Trump and first lady test positive for coronavirus, sparking White House contact tracing effort

Table of Contents1 President Trump and his wife Melania test positive for coronavirus2 House passes

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump and his wife Melania have tested positive for Covid-19, throwing the country’s leadership and the 2020 election into uncharted territory.

Here’s what we know so far.

President Trump and his wife Melania test positive for coronavirus

President Donald Trump announced just before 1 a.m. ET that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” Trump tweeted.

The White House physician, Sean Conley, released a letter about Trump’s diagnosis, saying, “The President and First Lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.”

The announcement immediately throws into question the nature of the remaining 32 days of the campaign, including the last two presidential debates. The next one is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami.

The news came shortly after the president said he and the first lady were in the “quarantine process” following senior aide Hope Hicks’ positive test Thursday.

Stock futures plunged in early Friday trading after the announcement. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted over 500 points.

While the news that the president had tested positive for Covid-19 came as a jolt — medical experts said it shouldn’t have.

In recent weeks, Trump, 74, has held mass gatherings, some indoors, and shunned mask use while claiming the end of the virus was just around the corner.

In turn, his staff, his family members, and his supporters have followed his lead. As recently as Tuesday evening at the first presidential debate, Trump family members and other members of the administration did not wear masks inside the hall, despite a rule mandating that members of the audience wear them.

“This was avoidable,” said NBC News contributor Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist and global health policy expert. “No masking, no distancing — what did they expect was going to happen?” Gupta said.

Now the White House has the massive job of trying to contract trace all of the people the president and his staff have met with over the last several days.

As of Thursday, more than 7.3 million Covid-19 cases had been confirmed in the U.S. and more than 208, 000 Americans have died because of the illness, according to NBC News’ count.

Of course, Trump is not the first world leader to succumb to Covid-19.

Six months ago, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 55, tested positive during the height of the pandemic in the U.K.. After initially downplaying the severity of his illness, Johnson ended up in the hospital for a week — including in an intensive care unit where he received oxygen for several days.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro also tested positive in July after months of dismissing the disease.

Meantime many of those leaders, as well private citizens, have sent the president and first lady their well wishes for a speedy recovery.

“We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery,” Vice President Mike Pence tweeted.

Watch NBC News, MSNBC and for ongoing in-depth coverage of this story throughout the day.

House passes $2.2 trillion pandemic relief package, but has little chance of becoming law

The House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion Covid-19 relief bill Thursday night — but it was strictly along partisan lines and has little chance of becoming law as time ticks away before the November election.

The measure passed 214-207. No Republicans supported it and 18 Democrats voted against it. Nearly all of the Democrats who voted against the bill are locked in close re-election races.

“Today’s package is another partisan exercise that will never become law,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said in a statement about why she voted against it.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin were still in talks to try to come up with a bipartisan deal.

Asked if one was possible, she said, “I don’t know. It just depends.”

Barrett didn’t disclose to Senate her role in 2006 ad calling for overturn of Roe v. Wade

President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, failed to disclose her participation in a 2006 newspaper ad calling for Roe v. Wade to be overturned and ending its “barbaric legacy” when she submitted paperwork to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Two Democratic committee aides confirmed to NBC News that the two-page ad published in the South Bend Tribune of Indiana, which included her name in a long list of those in support, was not disclosed in the Senate forms required of judicial nominees and maintained that it should have been.

A White House spokesman said that because Barrett did not write or edit the advertisement, it does not fall within the scope of the questionnaire.

Federal appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett has been meeting with lawmakers this week in preparation for her Senate confirmation hearings scheduled to start October 12.
Anna Moneymaker / Pool via Getty Images

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  • More wildfire evacuations ordered as Northern California braces for powerful winds.
  • Trump said that he would overturn “ridiculous” decisions by two elite Navy units to make their ethos and creed statements gender-neutral.
  • Subway’s sandwich bread isn’t legally bread, an Irish court ruled. Too much sugar. Rather, the court deemed it a “confectionary or fancy baked good.”

THINK about it

Thank you, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, for breaking the silence around her pregnancy loss, author Amy Klein writes in an opinion piece.


Turn your walk into a workout with this 31-day interval-training plan.


During October, take advantage of early Amazon Prime Day deals and fall sales on tech, small appliances, home goods and more.

Quote of the day

“The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch…”

— A letter from the White House physician Dr. Sean Conley about President Trump’s positive coronavirus test.

One fun thing

It’s not quite as simple as herding sheep.

A flotilla of boats has gathered in a loch in northwest Scotland on Thursday to help herd a group of lost northern bottlenose whales and direct them back to sea ahead of military exercises in the region next week.

“It’s a first for this species,” said David Devoy, a volunteer with the charity British Divers Marine Life Rescue.

One of three Northern Bottlenose whales swims near Garelochhead, Argyll and Bute, Scotland on Tuesday.Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

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Thanks, Petra

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