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Trump has cough, low-grade fever, among other COVID-19 symptoms

By Stephanie Toone, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #local-all

The president has cold-like symptoms and he will avoid in-person engagements indefinitely.

President Donald Trump reportedly showed symptoms of the novel coronavirus prior to announcing that he and his wife Melania Trump were diagnosed with the virus in the wee hours Friday, according to two people familiar with his condition who spoke with The New York Times.

The 74-year-old’s symptoms have been described as mild and similar to those of a cold, according to the source. The president also began to feel lethargic Thursday at a fundraiser he attended at his golf club at Bedminster, New Jersey. One attendee reported the president came in contact with nearly 100 people during the event.

Specifically, the president is said to have been lethargic the last few days, and he now, according to the New York Times report, has a low-grade fever, nasal congestion and a cough, according to two people close to the president.

Prior to the fundraiser, a person briefed on the matter said Trump exhibited signs of lethargy Wednesday, when he fell asleep on Air Force One on his way back from a Minnesota rally.

A White House official said that as of Thursday night, the president’s treatment plan was still being discussed. So was a possible national address or a videotaped statement from the president to demonstrate that he was functioning and that the government will not be interrupted.

The first lady shared a tweet early Friday about their condition, noting she and the president were “feeling good” despite the diagnosis. According to official letter from the Trumps’ physician, her coronavirus symptoms include a mild cough and headache.

Their son, Barron, tested negative for the virus.

In a statement, the president’s physician said Trump, 74, was “well” but did not say whether he was experiencing symptoms. He said the president would stay isolated in the White House for now.

Trump, who for many months had appeared to minimize the impact of the various, hours before the announcement of his diagnosis had reassured supporters that “the end of the pandemic is in sight. He will now isolate in the White House for an unspecified period of time. His campaign announced Friday that it had postponed all in-person campaign events involving him or his family.

“All previously announced campaign events involving the President’s participation are in the process of being moved to virtual events or are being temporarily postponed,” Bill Stepien, his campaign manager, said in a statement. “In addition, previously announced events involving members of the first family are also being temporarily postponed.”

What are the president’s risks?

Due to his age, the president could be at higher risk for hospitalization, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. COVID-19 is typically signaled by three symptoms: a fever, an insistent cough and shortness of breath. But older adults — the age group most at risk of severe complications or death from this condition ― may have none of these characteristics.

Those adults of an advanced age also may sleep more than usual or stop eating. They may also seem unusually apathetic or confused, losing orientation to their surroundings, according to KFF.

“With a lot of conditions, older adults don’t present in a typical way, and we’re seeing that with COVID-19 as well,” said Dr. Camille Vaughan, section chief of geriatrics and gerontology at Emory University.

How did he get it?

It’s unclear where Trump contracted the virus, but one of his aides, Hope Hicks, tested positive Thursday. Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for the coronavirus Friday. Pence’s office said Pence has been tested for COVID-19 every day for months, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“This morning, Vice President Pence and the Second Lady tested negative for COVID-19,” Devin O’Malley, Pence’s press secretary, tweeted. “Vice President Pence remains in good health and wishes the Trumps well in their recovery.”

Pence’s office did not immediately respond to questions about when he was last in contact with Trump, who announced his positive test results early Friday.

But during a rally Tuesday in Pennsylvania, Pence told the crowd he had been in the Oval Office with the president earlier that day.

Pence is scheduled to debate with Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, who also tested negative for the coronavirus, on Wednesday in Utah.