Trump says 'nobody knows' how Covid spread at White House and refuses to reveal test and treatment details

President and aides have not answered when he last received a negative test

Alex Woodward
New York
Saturday 10 October 2020 08:53
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Trump confirms that he has been retested for Covid-19 but doesn't reveal the results
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In his first on-camera interview following his hospitalisation from the coronavirus, Donald Trump told Fox News that he doesn’t know how the infection spread at the White House, where more than a dozen people have tested positive for Covid-19.

Health officials claim a Rose Garden event announcing the president’s US Supreme Court nominee on 26 September was a likely “super-spreader” event, after the president’s inner circle, including First Lady Melania Trump, his press secretary, campaign officials and chief aides, tested positive in the week that followed.

“They had some big events at the White House,” the president told Fox News contributor and physician Mark Siegel in a pre-recorded interview that aired on Tucker Carlson’s programme on Friday.

“Perhaps there,” he said. "I don't really know. Nobody really knows. Numerous people have contracted it."

The president said he was administered the steroid dexamethasone while hospitalised at Walter Reed Medical Center to keep “swelling” down in his lungs.

“I think they had some congestion in there,” he said. "The equipment was incredible."

The president refused to say whether he continues to test positive for the disease, hours before he is set to hold an outdoor address at the White House on Saturday and resume in-person campaign events next week.

He said: “I have been retested and I haven’t even found out numbers or anything yet but I’ve been retested and I know I’m either at the bottom of the scale or free.”

His campaign also has refused to tell reporters when he last tested negative, drawing concerns that the president potentially exposed dozens of people within the last week before announcing his positive test late at night on 1 October.

The interview aired moments after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced it would cancel the second presidential debate, set for 15 October, after the president’s campaign refused to participate in a virtual debate, prompted over coronavirus concerns in the wake of the first debate just days before the president was hospitalised.

His campaign refused to answer whether staff had confirmed to debate officials that he had tested negative before the debate.

On MSNBC on Friday, White House spokesman Brian Morgenstern refused to answer when the president last received a negative test, insisting that it’s a privacy issue.

“You’re very focussed on looking backwards,” he said. “It’s not something that has the public health value that the other health information does.”

The president told Fox News that he “didn’t have the same energy level” and felt “tired” before he was admitted to Walter Reed, where he received an infusion of Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody cocktail as well as dexamethasone.

“I took a certain medicine that was miraculous to me,” he said of the Regeneron treatment. “I’d like to send it to everybody that’s got the problem, free of charge.”

The president appeared to admit that his hospital stay and advanced drug treatment for the disease, which has killed more than 210,000 people and infected millions of others in the US, is not accessible to a majority of Americans.

“It’s a lot easier for me than someone who doesn’t have access,” he said. “One of the doctors said he thought it would have gotten a lot worse … The big secret for me was i got there very early.”

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