On Thursday, Oct. 1, President Donald Trump tweeted that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 and that they “will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately.”
For health officials, it’s another example of the immense breadth of the virus.
“I think the main message is this just shows the virus is everywhere,” said Ann Thomas, a public health physician at the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). “If it happens to the president it can happen to you.”
When one contracts COVID-19, the course of the virus can vary. Some people have reported mild symptoms, while others have spent weeks on respirators in intensive care units across the country. Over 200,000 people in the U.S. have died from the virus, and over 7.2 million have been infected, according to data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Older adults, people who are immunocompromised or people who have underlying health conditions are at an increased risk, according to the CDC.
Within Oregon, adults ages 20-29 have reported the highest number of cases, accounting for 21.6% of the total number of cases, according to the OHA. While younger individuals have higher reported cases, they account for just 3.6% of hospitalizations and zero percent of fatalities. The percentage of cases that end up as fatalities rises with each age group.
Thomas hopes that the president’s positive test result will help underline the severity of the pandemic to those who believe they’re low risk or not susceptible to the virus.
“No one is immune or exempt to the rules,” Thomas said. “It’s just very important to follow the guidance.”
Keeping 6 feet of distance between others, limiting contact with others and wearing facial coverings when in spaces where distance cannot be kept are all important ways to protect yourself and others, Thomas said. Facial coverings in public spaces are required in Oregon by executive order from Gov. Kate Brown.