(Bloomberg) — A high ranking officer in the Marine Corps has tested positive for Covid-19. President Donald Trump re-engaged on the international front, speaking with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He credited a therapeutic drug for his recovery.
Trump left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday evening after spending three days there receiving treatment for Covid-19. A widening group of aides and officials linked to the president has tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days, prompting the White House to add new protocols to contain the outbreak.
A Top Marine Officer Tests Positive for Virus
The assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, General Gary L. Thomas, has tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesman for the Marines said on Wednesday.
“He had been in self-quarantine since Tuesday, Oct. 6, out of an abundance of caution following notification of close contact with a person who later tested positive for the virus,” the spokesman, Captain Joseph Butterfield, said in a statement.
“He is experiencing mild symptoms, but otherwise is feeling well,” Butterfield added.
Several members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including General Mark Milley, the top American military officer, are also in self quarantine after the Coast Guard’s vice commandant tested positive for the virus.
Trump Speaks With U.K. Prime Minister (7:15 p.m.)
Trump tweeted that he had spoken with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who caught the coronavirus earlier this year.
“Very thankful for his friendship and support as I recovered from the China Virus,” Trump said, using his term for the coronavirus pandemic, for which he blames China. “I am looking forward to working with him for many years to come, a great guy!”
Johnson became seriously ill in March with Covid-19, and spent time in intensive care in the hospital. He sent his best wishes to Trump and his wife Melania last week.
Trump Calls Regeneron Drug a ‘Cure’ for Covid-19 (5:49 p.m.)
Trump said it was fortunate that he caught the coronavirus, as it allowed him to see the value of therapeutics made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co.
“I think this was a blessing from God that I caught it. This was a blessing in disguise,” Trump said in a video that he tweeted. “I caught it. I heard about this drug. I said let me take it, it was my suggestion. It was incredible the way it worked.”
Trump received Regeneron’s treatment among a cocktail of drugs given by doctors at the White House and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. “I want to get for you what I got. And I’m going to make it free,” Trump said to viewers. “It’s a cure.”
Regeneron shares jumped 2.9% as of 6:17 p.m. in after-market trading on the president’s remarks. Eli Lilly & Co., which makes a competing antibody treatment also mentioned by Trump, climbed 1.7%.
Washington Mayor Wants Talks on Containing White House Cases (5:32 p.m.)
The mayor of Washington, DC, is seeking “immediate and substantive dialog” with the White House to discuss how to trace and halt the spread of the coronavirus outbreak that has flared up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Video: Doctors help patients register to vote (NBC News)
Work the nation’s capital has done to curtail the spread of the virus among its 706,000 residents “is put at jeopardy if we do not work together at this critical juncture,” Mayor Muriel Bowser wrote in a letter to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows made public Wednesday.
Bowser seeks a meeting between the chief White House physician and the director of the DC Department of Health “to discuss how to best trace and curtail the spread of COVID-19 among White House staff and visitors.”
The White House has been linked to about two dozen positive Covid-19 cases in recent days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. — Ari Natter
Trump Returns to Oval Office While Recuperating From Covid-19 (3:39 p.m.)
Trump returned to the Oval Office on Wednesday while recuperating from Covid-19, where he was briefed on coronavirus stimulus talks and the latest hurricane to threaten U.S. shores, according to a spokesman.
Trump’s doctor said earlier that he hadn’t experienced any symptoms of the disease in 24 hours. He was discharged from the hospital after three days of treatment on Monday. It was his first known time back in the West Wing of the complex since he left the hospital on Monday.
Trump announced Tuesday that he had pulled out of stimulus talks with House Democrats, after failing to bridge differences between their $2 trillion bill and Senate Republicans, many of whom want to spend far less money.
It wasn’t clear what he was briefed on Wednesday, though he has also said he’d like narrower measures to provide money to airlines, small businesses and individual Americans. — Jordan Fabian, Justin Sink
White House Says Impossible to Know on Trump Infection (2:30 p.m.)
White House Deputy Press Secretary Brian Morgenstern said that it’s not possible to get to the bottom of Trump’s infection with the coronavirus.
“I understand people are very curious about that. I’m curious too. But that’s not really what contact tracing does. And the fact is, it could be any number of sources,” Morgenstern told reporters Wednesday. “It’s sort of an unknowable question as to where it entered the environment.”
Journalists have tested positive, and “there could have been any number of guests who’ve been at the White House who maybe tested negative but then later tested positive,” Morgenstern said. Trump himself was “tested very regularly as well as the senior staff who interact with him on an everyday basis,” Morgenstern said. He said he didn’t know when Trump last tested negative.
The White House and West Wing have been deep-cleaned, and there’s ways for Trump to work safely in a variety of rooms, including the Oval Office, once he’s ready, Morgenstern said. Trump wants to speak to the American people, but a decision hasn’t been made on the timing or other details, Morgenstern also said. — Jordan Fabian, Sophia Cai
Trump Fever-Free for More Than Four Days (1 p.m.)
Trump has been free of Covid-19 symptoms for more than 24 hours as of Wednesday, and without a fever for more than four days, the White House physician said.
“His physical exam and vital signs, including oxygen saturation and respiratory rate, all remains stable and in normal range,” White House physician Sean Conley wrote in a memorandum that was released Wednesday by the White House.
Conley added that Trump has “now been fever-free for more than 4 days, symptom-free for over 24 hours, and has not needed nor received any supplemental oxygen since initial hospitalization.” — Josh Wingrove
House Speaker Pelosi Won’t Go Near White House (11:22 a.m.)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the White House is now one of the most “dangerous” locations in the country after a number of aides there tested positive for the coronavirus.
“I wouldn’t go anywhere near the White House. It is one of the most dangerous places in the country,” Pelosi said on ABC’s “The View” program. Besides the danger of Covid-19, she accused the White House of an “assault” on the truth. She said the president’s medication is something that “should be viewed,” speaking a day after Bloomberg reported that she told Democratic lawmakers Trump’s thinking on ending talks on a fiscal stimulus might have been affected by steroids.
The speaker said, “From my standpoint as second in line,” to presidential succession, she is getting tested for the virus.
White House Adding Protocols to Contain Coronavirus (8:43 a.m.)
Additional measures are being taken to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus after a number of White House aides tested positive, according to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
“Additional protocols” have been introduced, “cordoning off” different working groups at the White House, Meadows said on Fox News Wednesday. “A number of precautions are in place.”
Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to the president, said Tuesday night that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, adding to ranks that already included, among others, a valet to the president, a military aide and the White House press secretary and additional communications officials.
Meadows told reporters that Trump wants to make sure that the drugs he got at Walter Reed become available to all Americans. While the president has been working from his residence, he “wanted to go” to the Oval Office on Tuesday, Meadows said. “If he decides to go to the Oval we’ve got safety protocols there.” — Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou
Trump Planning to Debate Next Week if Healthy (7:46 a.m. New York Time)
Trump intends to participate in next Thursday’s presidential debate with Joe Biden if he’s healthy enough, a campaign adviser said.
“If President Trump is cleared and he is healthy and he’s ready to go, then of course we are pushing forward” for the Oct. 15 debate, said Jason Miller, a Trump campaign aide, on Fox Business. He also said that he spoke with Trump Tuesday night and that he is feeling “much better.”
Miller dismissed as “nonsense” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reported speculation Tuesday that Trump’s thinking on ending talks on a fiscal stimulus might have been affected by steroids he’s taken to treat his coronavirus infection. — Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou
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