Dr. Anthony Fauci confirmed Wednesday that President Donald Trump should not be considered “infectious” at this point in time.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provided statements to NBC and CNN ahead of Trump’s town hall Thursday stating that Fauci and his deputy, Dr. Clifford Lane, had verified “with a high degree of confidence” the president’s negative coronavirus tests conducted by the White House medical team. NBC required the confirmation before scheduling the town hall, which the network announced Wednesday morning.
One source familiar with the matter told McClatchy that the White House specifically requested Fauci perform the “impartial” review in order to ease media criticism of the president returning to the campaign trail. (RELATED: White House Physician Sean Conley Announces Trump Has Tested Negative For Coronavirus On ‘Consecutive Days)
White House physician Sean Conley originally cleared Trump to resume public activities Oct. 9, the day he spoke to a group of black supporters on the South Lawn of the White House. Conley further announced Monday that the president had tested negative for “consecutive days” but did not state on which days those tests took place.
“Repeatedly negative antigen tests, taken in context with additional clinical and laboratory data, including viral load, subgenomic RNA, and PCR cycle threshold measurements, as well as ongoing assessment of viral culture data, all indicate a lack of detectable viral replication,” Conley wrote in a memo to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. “This comprehensive data, in concert with the CDC’s guidelines for removal of transmission-baed precautions, have informed our medical team’s assessment that the President is not infectious to others.”
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) October 12, 2020
Conley and other White House officials have repeatedly dodged questions in recent days about when the president last tested negative prior to the reports he contracted coronavirus. Some media outlets have suggested those non-answers indicate that Trump actually contracted coronavirus earlier than reported by the administration or that was not being tested everyday as previously indicated by the White House.