WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump, some of his closest advisers and top allies in Congress have come into contact with people who have tested positive for coronavirus.
Some are heeding the advice of public health experts and isolating themselves until they have passed the period where they could be contagious to avoid spreading the highly contagious virus. Others, including Trump, continue to interact, mingle and even shake hands, as he did in the Rose Garden on Friday while declaring a national emergency to help direct money and resources for the coronavirus pandemic.
Among those to whom he offered a hand? Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has been advising Americans that one of the first lines of defense against the spread is to stop shaking hands.
Dr. Richard Carmona, who was Surgeon General in the George W. Bush Administration, said President Trump’s staff should have advised him not to shake hands.
“Setting the example would be very important,” said Carmona, now a distinguished professor at the University of Arizona and chief of innovation at the wellness resort Canyon Ranch. “It was a missed opportunity to shape the patterns of behavior we’re hoping to shape.”
And without a doubt, Carmona told USA TODAY, the president should have already been tested and should be in quarantine.
Carmona said he would tell the president, “You can still run the world, but we’re going to do a whole lot more virtually for the next little while.”
Even if Trump tests negative, he should still “take the precautions we’re asking every other American to take,” Carmona said.
Trump has not been tested but said Friday he “most likely” will be soon.
Some lawmakers have gone into self-quarantine out of an “abundance of caution” while others have dismissed their potential exposure. So far, no official has announced that they are positive for COVID-19.
These are the officials who have self-quarantined or interacted with people who have been diagnosed:
A senior adviser to Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for the novel coronavirus, just five days after he was among a group of officials who met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago.
Fabio Wajngarten, Bolsonaro’s communications secretary, tested positive and that result has been “confirmed by a retest,” Bolsonaro’s office said in a statement Thursday. Wajngarten posted a picture of himself standing next to Trump.
On Friday, Bolsonaro announced he tested negative for the virus.
Trump said he was “not concerned” about the development.
Trump Victory, a super PAC that supports the president, also sent an email to supporters about a donor who was at Mar-A-Lago on Sunday who also tested positive for COVID-19.
“We do not know if the individual had the virus by the time of the event, but out of an abundance of caution, wanted to call this to your attention,” the statement read. “The trump campaign, RNC, and Trump Victory are committed to doing all they can to protect the health, safety, and security of the President’s great supporters and all Americans.”
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Attorney General William Barr
A senior cabinet member in Australia’s government who said Friday he has tested positive for coronavirus was pictured last week standing next to Attorney General William Barr and other White House officials.
Peter Dutton, who is Australia’s minister for home affairs, released a statement saying he has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and admitted to the hospital, where he is in isolation.
Dutton was in Washington for meetings connected to the so-called Five Eyes security pact, an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Britain, and the United States.
The Justice Department said Friday that Barr is “feeling great and not showing any symptoms.” He is, however, staying at home Friday.
“The CDC is not recommending he be tested at this point,” the Justice Department said.
Ivanka Trump, daughter of and adviser to the president, was also pictured standing next to Dutton.
The White House said Friday afternoon that Ivanka Trump has no symptoms.
“The White House is aware that Mr. Dutton tested positive for COVID-19,” administration press aide Judd Deere said in a statement provided to USA TODAY. “He was asymptomatic during the interaction. Exposures from the case were assessed and the White House Medical Unit confirmed, in accordance with CDC guidance, that Ivanka is exhibiting no symptoms and does not need to self-quarantine. She worked from home today out of an abundance of caution until guidance was given.”
Asked Friday in an MSNBC television interview whether Ivanka Trump’s contact with Dutton meant that the president should be tested for the virus, Anthony Fauci, the country’s top expert on infectious disease, said: “I leave that to the president.”
She also was at Mar-a-Lago with the Brazil delegation.
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway also appeared in a a photo that was shared of Dutton with Ivanka Trump and Barr on March 6.
She tweeted Friday, “White House Medical Unit (WHMU) informed me earlier that Mr. Dutton was asymptomatic during the interaction. Exposures from the case were assessed and the WHMU confirmed, in accordance with CDC guidance, that I exhibited no symptoms & need not self-quarantine.”
Rep. Mark Meadows
The North Carolina Republican’s spokesman said Monday night that Meadows is also self-isolating after being advised this past weekend that he may have come in contact with an individual at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
The statement also includes that Meadows was tested for coronavirus “out of an abundance of caution,” despite “experiencing zero symptoms.”
However, he’ll remain home “until the 14 day period expires this Wednesday.”
Trump announced last week that Meadows would be his new chief of staff.
Sen. Lindsey Graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Thursday that he will self-quarantine after a trip to Trump’s Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, where Brazilian President Bolsonaro was present.
Graham’s office put out a statement, saying, “Senator Graham has decided to self-quarantine awaiting the results of a coronavirus test,” reiterating it was out of an “abundance of caution.”
“This is a precautionary measure. He will continue to work from home,” the statement concluded. It did not state whether Graham was symptomatic.
Rep. Matt Gaetz
The Florida Republican announced he was self-quarantining Monday after he was informed that he “came into contact with a Conservative Political Action Conference attendee who has tested positive for the virus.”
Gaetz “had expected COVID-19 to impact Congress, given the elevated frequency of travel and human contact, and demonstrated his concern last week on the House Floor,” the statement continued, referring to when he wore a gas mask on the House floor while the chamber voted on a coronavirus funding bill.
Hours before Gaetz announced he was self-quarantining, he was spotted getting on Air Force One with Trump for a flight up the East Coast.
Sen. Rick Scott
The Florida Republican announced Thursday that he would be self-quarantining after potentially coming into contact in Miami with a member of the Brazilian president’s delegation, who later tested positive for coronavirus.
Scott said he will self-quarantine “in an abundance of caution” after he had contact with Wajngarten. In a statement, Scott said the Brazilian Embassy alerted his office after Wajngarten tested positive – a result that came days after Scott met with Bolsonaro.
“While I do not believe I interacted with the infected person, that individual was in the same room as me,” Scott’s said. The embassy said Wajngarten had no symptoms leading up to the meeting or on that day.
Scott added he is feeling healthy and is not having symptoms at this time.
Rep. Doug Collins
The Georgia Republican announced Monday that he will self-quarantine due to contact with the person who tested positive at CPAC.
“This afternoon, I was notified by CPAC that they discovered a photo of myself and the patient who has tested positive for #COVID19,” Collins tweeted. “While I am not experiencing any symptoms, I have decided to self-quarantine out of an abundance of caution.”
Days before Collins announced he was voluntarily in self-quarantine, he was seen meeting with Trump at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, shaking the president’s hands on the tarmac before the visit.
Sen. Ted Cruz
The Texas Republican said in a statement Sunday that he shook hands with the CPAC individual, and had a brief conversation.
“I am not experiencing any symptoms and I feel fine and healthy,” Cruz said, explaining that the interaction lasted “less than a minute” and medical professionals he’s consulted have told him the “odds of transmission from the other individual to me were extremely low.”
“Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution, and because of how frequently I interact with my constituents as a part of my job and to give everyone peace of mind, I have decided to remain at my home in Texas this week, until a full 14 days have passed since the CPAC interaction,” he continued.
Rep. Paul Gosar
Gosar, an Arizona Republican, said Sunday he was with the CPAC “individual for an extended period of time, and we shook hands several times.” He said while he was not experiencing any symptoms, he along with three senior members of his office staff would be self-quarantining themselves.
Gosar said he would also close his Washington office “out of an abundance of caution.”
He later tweeted: “Been thinking about life and mortality today. I’d rather die gloriously in battle than from a virus. In a way it doesn’t matter. But it kinda does.”
Contributing: Jayne O’Donnell