Trump tweets he and first lady will begin a “quarantine process”

Anyone who’s been near US President Donald Trump’s top aide Hope Hicks for more than a few minutes should quarantine at home following her positive test for Covid-19, a leading infectious disease expert said.

Hicks traveled with Trump multiple times recently, including to the debate in Cleveland Tuesday.

“Everyone who’s associated with Miss Hicks in the recent past should be quarantined at home and stay at home and not go out anywhere. That would be routine public health policy,” Vanderbilt University’s Dr. William Schaffner told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Thursday night. 

White House staff are routinely tested for Covid-19. “This is another example where you can demonstrate that testing does not prevent infection,” Schaffner said. “They do a lot of testing in the White House, but you need to wear the mask.”

Who is at risk: Some White House staffers who were working with Hicks were notified Thursday in a development first reported by Bloomberg News, but it’s taken 24 hours for others, such as the media who cover the Trump administration, including flying to rallies and fundraisers, to learn of their potential exposure.

“This is not a model of a vigorous insightful public health investigation. You want to notify people immediately, tell them to shelter at home, to start their testing process and watch what happens,” Schaffner said.
“We need to prevent further transmission of this virus and that’s routine practice public health practice.”

The odds are that Trump might have been exposed, too: “If the President were a normal person, they would stay at home, their symptoms would be monitored, they would be tested periodically. You would be sure then to shelter him from others, so he doesn’t potentially transmit this infection to others,” Schaffner said.

Trump supporters and staff have not always been doing what they need to do to prevent transmission and attending rallies and having staffers around is “exactly the wrong thing to do,” said Schaffner.

“This is not a political statement. The virus doesn’t care. This is a simple public health statement, the virus will spread and I promise you, in these large rallies, the virus is there, it’s contagious and it’s spreading, just as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west,” he said.