Donald Trump was very likely contagious in Tuesday’s debate, medics say, given the severity of symptoms on Friday that required oxygen before being transported to Walter Reed Military Medical Center.
“A person is at the peak of their infectiousness in the 48 hours before they show symptoms,” said Leana Wen, a former Baltimore health commissioner and emergency doctor. “If this schedule is correct, then [Trump] would actually be at the height of the contagion on Tuesday evening. “
Democrats expressed significant frustration over the series of events that drove the very cautious Biden into a risky, maskless environment that ultimately resulted in multiple Trump staff and supporters testing positive and Trump himself being hospitalized.
“The irony, in my estimation, is that if there is one person in 330 million who should be at the least risk, it is the President of the United States and his inner circle,” said Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who is in the Debate Hall and had to undergo a Covid-19 test after learning that Trump tested positive. “And yet they are super spreaders at the executive level.”
During the evening debate, some members of the Trump family violated the guidelines of the Cleveland Clinic, the academic medical center where the debate took place, by refusing to wear masks in the discussion room. It was a far cry from the carefully tended events that Biden had organized and attended for months.
Among those in the Debate Hall or traveling with Trump that evening who announced positive tests later in the week: Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who helped Trump prepare the debate, First Lady Melania Trump, the senior advisor Hope Hicks and the Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien.
In contrast, Biden and his team were vigilant when wearing masks and followed the strictest rules when traveling. So far there have been no Covid-19 infections in the Biden team. Access to the media was severely restricted as only pool reporters were allowed to travel with Biden. When it comes to a flight, the press always travels in a separate plane. At some events, circles are drawn to mark exactly where participants can safely sit or stand.
On Friday, after Trump’s diagnosis was confirmed, Biden continued his travel plans to Michigan. But he canceled an indoor fundraiser. The team did not find out from Trump or the White House, but from news reports.
When asked if Biden should be quarantined for 14 days, a Biden campaign employee said the staff had considered the situation and followed medical guidelines.
“Vice President Biden and the President were never within what the CDC deemed close contact, and we are following CDC guidelines. The Vice President tested negative twice on Friday, our traveling staff negative on Friday, and the Vice President negative again on Sunday for campaign events are socially distant and everyone wears a mask, “said campaign spokesman TJ Said Ducklo in a statement. “With all these factors in mind, we are confident that the Vice President can continue to fight safely.
Overall, concerns within the Biden team that the candidate – or other staff members – had been exposed were allayed by the fact that the campaign was so devoted to protocol compliance, including wearing masks around the hall and the Distance from others.
On the night of the debate, the two candidates stood more than 12 feet apart. Social distancing guidelines require people to be at least two meters apart to avoid exposure to coronavirus. However, medical professionals recommend a greater distance for people who spend long periods of time indoors next to each other.
Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) Said after Trump’s diagnosis that he thought back to the debate and wondered whether Trump could have exposed Biden that night.
“It occurred to me afterward that he spent 90 minutes talking to former Vice President Biden and [moderator] Chris Wallace? Yes, ”said Coons. “I mean, he was projecting powerfully.”
In a new statement on Sunday, the Cleveland Clinic said candidates and those who travel with them must present a negative result from a test taken within the last 72 hours. Both campaigns followed the rule, said spokeswoman Angela Kiska. The Biden campaign did not specify when the former Vice President was tested, but it did state that the 72-hour deadline under Cleveland guidelines was met.
Trump was tested positive for Covid-19 for the first time on Thursday by a rapid test, which was later confirmed by a PCR test. Trump made the diagnosis public early Friday.
The Trump campaign referred to the White House by asking if Trump was tested on the day of the debate. A White House spokesman said Trump had been tested “regularly” but would not say whether Trump had been specifically tested on the day of the debate.
“That’s part of the problem, you can’t get a straight answer,” Ryan said.
Some in the Debate Hall, a facility shared with Case Western Reserve University, noted that Trump was sweating on stage, even though the room was relatively cool.
“It was probably around 68 degrees. President Trump was visibly sweating. He looked uncomfortable. He looked excited, but honestly I hadn’t thought of it at the time. I only took it as an indication that it was being wound up, ”Coons said.
Trump raised his voice on several Points during the 90-minute session, which increases the likelihood of sending droplets into the air.
Biden has announced that it will publish the result of every Covid-19 test he has carried out. On Friday he said he received a negative result; on Saturday he said he hadn’t taken a test that day. The campaign did not publish a result on Sunday.
Medics warned that Biden is not out of the woods yet.
“If I were one of his advisors, I would tell him to stay near home for a couple of weeks just to make sure,” said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “It can’t be 14 days, it can be 10 days, that could be rational.”
“The good news is that we know he is wearing a mask and that he is following these good public health measures,” added Benjamin. “But I would be wrong on the caution side again. Old age and only the political consequences, the physical consequences of his illness would be unbearable. “