Trump likely had the virus during the debate, according to medical experts

  • The leading data and CDC guidance on COVID-19's infection window, along with assessments from public health experts, point to Tuesday night's debate in Cleveland as a potential spreading event for the coronavirus, with President Donald Trump likely contracting the virus beforehand given when he tested positive.
  • Trump was "likely infected between Saturday and Monday," according to Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown  University School of Public Health.
  • It takes five days on average for the virus to be detected from the point of infection, according to CDC research, usually remaining detectable for up to 14 days, with some exceptions.
  • Debate moderator Chris Wallace said Friday that his doctor advised him to wait until Monday to get a test, citing the delay of its detection leading to possible false negative results before then.
  • "The significance of that to me is that if the president had a test yesterday and had tested positive, then I think he had the coronavirus during the debate," Wallace said Friday on Fox News.
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President Donald Trump likely had the coronavirus in his system during Tuesday night's debate based on when he ended up testing positive, according to the leading CDC research and medical experts.

On average, COVID-19 remains undetected up to around five days after the point of infection, according to a CDC study published in May.

This means that Trump probably caught it at some point between last Saturday and Monday, according to Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.

With some exceptions, the virus remains detectable for up to 14 days after infection, according to the same study.

Debate moderator Chris Wallace said on Fox News Friday that his doctor advised him to wait until Monday to take a COVID-19 test because of that delay. 

"The significance of that to me is that if the president had a test yesterday and had tested positive, then I think he had the coronavirus during the debate," Wallace said, citing his doctor's assessment.

A massive contact tracing effort is underway to pin down when Trump most likely contracted the virus and when other key figures in his orbit came down with it.

Trump's contacts in that window make such an operation a "nightmare," according to Jha.

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