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With the President hospitalized, more Covid cases emerge in White House and campaign

President Donald Trump was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center early Friday evening less than 24 hours after news broke of his Covid-19 diagnosis, plunging the country into a deepening crisis as the circle of current and former aides to the President testing positive rapidly widened.



Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Bill Stepien, Melania Trump, Ronna Romney, Mike Lee, Thom Tillis posing for a photo: President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, White House aide Hope Hicks, Sen. Mike Lee, former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, and Sen. Thom Tillis


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President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, White House aide Hope Hicks, Sen. Mike Lee, former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, and Sen. Thom Tillis

By early Saturday, former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and the President’s campaign manager Bill Stepien had both tested positive, which followed the positive diagnoses of two US senators who had attended Trump’s Supreme Court nomination announcement last weekend, and Trump senior adviser Hope Hicks on Thursday. A third Republican US senator, who did not attend the nomination event, announced a positive diagnosis later Saturday morning.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Staff and visitors listen as President Donald J. Trump speaks with Judge Amy Coney Barrett during a ceremony to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House on Saturday, Sept 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)


© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Staff and visitors listen as President Donald J. Trump speaks with Judge Amy Coney Barrett during a ceremony to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House on Saturday, Sept 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

It was a remarkably fast escalation of the virus’ threat — which the President has long downplayed — from an infection that caused him mild symptoms, to a fever to then being airlifted to the hospital, all while spreading quickly throughout the government and his campaign.

Shortly before midnight, the President’s physician, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley finally gave an update on the President’s condition, saying in a memo that the President is “doing very well” and has not required any supplemental oxygen, but that doctors have initiated the antiviral drug remdesivir, which has been shown to shorten recovery time for some coronavirus patients.

Conley added that he had recommended the President’s movement from the White House to Walter Reed earlier Friday in consultation with specialists from both Walter Reed and Johns Hopkins University.

Around the same time, Trump tweeted: “Going well, I think! Thank you to all. LOVE!!!”

Trump’s diagnosis — followed by his move to Walter Reed, where the White House said he plans to stay and work for “the next few days” — presented the most serious known health threat to the US presidency since former President Ronald Reagan was non-fatally shot in 1981.

The decision to take Trump to the hospital marked a sharp turn from the statement Conley made early Friday when he first confirmed the Covid-19 diagnosis of Trump and first lady Melania Trump, and said the couple would remain at the White House during their convalescence.

Wearing a suit and mask, Trump, who’s 74, gave a low-key wave to the press but took no questions as he walked without assistance across the South Lawn of the White House to Marine One, the helicopter that airlifted him to the hospital.

Leaders in several states warn residents to be on guard as worrying Covid-19 trends emerge

Leaders in states across the country are sounding the alarm about rising Covid-19 cases that experts say could foreshadow a coming surge.



a person taking a selfie in a car: Medical technicians work at a drive-thru coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing facility at the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals company's Westchester campus in Tarrytown, New York, U.S. September 17, 2020. Picture taken September 17, 2020. Brendan McDermid/Reuters


© Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Medical technicians work at a drive-thru coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing facility at the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals company’s Westchester campus in Tarrytown, New York, U.S. September 17, 2020. Picture taken September 17, 2020. Brendan McDermid/Reuters

In New York, several Covid-19 clusters have created “hotspot” zip codes, the governor said, with a positivity rate about five times more than the statewide figure. The clusters are a “stark reminder” that New Yorkers need to stay vigilant, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

“Wear a mask, socially distance, follow the public health guidance — because this thing is not over,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Leading health officials including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have also warned that the US could see an especially challenging fall and winter this year. They say cities and counties should prepare by keeping safety measures and guidelines in place.

“We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this,” Fauci said in a Facebook and Twitter livestream.

In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear urged the state to stop a recent “escalation” of cases after reporting more than 1,000 new infections for the second day in a row.

“Today’s daily report is too high,” the governor said. “I need your help. It’s up to us and we’ve got to get this done.”

Wisconsin reported its highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations on record, with hospitalized patients nearly doubling in the state since September 18, according to hospital officials. And in Illinois, the governor is tightening restrictions in one part of the state after an increase in positivity rates.

At least 27 states have reported more new cases since the previous week and only nine are reporting a decline, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Nationwide, more than 7.2 million people have been infected and more than 206,000 Americans have died.

When a vaccine could be available to US population

On Wednesday, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said if its Covid-19 vaccine is proven safe and effective, it could be available to the general population by late March or early April.

Moderna began its Phase 3 clinical trial for a Covid-19 vaccine in the US in July. It’s one of four companies that have begun Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trials in the US — the others are Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca. The AstraZeneca trial was paused after an unexplained illness in a volunteer, and US health authorities are still considering crucial questions that remain around the injections of the experimental vaccine.

“I think a late Q1, early Q2 approval is a reasonable timeline, based on what we know from our vaccine,” Bancel said at a conference hosted by the Financial Times.

But there are several steps that will have to come before that.

If the safety and efficacy data checks out, Bancel says he expects Moderna will be