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© Alex Brandon
President Trump salutds as he stood on the Blue Room Balcony upon returning to the White House on Monday evening.
President Trump made the stunning announcement that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 early Friday. Here’s what we know:
♦ President Trump left Walter Reed Monday and urged people not to be “afraid” of COVID-19, the disease that has killed more than 200,000 Americans since the spring, as his doctors told reporters that he met discharge criteria but is not yet out of the woods.
♦ At least eight people who attended a White House ceremony on Sept. 26 have tested positive for COVID-19: the president, Melania Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Utah Senator Mike Lee, North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, Rev. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, Chris Christie, and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
♦ The state of New Jersey is conducting contact tracing after a more than 200 people were potentially exposed to COVID-19 following President Trump’s attendance at a fund-raiser at his golf resort in Bedminster last Thursday.
DC government unable to connect with White House on outbreak
Officials with the Washington, D.C., Department of Health have been unsuccessful in trying to connect with the White House to assist with contact tracing and other protocols regarding the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak that has infected President Donald Trump and several senior staff members.
“We have reached out to the White House on a couple of different levels, a political level and a public health level,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday. She added that a D.C. health department representative who reached out to the White House “had a very cursory conversation that we don’t consider a substantial contact from the public health side.”
Trump’s doctor leans on health privacy law to duck questions
President Donald Trump’s doctor leaned on a federal health privacy law Monday to duck certain questions about the president’s treatment for COVID-19, while readily sharing other details of his patient’s condition.
But a leading expert on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act said a more likely reason for Dr. Sean Conley’s selective disclosures appears to be Trump’s comfort level in fully revealing his medical information.
“That’s a little head-scratcher,” said Deven McGraw, a former career government lawyer who oversaw enforcement of the 1996 medical privacy statute. “It’s quite possible the doctor sat down with the president and asked which information is OK to disclose.”
At a press briefing at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Conley, the White House physician, reported the president’s blood pressure — a little high at 134/78 — and respiration and heart rates, which were both in the normal ranges.
But when reporters pressed for details on the results of lung scans and when Trump had last tested negative for COVID-19, the doctor demurred, citing HIPAA, as the law is commonly known.
Trump arrives at White House,