World Events

Trump COVID-19 infection: Biden ‘not out of the woods yet’

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife have both tested negative for the coronavirus, but some public health specialists say it could be days before the couple can be assured they were not infected.

“Biden is not out of the woods yet,” Dr. John Swartzberg, a UC Berkeley infectious disease expert, said Friday.

“If he was infected on Tuesday [during the presidential debate], you wouldn’t expect him to be positive today…. I am more interested in how he tests tomorrow and Sunday and Monday,” Swartzberg said. “That is when we really want to look at the test.”

About 50% of people infected with the coronavirus never develop symptoms but still are contagious, he said. Trump and his wife are both suffering symptoms, he added.

“He has COVID-19, and she has COVID-19 as well,” Swartzberg said.

After learning that aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for the virus, Trump traveled to a fundraising event Thursday in New Jersey, where he reportedly mingled with many people. On Friday afternoon, it was reported that Trump was being helicoptered to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“He certainly exposed a lot of people,” Swartzberg said. “How likely they are going to get infected is dependent upon so many other things.”

Swartzberg said these factors include Trump’s proximity to others, how long that proximity lasted and air circulation.

“The bottom line from a public health contact-tracing perspective is that, if he was within six feet of people for 15 minutes or more, they would be considered close contacts and should go into quarantine.”

He said Trump probably was already infected by Tuesday, despite the negative test result before the debate. Trump may not have had enough of the virus to show up on the test, Swartzberg said.