- The first lady, Melania Trump, did not visit President Donald Trump in the hospital over the weekend because she was concerned she might infect hospital workers or members of her security detail, a White House official told NBC News.
- Both the president and the first lady tested positive for COVID-19 last week, with the president taken to the hospital on Friday.
- The president is facing widespread criticism for taking a ride with Secret Service agents on Sunday to wave at his supporters. COVID-19 is highly infectious.
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The first lady, Melania Trump, did not come out of COVID-19 isolation in the White House to visit President Donald Trump in the hospital because she was concerned she might infect the Secret Service agents on her security detail, NBC News reported, citing an unnamed White House official.
“She has COVID,” the official told the outlet in explaining why she did not make the trip Saturday.
“That would expose the agents who would drive her there and the medical staff who would walk her up to him,” the person said.
That reasoning contrasts with the actions of her husband, who on Sunday evening left Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre â€” where he has been hospitalized for a few days â€” and took a ride in an SUV to wave at supporters.
One senior medic at the hospital described the move as “political theatre” that endangered the lives of the Secret Service agents who accompanied him in the closed vehicle.
COVID-19 is highly infectious and spreads most easily in indoor spaces where there is little circulation.
“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days,” tweeted Dr. James Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed.
“They might get sick. They may die. For political theatre. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theatre. This is insanity.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Both the president and the first lady tested positive for COVID-19 last week, with the president announcing the results early Friday morning and saying that he and the first lady would be isolating.
The first lady tweeted on Friday that she was experiencing “mild symptoms” but still was “overall feeling good.” The president’s symptoms have been more severe.
He was admitted to Walter Reed on Friday after experiencing breathing difficulties, and contradictory accounts of his health have circulated since.
Despite the likelihood of being highly contagious, he defied coronavirus isolation rules with the drive-by stunt, which seemed designed to ward off speculation that his health was in the balance.
The president and top officials have long downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic and are continuing to do so despite the president’s diagnosis.
The White House is also still not making wearing masks mandatory in the executive mansion, and the Trump campaign official Jason Miller on Sunday continued to criticise Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, for observing stringent measures meant to slow the spread of the disease.