The US presidential election has been plunged into disarray after Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, tested positive for coronavirus following weeks in which the US president sought to suggest that the worst of the pandemic was over.
Trump announced his positive test in a tweet at 1am, prompting US television networks to go to live coverage of the 74-year old president’s health, and his election campaign cancelled a planned event in the key battleground state of Florida.
Trump and his wife were tested after one of his closest aides, the White House counsellor Hope Hicks, began showing symptoms this week as she travelled to campaign events around the country with Trump’s entourage, including several other family members.
“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19,” Trump tweeted, adding that they would begin to quarantine immediately.
Melania Trump tweeted that she and the president “are feeling good and I have postponed all upcoming engagements”.
Despite the reassuring messages, many have noted that Trump’s age and weight put him in a high-risk category for more severe forms of the disease.
Although Hicks was tested on Thursday after showing symptoms requiring isolation, Trump still travelled to New Jersey to meet supporters at his Bedminster golf club, and delivered remarks at a fundraiser despite the high risk that his aide may have been infected.