October 2: Trump's Covid diagnosis

By Veronica Rocha, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 12:44 a.m. ET, October 3, 2020
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8:54 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Trump is "in a race" against coronavirus, Regeneron CEO says

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 2 in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 2 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump is now “in a race” against coronavirus, the CEO of biotechnology company Regeneron said after the drug maker provided a dose of its experimental antibody treatment to the President on Friday.

“He's in a race where his immune system is racing against the virus, and if the virus wins you can have dire consequences, obviously, and what our antibodies do is we make it a fair fight,” Dr. Leonard Schleifer told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“He's in a higher risk group for a variety of reasons such as being older, and if we give our antibodies, we hope that we will give his immune system enough of a boost so that he can win this and make a complete recovery,” Schleifer said.

“That’s the strategy. We’ve got a lot of data but we’re still in the experimental phase, but when you’re in the midst of a pandemic and you have people at risk, we think it makes sense to try these,” he added. 

Regeneron’s experimental monoclonal antibody treatment is still in large-scale clinical trials, but Schleifer said it is available for compassionate use, something the US Food and Drug and Administration has to approve on an individual basis.

Trump received a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s dual antibody cocktail Friday and completed the infusion without incident, the President’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said in a statement.

A single high-dose should do the trick, Schleifer said. “It's a large enough dose, so that it'll last for quite a long time, hopefully even beyond when he's made a complete recovery,” Schleifer said. “We have evidence ready that these are long lasting in the body, as you'd expect with this type of therapy.”

The cocktail includes two monoclonal antibodies—lab-engineered versions of immune system proteins targeted specifically against coronavirus. “It’s not all that complicated. We’re just trying to mimic the natural immune system, which really isn’t ready to go when the virus is already going,” Schliefer said.

Schleifer says Regeneron is seeing promising results in its clinical trials of the treatment.

Schleifer would not say whether first lady Melania Trump received the same experimental treatment.

8:08 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Trump campaign won't pull down negative ads

In response to the Biden campaign’s decision to pull negative TV ads while President Trump is hospitalized, spokesperson Tim Murtaugh told CNN that the Trump campaign will not make a similar move.

“Joe Biden used his speech in Michigan today to attack the President repeatedly on Social Security, the economy, and job creation,” Murtaugh said. “Now Biden wants credit for being magnanimous?”

Earlier today: Joe Biden's campaign pulled all negative ads today, going all positive after Trump was diagnosed with Covid-19, a campaign aide told CNN.

This decision was made before the White House announced that Trump will go to Walter Reed medical center.

8:24 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

A lot has happened following Trump's Covid-19 diagnosis. Here's what we know.

President Trump is currently at Walter Reed medical center after announcing that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

If you're just reading in now, here's a recap of the latest developments:

  • A few days: Trump will be spending "the next few days" at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
  • Shaken by the illness: Trump was spooked after he tested positive for coronavirus and has become increasingly alarmed by his diagnosis as he developed symptoms, like a fever, overnight, according to a person familiar with his reaction. 
  • Fever and fatigue: Trump has had a fever since this morning, a person familiar with the matter says. The person said the fever remains consistent with the White House's earlier description of "mild symptoms." This is in addition to new information released by the White House doctor, which described Trump as "fatigued."
  • In the President's own words: "I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support," Trump said in a video posted on his official Twitter account for the first time since getting diagnosed. "I think I'm doing very well but we're going to make sure things work out."
  • Receiving treatment: Trump was administered a dose of Regeneron's antibody cocktail for coronavirus, according to a memorandum from the President’s physician.
  • Flurry of tests: Joe Biden announced that he has received two Covid-19 tests this morning, according to remarks he made during a visit to Grand Rapids, Michigan, this afternoon. Vice President Mike Pence and the second lady also tested negative, according to his spokesperson.
  • Well wishes pour in: Former President Barack Obama and Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro were among a growing number of people to wish Trump well. "This is not a matter of politics. It's a bracing reminder to all of us that we have to take this virus seriously. It's not going away automatically," Biden said in Michigan today.

Anderson Cooper explains latest developments:

7:44 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Brazil's Bolsonaro wishes Trump a "speedy recovery"

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro wished President Trump a speedy recovery in a message posted on his Facebook account as Trump was being flown to Walter Reed hospital.

"I wish the President of the USA, Donald Trump, and the First Lady, Melania a speedy recovery," Bolsonaro said.

Writing alongside an image of Marine One lifting off from the White House, Bolsonaro wrote, "With faith in God, they will soon be recovered and the work in running their country and their re-election campaign will not be harmed."

"You will win and leave stronger, for the good of the USA and the world." Bolsonaro added.

Bolsonaro spent months downplaying the threat from coronavirus, dismissing it as just a "little flu" and assuring his compatriots they had little to fear, before himself testing positive for Covid-19 in early July.

7:31 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Biden campaign raises health concerns regarding vice presidential debate

From CNN’s MJ Lee

Mike Pence and Kamala Harris
Mike Pence and Kamala Harris Getty Images

The Biden campaign has raised health concerns about the vice presidential debate slated to take place next Wednesday to the Commission on Presidential Debates, in light of President Trump testing positive for Covid-19, a source familiar with those conversations said. 

Amid negotiations with the commission about the terms of the Kamala Harris-Mike Pence face-off, the Biden campaign expressed opposition to the podiums being spaced seven feet apart, and asked that they be 12 feet apart instead, the source said.

The Biden campaign sees the podium-spacing issue as a “very serious concern,” the source added.

7:28 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Ivanka Trump calls the President "a warrior"

Ivanka Trump attends President Donald Trump's acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on August 27 in Washington, DC.
Ivanka Trump attends President Donald Trump's acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on August 27 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The President's daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump called her father "a warrior" following his arrival at Walter Reed medical center this afternoon.

Trump was flown there aboard Marine One after saying he contracted Covid-19.

"You are a warrior and will beat this. I love you dad," Ivanka Trump tweeted.

Read the tweet:

7:19 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Trump campaign emails fundraiser attendees and notifies them of the President's Covid-19 diagnosis

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

The Trump campaign has notified attendees of Thursday's fundraiser at his Bedminster golf club that the President has tested positive for coronavirus.

"We unfortunately write today to notify you that, as you have probably seen, President Trump confirmed late last night that he and the First Lady were tested for COVID-19 and produced positive test results," the email reads. "Out of an abundance of caution, we want to call this to your attention."

The email reiterated that attendees were not allowed within six feet of the President, per the campaign's protocol.  

The email went on to encourage attendees to contact their medical provider if they or their loved ones develop Covid-19 symptoms. It did not make any mention of quarantining or self-isolation but did recommend attendees visit the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.

The email was sent early Friday afternoon.

7:09 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

North Korea's Kim Jong Un hopes Trump will recover "as soon as possible"

From CNN’s Luke Henderson

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent “warm greetings” and a message of sympathy to President Trump after he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19, according to North Korean state news agency KCNA.

Kim said he “sincerely hoped they would be recovered as soon as possible” and “he hoped they will surely overcome” the disease, KCNA reported.

The message was sent prior to Trump taking Marine One to Walter Reed medical center for Covid-19 symptoms.

6:55 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

"Everyone needs to be tested" who was near Trump, infectious diseases chief says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Anyone who has been in President Trump’s inner circle should be tested for coronavirus infection and should not decide they’re clear just because they have tested negative for the virus one time, an infectious diseases chief said Friday. 

Dr. John Mellors, head of infectious diseases at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said he would expect more people associated with Trump to test positive for coronavirus in the coming days.

“If both Melania and the President are infected, there will be other cases within the inner circle,” Mellors told CNN. “The President and his cabinet and the top levels of government really need to pay attention here."

Mellors added: “Everybody needs to be tested. Everybody who has had contact with him needs to be tested.”

One negative coronavirus test does not mean people should not quarantine or take other precautions to protect those around them, Mellors added. Tests are not 100% accurate.

“They ought to do some very quick contact tracing and isolation to stop the spread in the government,” said Mellors, one of the world’s top experts in the treatment and spread of the AIDS virus, who has helped organize UPMC’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“They are going to have to follow the science now. They should have followed it all along,” Mellors added. “This is an absolute wakeup call. Stop fiddling around and making this a political issue. Wear the masks. They work. It’s that simple. There should be federal and state mandates to wear a mask."

Mellors also disputed White House physician Dr. Jesse Schonau’s statement that Vice President Mike Pence has tested negative for coronavirus and thus does not need to quarantine because Pence was not a close contact of anyone infected.

“If he was in the Oval Office with Trump in the last week, then he was exposed,” Mellors said.