REMOVES REFERENCES TO REPORTS, ADDS WHITE HOUSE CONFIRMATION, DETAILS ON CHANGES TO PRESIDENT'S SCHEDULE, ATLAS COMMENTS
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – US President Donald Trump is experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms Friday after announcing that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive.
The White House confirmed the president's current state of health with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows telling reporters Trump and the first lady "remain in good spirits" while confirming additional updates on their health will be given throughout the day.
"The president does have mild symptoms, and as we look to try to make sure that not only his health and safety and welfare is good, we continue to look at that for all of the American people," he said. "He continues to be not only in good spirits, but very energetic."
The White House previously removed most of the day's scheduled events from the president's daily schedule, leaving only a mid-day phone call.
The president is among those at highest risk for the virus' most dire health consequences. He is medically considered obese, and at 74 years old is elderly. Both groups make up individuals at highest risk for severe health consequences from COVID-19.
Trump and his physician confirmed his diagnosis early Friday morning.
"Tonight, @FLOTUS [US first lady] and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!" said Trump on Twitter.
The president's announcement came hours after Hope Hicks, one of Trump's closest aides who traveled with him as recently as Wednesday evening, tested positive for the virus.
Trump has spent much of the year downplaying the severity of the virus, and has repeatedly appeared in public without a mask. Many of his family members and supporters declined to don them during Tuesday night's debate, violating the event's rules even as staff attempted to have audience members wear the protective face coverings.
Scott Atlas, one of Trump's coronavirus task force members, told Fox News he expects the Trumps to make a "complete, full and rapid recovery," adding "there is zero reason to panic."
“It is no surprise that people get the infection, even with precautions,” Atlas said during an exclusive interview with the television network. “I anticipate a complete and full and rapid recovery back to normal after his necessary confinement period. I anticipate he’ll be back on the road and in full swing.”