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White House doctor says Trump has tested negative for COVID-19

Doc says rapid tests, taken in conjunction with other data, including viral load, show Trump is not contagious; details released as president heads to Florida

US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Trump is en route to Florida. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Trump is en route to Florida. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump has been found negative for Covid-19 using a rapid test, his White House physician said Monday, 10 days after Trump announced he had contracted the potentially deadly illness.

“I can share with you that he tested negative, on consecutive days, using the Abbot BinaxNOW antigen card,” Sean Conley said in a memo released to the public.

Antigen tests are less sensitive than the more traditional PCR diagnostic test to low levels of virus.

Conley, said that the tests, taken in conjunction with other data, including viral load, have led him to conclude that Trump was not contagious.

Conley, who did not specify the days on which the tests were performed, nevertheless added that the data allowed the medical team to conclude “that the president is not infectious to others.”

This brief statement was issued while the president was on board Air Force One en route to Florida for a campaign rally.

For days, the White House had sidestepped questions as to whether Trump had tested negative. Conley over the weekend said that the president met Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for safely discontinuing isolation and that by “currently recognized standards,” Trump was no longer considered a transmission risk.

Trump, eager to return to campaigning, says he is now “immune” to the virus — a claim that is impossible to prove given limitations in what scientists know about the coronavirus.

US President Donald Trump speaks from the Blue Room Balcony of the White House to a crowd of supporters, October 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said Monday on CNN that those who recover from COVID-19 are likely to be immune for a limited period of time, but there are cases emerging of people getting reinfected weeks or months later.

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