The Hunt for How Trump Caught the Virus: Media Focuses on ACB Event, But There's Another Possibility

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
AP featured image
President Donald Trump gestures while speaking during the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

It stands to reason that people are now trying to figure out from where President Donald Trump and the First Lady might have picked up the Wuhan coronavirus.

Some are pointing to the fact that many of the folks who have come down with the virus attended the announcement event for Amy Coney Barrett at the White House in the Rose Garden on September 26.

But there are a few questions that one might raise about that theory.

Number one, everyone let into the Rose Garden was tested according to Notre Dame president, Fr. John Jenkins, and were only let in if they tested negative.

Number two, most of the event was outside in the Rose Garden. Outside events are far less likely to have transmission.

Now, testing negative is not a guarantor. It simply means that you don’t have sufficient viral load to measure. But that said, you might have it but it’s not registering yet. It also could be a false negative. But right now, it’s one helpful measure, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t get it anyway.

Politico put out this picture of the event.


As we reported earlier, Fr. Jenkins had a lot of contact with a colleague who later came down with it and it is folks around Jenkins in the picture who came down with it. Jenkins also shook hands with a number of people.

But interestingly, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) who is sitting a little further away came down with it too and he was wearing a mask.

So if they got it at the ACB event and we don’t know that yet, the point to be made: a mask is not a guarantor of protection. The mask is largely to prevent you from giving it to others. But you can pick it up for example if someone just coughed on something that you then touched. In the constant discussion of masks, people forget or don’t get things like that.

But at this point there’s another possibility. Now there’s more reporting suggesting that there could have been Wuhan coronavirus at the debate location in Cleveland on September 29 before Trump and Biden arrived, with folks involved in the pre-planning and organization.

From Townhall:

Officials for the City of Cleveland said 11 cases of the Wuhan coronavirus could be traced back to the Sept. 29 presidential debate. The cases were a result of debate pre-planning and set-up, with the majority of cases impacting out-of-state travelers, particularly debate organizers and members of the media. [….]

“As the cases involve people in and out of state some of whom may be continuing to travel, the City of Cleveland is working with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Cleveland Clinic,” the city said in a statement. “As part of CDPH’s process regarding COVID-19, any individuals who tested positive as part of the debate were contacted, interviewed when possible, issued isolation orders and provided guidance regarding their isolation period. There were also conversations with individuals who tested positive regarding their upcoming travel.”


There too, everyone had to have a negative test to get into the event, showing again, testing is not a guarantor. But it’s possible that Trump or one of the other Trump officials got it there.


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