Trump insists he’s free of virus, ready for campaign trail

Monday, October 12, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Sunday declared he was healthy enough to return to the campaign trail, a day after the White House doctor said he was no longer at risk of transmitting the coronavirus but did not say explicitly whether Trump had tested negative for it.

Trump, who was poised Monday to host his first rally after his COVID-19 diagnosis, declared he was now “immune” from the virus, a claim that was impossible to prove and comes amid a series of outstanding questions about the president’s health.

“I’m immune,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News. “The president is in very good shape to fight the battles.”

In a memo released Saturday night by the White House, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley said Trump met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for safely discontinuing isolation and that by “currently recognized standards” he was no longer considered a transmission risk. The memo did not declare Trump had tested negative for the virus.

But sensitive lab tests — like the PCR test cited in the doctor’s statements — detect virus in swab samples taken from the nose and throat. Some medical experts had been skeptical that Trump could be declared free of the risk of transmitting the virus so early in the course of his illness. Just 10 days since an initial diagnosis of infection, there was no way to know for certain that someone was no longer contagious, they said.

The memo followed Trump’s first public appearance since returning to the White House after being treated for the coronavirus at a military hospital. Hundreds of people gathered Saturday afternoon on the South Lawn for a Trump address on his support for law enforcement from a White House balcony.

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