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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9:23 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Pence and Harris will be seated 12 feet apart at Wednesday's debate

From CNN's Dan Merica

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

Vice President Mike Pence and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will now be spaced 12 feet apart at Wednesday’s debate, a source familiar with the plans tells CNN.

This comes after negotiations between the two campaigns and the debate commission.

The Biden campaign had expressed concerns to the commission that the two candidates would be seated only seven feet apart.

8:56 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Bill and Hillary Clinton: "We wish the President and first lady a speedy recovery"

Former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton took to Twitter to extend their well wishes and "speedy recovery" for President Trump and first lady Melania Trump.

"We wish the President and First Lady a speedy recovery, and hope for the safety of the White House staff, the Secret Service, and others putting their lives on the line. This pandemic has affected so many. We must continue to protect ourselves, our families, and communities," the Clintons wrote in separate tweets.

8:52 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

What you need to know about Regeneron's experimental antibody cocktail for Covid-19

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. headquarters in Tarrytown, New York on 2015.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. headquarters in Tarrytown, New York on 2015. Kris Tripplaar/Sipa USA/AP

The White House confirmed doctors gave President Trump a single 8-gram dose of Regeneron’s experimental antibody therapy to treat Covid-19.

Regeneron, a New York-based biotech company, confirmed that it provided the drug in what’s commonly known as a “compassionate use” request from the President’s physicians.

The therapy is known as REGN-COV2; the company calls it a “cocktail” of two monoclonal antibodies.

Polyclonal antibodies are made using several different immune cells, while monoclonal antibodies are made using identical immune cells that are clones of a specific parent cell. 

To make its monoclonal antibody therapy, Regeneron scientists selected two antibodies that best neutralized a version of the novel coronavirus in the lab. They then cloned these antibodies and put it into a treatment. Regeneron is using two antibodies since they think it will work best as the virus mutates.

About Regeneron’s Covid-19 antibody therapy trials: The company started testing the treatment in humans in June. Early trials showed it was safe. 

On Tuesday, the company announced results from the first 275 non-hospitalized patients in a late-stage trial that showed that the treatment was safe and seemed to reduce viral levels and improve symptoms in patients with Covid-19. The greatest improvements were seen in patients who hadn’t already mounted a detectable immune response to the novel coronavirus. The patients in the trial were younger than Trump; the average age was 44 years old. More than 40% of the patients were obese, like the President, and a total of 64% of the patients had one or more underlying risk factor for severe Covid-19.

The study results have not been peer-reviewed and only topline data was available from the company in a news release. 

Outside infectious disease experts said the early results looked “very promising,” but they would need to see results from a larger number of patients. 

What’s next: The company said it is continuing to study this therapy. There will be more data to come from this trial and from a trial involving hospitalized patients and one that is testing the antibody cocktail as prevention for people who have contact with someone in their household who has Covid-19.

Regeneron is in talks with regulators to see if the US Food and Drug Administration would consider an emergency authorization of the drug. 

There are at least 70 different antibody treatments for Covid-19 under investigation.

8:37 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Sen. Thom Tillis tests positive for coronavirus

Senator Thom Tillis, of North Carolina, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on Capitol Hill on August 5 in Washington, DC.
Senator Thom Tillis, of North Carolina, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on Capitol Hill on August 5 in Washington, DC. Erin Schaff/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, of North Carolina, has tested positive for Covid-19, he announced in a statement.

Tillis, who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, had attended Trump’s announcement of his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Saturday.

"Over the last few months, I’ve been routinely tested for Covid-19, including testing negative last Saturday, but tonight my rapid antigen test came back positive. I will be following the recommendations of my doctor and will be self-isolating at home for 10 days and notifying those I’ve been in close contact with. Thankfully, I have no symptoms and I feel well. As we all know, Covid-19 is a very contagious and deadly virus, especially because many carriers are asymptomatic. I encourage all North Carolinians to follow the recommendations of medical experts, including wearing a mask, washing hands, and practicing social distancing. For any North Carolinian who believes they were exposed to the virus or starts to display symptoms, please call your doctor, self-isolate, and get tested to protect those around you," Tillis said in a statement today.
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.