BOSTON (CBS) — President Donald Trump said early Friday morning that he has tested positive for coronavirus. Dr. Paul Sax, the clinical director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital spoke with WBZ-TV about what this means for the president and those around him.
What are the risk factors for the president?
Most important risk factor for the severity of COVID-19, in study after study, is older age. And of course, being a man in his 70s, he is at risk for a more severe outcome. I really want to emphasize this, it can be a severe disease at any age. But as we get older decade, by decade, it becomes more of a serious condition.
The president is tested all the time, this leads us to believe he was exposed recently.
Yeah. The incubation period for COVID-19, the time between exposure and getting that positive test is between two and 14 days, and it averages about five days. So if we were in the process of doing contact tracing, we would kind of go back between that time and go forward as well. So this is a very important development and, and he is obviously around a lot of people. He’s not always wearing a mask. In fact, he rarely wears a mask. This is going to be a very important ongoing investigation.
He’s been campaigning in person. How concerned are you that other government leaders in the White House and in Washington, DC have been exposed?
Anybody he’s been in a room with, especially in a room for more than 15 minutes at a time when people are not wearing masks is potentially exposed people are at their most contagious in the couple of days before they develop symptoms and then several days afterward. Now, we don’t know if he has symptoms so we don’t know when the onset of infection, but presumably it was relatively recently and so the people who are at greatest risk could be those that he’s working with around this time period.
What’s the key to stopping the spread inside the White House?
The key is the same inside the White House as it is outside the White House. It’s testing, isolation, and then for a period of time of at least 10 days it would be quarantine. So those are the kind of things we would do for someone who has COVID-19 we would give that advice to someone who’s recently been diagnosed. We recommend is that they stay in essential quarantine for about 10 days after they have had the onset of symptoms and then also with complete resolution of the symptoms as well.