Trump was exposed to someone with the coronavirus — and now he should be self-quarantining

Trump was exposed to someone with the coronavirus — and now he should be self-quarantining
Image via Screengrab.

President Donald Trump has been an outspoken supporter of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and on Saturday, Bolsonaro’s communications secretary, Fabio Wajngarten, was part of a delegation that dined with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida. Wajngarten has since tested positive for coronavirus, raising concerns about Trump’s possible exposure to the deadly disease.


Wajngarten, according to the Wall Street Journal, is now in home quarantine. But White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, on Thursday, said that neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence need to be tested for coronavirus because they had “almost no interactions” with Wajngarten at Mar-a-Lago.

On Monday, Wajngarten met with Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who WSJ reports is now in self-quarantine. However, the GOP senator and former Florida governor said that his physician told him that he doesn’t need to be tested.

WSJ reporters Rebecca Ballhaus, Siobhan Hughes and Luciana Magalhaes described Wajngarten as “the first known individual infected with coronavirus who has come into contact with the president.” A photo taken at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend and posted on Wajngarten’s Instagram shows four men together: Wajngarten, Trump, Pence and Brazilian businessman Alvaro Garnero — and Trump is standing next to Wajngarten in the photo while holding a “Make Brazil Great Again” hat.

Alex Ward, writing for Vox, noted that Trump's contact with Wajngarten means that he should be isolating himself from contact with others. By not self-quarantining, Trump is violating his own administration's guidelines, Ward wrote:

If President Donald Trump listened to his own administration’s advice, he would self-quarantine to curb the spread of Covid-19. Instead, experts say he’s putting others and himself at risk by continuing to work normally despite having been exposed to the novel coronavirus.

A self-quarantine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is “The separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease.” It’s proven to be one of the most effective methods of stopping a larger outbreak.

The fact that Trump isn’t doing this — or that his staff isn’t making him do it — is a very serious concern. “He should be” self-quarantined says Tara Smith, an expert on infectious diseases at Kent State University.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared coronavirus to be a global pandemic. And on Thursday afternoon, the pandemic had killed at least 4718 people worldwide, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

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