President Donald Trump said on Twitter early Friday that he tested positive for Covid-19.
Stock futures in the United States fell sharply. Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 424 points, S&P 500 futures tumbled 54 points and Nasdaq futures lost 268 points.
Just before 1am, the president posted on Twitter that he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the new coronavirus, adding that the two “will make it together.”
Hours earlier, he revealed that Hope Hicks, his consultant, had also tested positive for Covid 19.
“Terrible! The First Lady and I are awaiting our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!” he said late Thursday night.
White House doctor Scott Conley said the president and first lady will remain in the White House “while recovering.”
“Rest assured that I expect the president to continue to perform his duties uninterrupted during recovery, and I will keep you updated on any future developments,” Conley said in a memo released Friday.
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, tested negative for Covid-19, a spokesperson on CNBC said Friday.
The way Trump handled the pandemic – and sometimes rejected it – has been a source of criticism for his administration.
At the start of the outbreak, he compared the virus to a common cold – “a runny nose” – and said it would disappear by April, as his administration has given repeated assurances to Americans that they run minimal risk of infection.
The virus, however, hit the United States particularly hard, killing more than 205,000 Americans. More than 7 million Americans have been diagnosed with Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Trump, aged 74, is now one of many high-profile politicians to have contracted the virus.
In April, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was also infected and spent time in intensive care at the hospital, but eventually recovered. A month earlier, U.S. Senator Rand Paul had also tested positive for Covid-19, but had never developed significant symptoms.
News of President Trump’s diagnosis comes just as US presidential debates had begun and just about a month before the 2020 election. It is unclear how the diagnosis will affect the campaign.