoms and feel well.” Tillis had attended the September 26 Rose Garden event where President Trump announced his Supreme Court nomination. Source: Axios.
6:42 p.m. ET – Trump’s Diagnosis Sends Stocks Lower: An outbreak of positive Covid-19 cases inside the White House this week, including President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, created extra volatility for the stock market, especially since it clouds the outlook on the election, strategists said Friday. Source: Barron’s.
6:31 p.m. ET – Trump Video Statement Explains Move to Hospital: President Trump releases a short video, saying his move to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is a precautionary move. He also mentioned that the first lady is doing very well.
Early Evening – Marine One Flight to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center: President Trump walks solo from the White House to Marine One — a U.S. Navy helicopter that will fly him to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Trump arrives at the medical center a few minutes later.
4:30 p.m. ET – President Trump Has Fever, Heading to Hospital: President Trump has been running a mild fever. Around 4:30 p.m., The White House tells major media under embargo that Trump will fly to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, as a precautionary measure. Major media agrees to embargo the news for an undisclosed period of time. The medical center has a full Presidential suite, where Trump will continue to work daily and maintain his duties, the White House says.
Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, tested positive for COVID-19.
Republican Senator Mike Lee tested positive for COVID-19.
Rev. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, tested positive for COVID-19.
3:46 p.m. ET – Ronna McDaniel Tests Positive: Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, has tested positive for coronavirus. Source: The New York Times.
Afternoon – Regeneron Treatment: President Trump has received a dose of an experimental antibody cocktail being developed by the drug maker Regeneron, in addition to several other drugs, including zinc, vitamin D and the generic version of the heartburn treatment Pepcid, according to a letter from his doctor that was released by the White House Friday afternoon. Source: The New York Times.
Midday – Notre Dame President Tests Positive: The Rev. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is showing mild symptoms. Source: ESPN.
Presidential candidate & former VP Joe Biden tested negative for COVID-19.
Midday – Joe Biden Tests Negative: Presidential candidate and former VP Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden test negative for coronavirus. Earlier in the day, Joe Biden had tweeted best wishes to the president and first lady.
Midday: The major concern now, according to Bloomberg, is whether President Trump develops pneumonia within the next week. Still, President Trump’s current symptoms are similar to the common cold, The New York Times reports.
11:42 a.m. ET – Mike Lee Tests Positive: Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah tested positive for the virus.
9:30 a.m. ET – U.S. Financial Markets Open: U.S. financial markets decline sharply before recovering a bit amid the Trump infection news.
Morning – White House Physician Statement: President Trump is doing “well at this time,” the White House physician reports. Sources tell Bloomberg that Trump seemed exhausted on Wednesday, September 30 — one day after the Presidential debate on Tuesday, September 29.
VP Mike Pence has tested negative for COVID-19.
Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State, tested negative for COVID- 19.
Morning – VP Mike Pence Tests Negative: U.S. VP Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence test negative for COVID-19. Also, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tests negative for the virus, multiple media sources report.
12:54 a.m. ET – President Trump Discloses Infection: President Trump discloses that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVD-19. In a tweet, he writes:
“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!
If Trump’s illness affects his ability to lead the nation, Vice President Mike Pence would be in line to fill the role of acting president, followed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Newsweek notes.
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Hope Hicks, a close advisor to President Trump, tested positive for COVID-19.
Hope Hicks Tests Positive: Hope Hicks, one of President Trump’s closest advisors, tests positive for the coronavirus, according to Bloomberg. Hicks had traveled with the president on September 29, 2020, to and from the first presidential debate on Air Force One, ABC News reports. President Trump learned of Hicks’ positive test on Thursday morning, yet continued with a full schedule of events including a campaign fundraiser in New Jersey. Source: Bloomberg, October 2, 2020.
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden square off in their first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio.
Saturday, September 26, 2020
President Trump hosted roughly 150 guests at the White House Rose Garden to nominate Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court. Seven attendees are now infected with COVID-19, ABC news reported a week later on October 2, though it’s not clear the initial infections or spread occurred at the event.