Update: President Trump Tests Negative For Coronavirus
(Updated 7:33 p.m. ET, March 14, 2020)
Topline: Hours after a press conference on Saturday where President Trump said he had been tested for the coronavirus the previous evening, the White House physician said the test came back negative.
- Trump said that he had taken the test for the coronavirus and that the results had been sent to a lab: “I had my temperature taken coming into the room,” he said, “I also took the test last night.”
- Trump’s announcement came after he led a meeting of the coronavirus task force this morning, according to a tweet by White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.
- After initially refusing the test, Trump said yesterday that he would “most likely” get tested in the wake of potential exposure from at least two Brazilian officials at Mar-a-Lago last weekend.
- Earlier today, Vice President Mike Pence pledged to “implement the president’s vision” with regard to a public/private partnership for testing and helping state and local governments mitigate the ongoing crisis.
- Pence also confirmed that the European travel ban will be expanded to include the United Kingdom and Ireland as of midnight on Monday.
- New York also reported its first death linked to the virus on Saturday, an 82-year-old woman with emphysema who died in Manhattan, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday.
Crucial quote: When pressed about shaking hands with multiple people at a press conference yesterday where he declared a national emergency, Trump said that handshaking “almost becomes a habit.” He followed up: “shaking hands is not a great thing to be doing right now, I agree.”
Tangent: Apple announced yesterday that it will close its stores outside China for the next two weeks. “In our workplaces and communities, we must do all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Apple will be temporarily closing all stores outside of Greater China until March 27 and committing $15M to help with worldwide recovery,” Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted on Saturday.
Key background: According to Johns Hopkins, there are currently 147,838 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide and there have been 5,539 deaths so far. In the U.S., the outbreak has now spread to 49 states. On Friday, President Trump declared a national state of emergency that will free up $50 billion in funding for relief efforts in the United States. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also announced on Friday that the House of Representatives and the Trump administration had reached a deal on a coronavirus relief package that is expected to direct tens of billions of dollars to address the pandemic, including provisions for free coronavirus testing, paid sick leave and food assistance for Americans in need. The Senate has not voted on the bill yet.