Joe Biden tests negative for Covid-19
Joe Biden’s campaign just announced the former vice president tested negative for Covid-19 today.
This is Biden’s second test since it became public that Donald Trump has contracted Covid-19. Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, both tested negative for Covid-19 on Friday.
Biden’s campaign said last night that they will be releasing the result of every Covid-19 test the candidate takes moving forward.
The Washington Post just published a report on the band of supporters that have gathered outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where the president is staying as he continues his treatment for Covid-19.
Dan Zak, a reporter for the Post, describes a scene where Trump’s supporters are yelling to passing cars in bullhorns calling for “eight more years” and waving huge Trump 2020 flags.
“Trump is sick, so the rally has to come to him, with all the hallmarks: relentless noise, cultish fervor glazed with folksy politeness, and general masklessness despite the virus that sent a U.S. president to the hospital for the most concerning medical episode since a .22-caliber slug lodged in Ronald Reagan’s chest 39 years ago,” Zak writes.
It appears that most of the supporters came from the surrounding areas in Maryland and nearby Pennsylvania, which Trump won in 2016, but the Post reports that one supporter from Tampa, Florida, an evangelist, broke news to the crowd that Trump may be out of the hospital tomorrow. “Thank you, Jesus, for healing the president!’ he said.
The White House Correspondents Association released a statement condemning the White House for not informing the press pool that Donald Trump would be making an appearance outside of Walter Reed Hospital this afternoon. The White House told reporters that there would be no more events after 3 pm today.
“It is outrageous for the president to have left the hospital – even briefly – amid a health crisis without a protective pool present to ensure that the American people know where their president is and how he is doing,” said the association’s president Zeke Miller in a statement.
White House refuses to release number of officials with Covid-19
Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary, took two questions from reporters moments ago and refused to commit releasing to the public how many White House officials have tested positive for Covid-19.
It also appears the White House is trying to deny a Wall Street Journal report from this afternoon that Donald Trump carried on business-as-usual even after he had a positive rapid Covid-19 test on Thursday. The press secretary did not answer questions about tests the president took before the White House announced Trump has Covid-19. McEnany said that the president first tested positive after he held a rally at hid golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
An MSNBC reporter is saying that attorney general William Barr is self-quarantining at home, though Barr has taken four negative tests since Friday morning.
Commenting on Donald Trump’s appearance outside of Walter Reed Hospital, where he waved to supporters from inside an SUV, the White House released a statement that said the president “took a short, last-minute motorcade ride to wave to his supporters outside and has now returned to the Presidential Suite inside Walter Reed.”
Reporters on Twitter are pointing out that it appears that the other people in the car, likely Secret Service detail, were wearing PPE including medical-grade masks and eye protection.
White House pool reporters also mentioned on Twitter that they were told that no other events were happening after 3 pm today and were not informed about Trump’s appearance.
Reaction to Donald Trump making a surprise, very brief appearance outside of Walter Reed Hospital just moments ago, when he waved to supporters while in an SUV, is starting to appear on Twitter.
While Trump said that contracting the virus has allowed him to understand the virus, he chose to get into a car with other people even though he is contagious, something that multiple health experts have pointed out puts others at risk.
Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, said the president put his Secret Service detail “at grave risk”.
“In the hospital when we go into close contact with a COVID patient we dress in full PPE: Gown, gloves, N95, eye protection, hat. This is the height of irresponsibility,” Reiner wrote.
One reporter said an anonymous Secret Service source said Trump’s appearance was “so reckless, so careless, so heartless”.
Trump makes appearance outside of hospital
It’s been a rather bizarre 15 minutes: Donald Trump tweeted a video moments ago that said he was “about to make a little surprise visit” to supporters who have gathered outside of Walter Reed Hospital, where the president has been under medical care since Friday.
In the video, Trump said (seven months into the pandemic) that he’s “learned a lot about Covid” and saying that contracting the virus has been the “real school”, saying “this isn’t the ‘let’s-read-the-books’ school”.
Trump indeed made an appearance, but it was a quick drive-by where, inside a car, he waved to cheering supporters. One video on Twitter showed Trump, wearing a mask, waving a giving a thumbs up to the crowd. Reports say the appearance lasted about a minute.
The White House did not disclose that Donald Trump received a positive test result from a Covid-19 rapid test on Thursday, opting to carry on business-as-usual until the more thorough Covid-19 screening confirmed the president has Covid-19.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting this afternoon from anonymous sources familiar with the matter that the president attempted to keep the positive test result from the rapid test mum, saying on Fox News Thursday night that he was awaiting test results when the president already knew about his positive rapid test result. Trump tweeted at 1 am that morning that he tested positive for Covid-19.
The Journal is reporting that close members of the president’s team have been kept out of the loop about the potential spread of the virus in the White House. Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stephien did not know that Hope Hicks, a close aide to the president, had tested positive until news reports came out about her case Thursday night.
“I’m glued to Twitter and TV because I have no official communication from anyone in the West Wing,” an administration official to the Journal.
Donald Trump just tweeted his appreciation to “all the fans and supporters outside the hospital”.
“The fact is, they really love our Country and are seeing how we are MAKING IT GREATER THAN EVER BEFORE!” the president wrote on Twitter.
Supporters of the president gathered outside Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, where Trump is being held, wearing MAGA hats and holding signs affirming their support of Trump since yesterday afternoon.
Some reports say that a handful of supporters weren’t wearing masks or practicing social distancing.
Reporters on Twitter have suggested that some people showing up outside the hospital are a part of QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theorist group that believes Trump is waging a secret battle against the “deep state”.
GOP senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania announced his retirement today, setting the stage for what will be a contentious fight for his open Senate seat in 2022.
Toomey’s reelection in 2016 was settled after what turned out to be the most expensive Senate race in history after groups from outside the state funnelled money into Toomey’s campaign and that of his Democratic candidate, Katie McGinty. The race saw $113 million and showed just how valuable a single seat in the Senate can be for either party. Toomey won by getting just over 1% more votes than McGinty.
The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported that Toomey will be announcing a decision to retire tomorrow. The senator isn’t expected to run for governor in 2022, though he was considered the front-runner GOP candidate for the gubernatorial office.
A reporter for Vice News said on Twitter that, among potential replacements Pennsylvania Republicans have floated the idea of Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, of running for the seat. Trump has never held elected office before.
Though Joe Biden’s campaign promised last night to release the results of every Covid test the former vice president takes, his campaign has yet to release a test result since Friday, when Biden tested negative.
The campaign has gone ahead and released Biden’s schedule for tomorrow, which includes two in-person events.
Biden will be in Miami for an in-person event at a Haitian cultural center and will speak in Miami’s Little Havana. Jill Biden will be attending a Women for Biden rally in Boca Raton.
Lara Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, and a handful of faith leaders close to the White House will be holding a “call to prayer” for the president and the first lady at 5pm tonight.
The faith leaders will include Paula White-Cain, Trump’s evangelical spiritual advisor who also runs a megachurch in Florida. The prayer will be held virtually.
This is Lauren Aratani taking over for Amanda Holpuch. White House director of strategic communication Alyssa Farah implied that Sean Conley, the White House doctor who is overseeing Donald Trump, was trying to “project confidence” when saying yesterday that “the president is doing very well” despite contradictory reports that came out moments later.
Farah, speaking to reporters, said that Conley was giving “a snapshot in time” and that, on Saturday, Donald Trump was doing “extremely well”.
She dove into an explanation into Conley’s mindset when treating the president: “When you’re treating a patient, you want to project confidence, you want to lift their spirits and that was the intent.”
PBS Newshour White House correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor, reports that Vice-President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, have tested negative for coronavirus today.
Despite Trump and others in his inner circle testing positive for the virus, Pence is scheduled to continue making public appearances on behalf of the White House and on behalf of the Trump 2020 presidential campaign. The first vice-presidential debate is Wednesday.
There are some who are concerned Pence should be taking extra precautions because he is first in the line of succession should Trump become unable to perform his presidential duties.
Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, told NBC News’ Meet the Press on Sunday that he did not have concerns about Pence’s travel.
“The vice president takes it very serious all of these measures,” Miller said. “Anyone around the vice president are tested. People are kept very safe.”
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has just announced his intentions to reverse the reopening of nine neighborhoods after they had a Covid-19 testing positivity rate above 3% for the past seven days.
The mayor said he wants to close nonessential business and schools in the South Brooklyn and Central Queens neighborhoods. The state government must approve such a move and de Blasio said city officials would meet with the officials in the hopes of having the closures begin on Wednesday.
De Blasio said the plan was “to rewind in these nine ZIP codes, to rewind, to go back, to address the problems by using the tools we know work.”
The areas affected include portions of Far Rockaway, Borough Park, Midwood, Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay and Kew Gardens. Many of them have large populations of Orthodox Jews and health officials have targeted outreach to try and manage outbreaks in those communities.
New York City was a center of the global outbreak in the spring, but had seen some relief in recent months. The state’s infection rate had been below 1% for 37 days straight as of 13 September but health officials were on alert last week as cases increased in some areas.
Experts react to latest briefing by Trump’s doctors
Dr Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious disease physician at the Medical University of South Carolina, is among those with questions following the latest briefing of the president’s doctors.
She is one of those trying to understand how the president might be discharged tomorrow after he has been experiencing oxygen level drops and is on steroids.
Kuppalli also makes the point steroids can cause delirium or confusion in patients and says she is “curious as to why @VP is not currently in charge”.
An odd quote from Sean Conley during his update on Donald Trump’s health. “I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction,” Conley said when explaining his reluctance to say Trump had been on oxygen earlier this week. I assume Conley means coverage of Trump’s illness, rather than the illness itself.
Dr Brian Garibaldi’s statement that Trump may be OK to return home to the White House may come back to haunt the administration. If Trump isn’t released tomorrow, it will appear his condition has worsened. There is speculation it is Trump himself who is pushing for an early release.