(Update 1: Adds Trump, Melania tests come back positive for COVID-19, minor edits.)
Washington DC, Oct 2 (efe-epa).- United States president Donald Trump announced early Friday morning that he and First Lady Melania Trump have contracted COVID-19.
“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 tweeted at 1 am.
The couple was self-isolating and awaiting the test results after one of the leader’s closest advisers was confirmed to have contracted the virus Thursday.
“Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible!” Trump wrote on Twitter hours before his diagnosis.
“The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process,” he had added.
Hicks, 31, traveled with Trump on Tuesday to Cleveland for the presidential debate and on Wednesday in the Air Force One presidential plane to Minnesota, where the president had a campaign rally. They also traveled together to Pennsylvania for a rally on Saturday.
Hicks was seen without a mask at various points during these trips, as was Trump, who does not wear one in public.
A White House spokesman, Judd Deere, said in a statement not directly referring to Hicks’ positive test that Trump “takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously.”
On Tuesday at the presidential debate, Trump mocked Democratic nominee Joe Biden for wearing a mask, saying: “I don’t wear a mask like him. Every time you see him, he’s got a mask.”
Trump’s campaign had a rally planned in Sanford, Florida for Friday night, and two rallies in Wisconsin on Saturday, with the next presidential debate with Biden scheduled for Oct. 15. All fall within the 14-day quarantine period.
Until Trump’s announcement, Hicks was the closest person to the US president and highest White House official to test positive for the novel coronavirus , although several other officials in the White House have been infected before, including Katie Miller, the spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence.
Hicks was the spokesperson for Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 and the president came to power, she joined the White House where she was communications director, which she left in 2018. In February, however, Trump brought her back to his team, this time as an advisor.
The United States is the country hardest hit by the pandemic in the world with 7,276,938 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 207,771 deaths, according to the most recent data from Johns Hopkins University. EFE-EPA