Trump says he will start 'quarantine process' after bizarre claim about his COVID test

Trump says he will start 'quarantine process' after bizarre claim about his COVID test
(Official Whte House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

President Donald J. Trump speaks on the phone in the Oval Office Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long to receive the latest update on the devastating wildfires in California.

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President Donald Trump announced Thursday night that he and First Lady Melania Trump will begin a "quarantine process" after his close aide, Hope Hicks, tested positive for the coronavirus.

His short tweet on the matter, however, left many questions. It's publicly known that the White House has 15-minute rapid tests for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. So it's not clear why there should be any meaningful "wait" at all for the results of the test.

And NBC News reported that Hicks tested positive for the virus a day before it was announced on Thursday, first by the media. If Hicks tested positive on Wednesday, it's even more bizarre that the president would claim he still has to "wait" for the result.

It's possible a rapid test could give a false positive that would require additional testing to confirm, but the White House has not provided any such details. Even if the president tested negative, it could still be warranted for him to quarantine, because the quarantine period can be up to 14 days long, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins pointed out that the president's claim to be entering quarantine is also notable because, despite the fact that others he has interacted with and some close to him in the White House have tested positive for the virus, he has never gone into quarantine before.

As of this writing, the White House schedule for Friday featured the president attending an event at one of his hotels and a campaign rally in Florida, though both events would seem to be incompatible with his entering quarantine.

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