Donald Trump being treated with experimental drug to fight Covid infection

2 October 2020, 05:56 | Updated: 3 October 2020, 01:30

By Kate Buck

President Donald Trump is being treated with an experimental drug to fight his coronavirus infection and has been moved to a military medical facility as a precaution.

The US President confirmed he and the First Lady, Melania, would begin their "quarantine and recovery process immediately" following their diagnosis.

An update from Mr Trump's press secretary late on Friday confirmed that he was feeling "fatigued" but remained "in good spirits" and was being treated with an "antibody cocktail".

The US leader received "a single eight-gram dose of Regeneron's polyclonal antibody cocktail," his doctor confirmed.

As it happened: Trump moved from White House to medical facility as a precaution

Read more: Trump claims he is 'very well' despite 'serious concerns' for his health

He was later moved from the White House to the Walter Reed Military Medical Center as a precautionary measure, where he will remain for the next few days.

Mr Trump will remain in charge as there has been no transfer of powers to Vice President Mike Pence.

He posted a video on Twitter before his transfer, during which he thanked people for their support and said: “I think I’m doing very well, but we’re going to make sure that things work out."

It was also revealed that Presidential rival Joe Biden and his wife had tested negative for the virus, despite taking part in a debate with Mr Trump earlier in the week.

Mr Trump on Twitter: "Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!"

At 74, Trump is at higher risk of serious complications from the virus. An initial statement from the White House said both he and the First Lady were "well at this time".

Melania tweeted: "As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19.

"We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together."

Their pair will now likely need to quarantine for the next two weeks while they recover, putting doubt over the possibility he will be able to attend the next debate on 15 October.

This morning's development also comes just a month before the US Presidential election on 3 November.

Donald and Melania Trump have both tested positive for Covid-19
Donald and Melania Trump have both tested positive for Covid-19. Picture: PA

Just hours before his positive test, Trump had said he and Melania were in quarantine after a close aide, Hope Hicks, had tested positive for the virus.

Ms Hicks traveled with the president multiple times this week, including aboard Marine One, the presidential helicopter, for a Minnesota rally on Wednesday, and aboard Air Force One to Tuesday night's first presidential debate against Joe Biden.

Read more: Donald Trump tells far-right group to 'stand down' after refusing to condemn them

It is understood Ms Hicks first felt unwell returning on Air Force One from a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday evening,

According to an administration official, speaking anonymously to the Associated Press, she was quarantined away from others on the plane.

Her diagnosis was then confirmed on Thursday, and Trump continued with his schedule Thursday, travelling to and from his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey to take part in two campaign events.

Questions are now being raised about when Trump contracted the virus, and who has been in close contact with him since who may have also contracted it.

Hope Hicks, seen getting off Marine One on Wednesday, before falling ill
Hope Hicks, seen getting off Marine One on Wednesday, before falling ill. Picture: PA

It was publicly confirmed Ms Hicks had the virus on Thursday, after he had returned.

Speaking to Fox News after her positive test result, Trump said he was "surprised" had contracted the virus because she "wears a mask a lot".

He also suggested she may have contracted it from well-wishing supporters.

Read more: 'Will you shut up man?' - Trump and Biden get personal in first debate

"She's fantastic and she's done a great job", he said.

"But it's very, very hard when you are with people from the military and from law enforcement and they come over to you and they, they want to hug you and they want to kiss you, because we really have done a good job for them.

"And you get close and things happen."

A letter released by the White House said the couple "both feel well at this time"
A letter released by the White House said the couple "both feel well at this time". Picture: PA

It added that the couple will remain at the White House during their recovery, and Trump is expected to continue his duties "without disruption".

Minutes before his announcement he was in quarantine, the White House distributed a schedule for Friday that showed he planned to go forward with a fundraiser at his Washington DC hotel and a political rally in Sanford, Florida.

The US has become the worst-hit nation by the virus, with over 200,000 dead and seven million confirmed infections.

Trump has been keen to downplay the severity of the virus, and in a bombshell interview two months ago defended and denied the severity of the spread of the virus, saying "it is what it is".

The couple seen together at Wednesday's debate
The couple seen together at the first Presidential debate. Picture: PA

When it first emerged earlier this year, he claimed it was "just like the flu", before being forced to put America on lockdown to try and save lives.

Since it emerged earlier this year, Trump, the White House and his campaign have played down the threat and refused to abide by basic public health guidelines - including those issued by his own administration - such as wearing masks in public and practicing social distancing.

Instead, he has continued to hold campaign rallies that draw thousands of supporters.

Earlier this week, Trump went head-to-head in a socially distanced debate against his democratic rival Joe Biden in Ohio.

At one point, Trump mocked his opponent for his frequent wearing of masks, when questioned on his distrust of their efficiency.

The US President said: "I don't have, I don't wear masks like him. Every time you see him, he's got a mask.

"He could be speaking 200 feet away from them and he shows up with the biggest mask I've ever seen."

During the debate, Trump also claimed - without evidence - that two million people would have died from the virus if his opponent had been president during the pandemic

Mr Biden replied to this claim and others made by his rival, saying: "Here's the deal, the fact is that everything he's saying so far is simply a lie."

He added: "I'm not here to call out his lies. Everybody knows he's a liar."

Trump then said he has had "no negative effect" from massive campaign rallies with thousands of attendees not adhering to social distancing recommendations amid the ongoing pandemic.

He added that he thought masks "are OK," pulling one out from his pocket and saying: "I wear masks when needed."

But Trump also bragged that he has drawn "35 to 40,000 people" at his campaign rallies, saying he brings such large crowds to outdoor events "because people want to hear what I have to say."

More to follow...