President Donald Trump has said that he plans to hold a rally in Florida this weekend, after his doctor said he will be able to return to ‘public engagements’ on Saturday.
‘I think I’m going to try doing a rally on Saturday night, if we have enough time to put it together. But we want to do a rally in Florida, probably in Florida on Saturday night,’ Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity in a phone interview on Thursday.
Trump added that he was considering a second rally in Pennsylvania for Sunday night. He did not specify exact locations for the planned events.
He said that he had not tested negative for coronavirus since his positive result last week, adding that there was ‘no reason to test all the time’ and saying ‘probably the test will be tomorrow.’
‘They found very little infection or virus,’ Trump said, but it was unclear what kind of test or on what date he was referring to. At two points in the 30-minute interview, Trump was heard coughing, at one point appearing to mute his phone line.
Saturday would mark nine days since Trump publicly announced testing positive for COVID-19.
Most scientists think that viral shedding continues for about 10 days after symptoms start in mild to moderate cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Duluth International Airport on September 30. He plans to hold another rally in Florida on Saturday
It came soon after White House Physician Dr. Sean Conley released Trump’s vital signs for the first time since he became infected, showing a pulse, blood pressure, and blood oxygen level all within normal ranges.
Trump coughs, seems to mute his mic during Hannity interview
President Donald Trump coughed at least once during a 30-minute phone interview on Thursday night, and appeared to mute his mic at another point after clearing his throat.
The interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity came a week after Trump revealed his coronavirus diagnosis, and in it he revealed that he has yet to test negative for the virus.
First, a few minutes into the interview as he was discussing the presidential debates, Trump began to sound hoarse and cleared his throat. Several seconds of silence followed, before Trump said ‘excuse me’ and continued speaking.
Then, about 19 minutes into the interview, as he was slamming mail-in voting, Trump cleared his throat and then audibly coughed, before continuing speaking.
Conley also stated that Trump’s medical team felt that he would be safe to return to public engagements by Saturday.
Soon after Conley’s memo was released, Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien issued a statement citing it and demanded that the Commission on Presidential Debates reverse its decision earlier in the day to hold next week’s presidential debate virtually.
Stepien, who himself tested positive for COVID-19 last week, said that Conley’s note confirms that Trump will be ready for public engagements ‘five full days before the originally scheduled debate in Miami on October 15.’
‘There is therefore no medical reason why the Commission on Presidential Debates should shift the debate to a virtual setting,’ he added, referring to the commission’s ruling earlier in the day.
‘The commission must stop protecting Joe Biden from this in-person debate and allow the event to proceed as it was agreed to months ago,’ Stepien said, calling it an ‘obvious attempt to shield Biden from another shellacking like he got two weeks ago in Cleveland.’
The chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates said it is not reconsidering shifting the second debate from virtual back to in-person, despite Stepien’s request.
CPD Chair Frank Fahrenkopf said late Thursday that the nonpartisan group’s decision was not going to be reversed. That means the second debate is probably not going to happen at all, after Trump said he would refuse to participate in a virtual debate.
Fahrenkopf says the group wanted to ‘protect the health and safety of all involved’ and that the decision was guided by the advice of the Cleveland Clinic, its heath partner for the 2020 debates.
President Donald Trump ‘s doctor says he will be able to return to ‘public engagements’ on Saturday, which would be just over a week after he revealed his COVID-19 diagnosis
Trump on Thursday vowed that he would not participate in a virtual debate with Joe Biden, jokingly challenging Biden to an in-person debate moderated by Hannity or Tucker Carlson
‘This debate commission’s a joke,’ Trump said in a phone interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday night. ‘I’m not interested in doing a — I’m not Joe Biden, I’m not doing a virtual debate.’
‘I’m not going to sit behind a computer and have somebody feed him answers,’ he added.
Trump’s list of dream debate moderators
In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Trump proposed the following debate moderators:
- ‘The great Sean Hannity’
- Rush Limbaugh
- Mark Levin
- Jeanine Piro
- Jesse Watters
- Pete Hegseth
- Tucker Carlson
Trump claimed that Biden ‘was choking like a dog’ during the first presidential debate last week, and that moderator Chris Wallace ‘bailed him in, or bailed him out.’
Apparently jokingly, Trump suggested that the two campaigns organize their own in-person debate, suggesting Fox News opinion hosts Hannity and Tucker Carlson as potential moderators. ‘Let’s go Joe. Let’s get a fair moderator,’ Trump said.
Trump was first diagnosed with COVID-19 last Thursday, and was moved to Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday before returning to the White House on Monday evening.
‘Since returning home, his physical exam has remained stable and devoid of any indications to suggested progression of illness,’ Conley said in a memo released by the White House on Thursday night.
‘Overall he’s responded extremely well to treatment, without evidence on examination of adverse therapeutic effects,’ Conley added.
‘Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday’s diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the President’s safe return to public engagements at that time.’
The memo showed Trump’s resting pulse was 69 beats per minute, which is considered a good rate for his age.
His blood pressure of 127/81 mm Hg is slightly elevated over normal levels, but does not qualify a hypertensive.
White House Physician Dr. Sean Conley also released Trump’s vital signs for the first time since he became infected, showing vitals all within normal ranges
Conley said that Trump’s breathing rate was normal, and that his blood oxygen level was 96 to 98 percent without supplemental oxygen, which is well within the normal range.
Curiously, the memo did not include Trump’s body temperature. Last week, Trump reportedly spiked a fever, and his blood oxygen level dropped alarmingly, leading to his transfer to Walter Reed.
The memo also did not say whether Trump had tested negative for COVID-19.
In the interview with Hannity, Trump said that he had not been tested for coronavirus because there was ‘no reason yet’ but that he would probably get a test on Friday.
Earlier on Thursday, Trump said in his first interview since being diagnosed with COVID that he is ‘ready to go’ and said he would have liked to have held a rally ‘tonight.’
‘I don’t think I’m contagious at all,’ he said in the telephone interview with Fox Business Network. ‘Remember this: when you catch it you get better. And then you’re immune.’
‘I’m a perfect physical specimen and I’m extremely young. And so I’m lucky that way,’ said the president, who at 74 and obese is in the high risk category for COVID.
Trump, who returned to the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon after being in the hospital for four days recovering from the coronavirus, said he was ready to hold a campaign rally.
‘I’d love to do a rally tonight. I wanted to do one last night,’ he said, explaining he stands back from the crowd so it would be safe.
HOW LONG ARE COVID-19 PATIENTS CONTAGIOUS AND WHAT MAKES THEM INFECTIOUS?
By Natalie Rahhal, US Health Editor
President Trump’s physician Dr Sean Conley first reported he had ‘mild’ symptoms of coronavirus on Friday morning, hours after the president revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Despite Wednesday’s report that he has no symptoms, Trump is still likely contagious, because less than a week has passed since he became ill.
It may take anywhere from three to 14 days after someone is exposed to coronavirus for symptoms to show up.
The average person will develop symptoms within four to five days.
It’s now clear that a person can spread coronavirus before they actually show any signs of having the illness.
Most research now suggests that can start happening between 48 and 72 hours before their symptoms begin.
A COVID-19 patient becomes infectious to others once the virus has made enough copies to give them a higher viral load, meaning there is a sufficiently significant concentration of virus genome in their mucus and saliva to potentially spread it.
When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they spray droplets into the air, and these droplets can be be inhaled by others.
Pinning down exactly how early someone becomes contagious, when they are at their peak infectiousness, and when they are no longer contagious is extremely difficult.
Many studies suggest that people most infectious right around the time their symptoms start. A handful have found people were actually most infectious in the 48 hours before they become contagious, according to Harvard University.
That early infectious period is part of why coronavirus is so hard to control: People cna spread the disease before they know they have it.
And the infectious period lasts a long time. Most scientists think that viral shedding continues for about 10 days after symptoms start in mild to moderate cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But some more severely ill people stay infectious for up to 20 days.
Large virus-containing droplets expelled when coronavirus patients cough or sneeze are still thought to be the primary mode of transmission.
That means that being symptomatic makes someone more likely to spread the disease.
CDC officials have now confirmed the virus can spread in fine particles, too, acknowledging how it is transmitted even by people with no symptoms.
He first indicated he was no longer taking medication to combat the virus but then said he was continuing to take the powerful steroid he was prescribed, which he called a ‘not heavy’ drug.
Some doctors have raised concerns about dexamethasone, which can cause insomnia, mania, mood swings, and rage. It has shown promise for treating patients with a severe case of COVID-19 who are getting supplemental oxygen.
Trump’s doctors have said he has not received additional oxygen since he went into the hospital on Friday night.
‘I think I’m taking almost nothing. I think I’m finished with just about everything,’ Trump said of his medical regime.
Then he said he had ‘a little bit longer’ on the dexamethasone.
He added: ‘I think you go a little bit longer on – they have a steroid. It’s not even, it’s not a heavy steroid, yet they have that go a little bit longer, but I’m not taking – I’m almost not taking anything, I feel great.’
‘I’m almost not taking anything,’ he said of the cocktail of medications his medical team had him on.
His treatment regime included the dexamethasone, an experimental anti-viral drug that Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is testing to supply antibodies that help a patient fight the disease, and the antiviral drug remdesivir.
He said he would be tested for the virus again ‘soon.’
‘I’ll be tested very soon but I’m essentially very clean. They say it’s over a period of six seven days,’ he said.
Trump seemed to give two possibilities for how he contracted the deadly disease – either at a Rose Garden event where he announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nomination or a celebration for Gold Star families held at the White House. Several people from both of those of those events have tested positive for COVID.
‘Now, as far as the White House is concerned, somebody got in,’ he said when asked how he caught the disease. ‘It was a day of celebration with Notre Dame etc etc and somebody got in and people got affected, whether it was there or something else.’
Barrett attended Notre Dame and the university’s president, Rev. John Jenkins, attended the announcement and later tested positive for COVID.
‘I meet a lot of people and I have to – I’m the president of the country. I can’t hang around in a basement. So I figured there would be a chance that I would catch it,’ Trump said, using his attack line against Democratic rival Joe Biden, who he complains stays in a basement even as Biden campaigns.
‘Sometimes I’d be with in groups of – for instance Gold Star families I met with,’ he said referring to a September 27 at the White House. The chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and several high-ranking military officials are quarantining after attending it.
‘I didn’t want to cancel that,’ Trump said.
He said the families – who have lost a member in service to the country – wanted to hug and kiss him and he let them.
‘They come within an inch of my face sometimes. They want to hug me and they want to kiss me. And they do. And frankly, I’m not telling them, ‘Back up,’ he said, conceding ‘it’s a dangerous thing, I guess, if you go by the COVID thing.’
He also appeared to cast doubt on wearing a face masks, which doctors said helps contain the disease and slow the spread. He referred to Ralph Northam, the Democratic governor of Virginia, who is a doctor who wore a face mask in public and caught COVID.
‘Look, you have the governor of Virginia – he wore a mask all the time – you’ve never seen a guy without a mask – he catches it,’ Trump said.
His interview marked a return to public life for the president. On Wednesday, he tweeted out a video shot from the White House Rose Garden where he says he has been ‘cured’ of COVID by the experimental drug Regeneron – then pitched the medication and promised to make it available to all Americans for free.
The president released the outdoor statement Wednesday evening, after being out of sight for more than 24 hours after returning from Walter Reed Medical Center, where he was checked in after testing positive for the coronavirus.
He called getting the disease a ‘blessing from God.’
‘I think this was a blessing from God that I caught it. This was a blessing in disguise,’ Trump said.
THE TOLL OF COVID FROM SCOTUS NOMINEE EVENT
1. President Donald Trump, 74; 2. First Lady Melania Trump, 50; 3. Fr. John Jenkins, 66. President of the University of Notre Dame; 4. Mike Lee, 49. Republican Utah Senator; 5. Thom Tillis, 60. Republican North Carolina Senator; 6. Kellyanne Conway, 53, Former White House Counselor to the President; 7. Chris Christie, 58. Former New Jersey Governor; 8. Kayleigh McEnany, 32. White House Press Secretary; 9. Chad Gilmartin. Assistant Press Secretary, 22. 10. Karoline Leavitt, 23. Assistant Press Secretary. 11. Pastor Greg Laurie, 67. Harvest Crusades televangelist.
* Bill Barr, 70: self-isolating out of caution.
AT EVENT AND STOOD AT BACK OF ROSE GARDEN
12. Hope Hicks, 31. Counselor to the President; 13. Bill Stepien, 42. Trump Campaign Manager; 14. Nicholas Luna, 29. Chief of Oval Office Operations and ‘body man’; 15. Unnamed White House reporter