Donald Trump will be airlifted to hospital after contracting the coronavirus as his staff insisted the US President was “in good spirits” and “on the job”.
Mr Trump will spend a few days in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as a precaution and on advice of his physicians who have also injected him with an “antibody cocktail”.
He was given a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s experimental drug, which is in clinical phases, and has been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin.
Mr Trump will continue to work from the hospital’s presidential suite, which is equipped to allow him to continue his official duties.
His physician, Dr Sean Conley, said Mr Trump was “fatigued but in good spirits”.
The first lady, 50, has a “mild cough and headache,” Dr Conley reported, and the remainder of the first family, including the Mr Trumps’ son Barron, who lives at the White House, tested negative.
A team of experts was evaluating both the President and first lady in regard to next steps.
Earlier the White House confirmed Mr Trump had been experiencing “mild” COVID symptoms.
His chief of staff Mark Meadows said the President was in “good spirits” and was expected to make a quick recovery.
“The great thing about this President is not only is he staying committed to working on behalf of the America people,” Mr Meadows said.
“We have a President that is not only on the job, will remain on the job, and I’m optimistic that he’ll have a very quick and speedy recovery.”
The President’s COVID-19 diagnosis on Friday (Australian time) has rocked the US election campaign, forcing the commander-in-chief and First Lady into quarantine.
Meanwhile political opponent Joe Biden tested negative after coming into proximity with Mr Trump at this week’s first presidential debate while Vice President Mike Pence has tested negative.
Mr Biden, whose running mate Kamala Harris has also tested negative, tweeted his thanks to supporters, adding: “I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Twitter he had spoken to the President on Friday, saying the two “talked business” and it was “full steam ahead” with Mr Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett who the White House confirmed has tested negative.
Just finished a great phone call with @POTUS. He’s in good spirits and we talked business — especially how impressed Senators are with the qualifications of Judge Barrett. Full steam ahead with the fair, thorough, timely process that the nominee, the Court, & the country deserve.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) October 2, 2020
Mr Trump’s announcement on Friday (Australian time) that he had contracted the virus came hours after he confirmed Hope Hicks, one of his most trusted and longest-serving aides, had been diagnosed on Thursday.
Tracing of Mr Trump’s contacts is underway in earnest as he faced criticism for attending a campaign fundraiser in New Jersey on Thursday (local time) after coming into contact with Ms Hicks who was known to have tested positive.
The roundtable gathering was held indoors at a socially distanced table and Mr Trump also met supporters outside, with guests reportedly not wearing masks.
Mr Meadows said the White House worked quickly to inform the public after the President and Melania tested positive to the virus which has infected more than 7 million people and claimed more than 200,000 lives in the US.
“As you know, last night, even in the early hours of this morning, the minute we got a confirmatory test on the President, we felt like it was important to get the news out there at that time, and so that’s why we sent out a tweet late, late or early this morning,” he said.
Many White House and senior administration officials were undergoing tests on Friday.
Mr Trump’s forced quarantine as denied him the large public rallies that fuel his campaign and injected even deeper uncertainty into the election.
With election day just 32 days away, and many people already begun voting in several states, strategists in both parties acknowledged the timing is bad for the Republican president.
“Trump’s main advantages, including incumbency, have been removed. Rallies, his main vehicle for mobilising his base, will no longer be possible. Fly-bys with Air Force One as a backdrop are gone,” said Republican strategist Rick Tyler, a frequent Trump critic.