President Donald Trump had a quick reaction to news that one of the members of his coronavirus task force had a “low-grade fever” over the weekend.
The president jokingly shuffled away from the podium after the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, Dr. Deborah Birx, revealed that she was tested for the virus after she ran a low fever.
(Source: Fox News)
Birx made her comments as she was answering a question during Monday’s press briefing about Sen. Rand Paul, who revealed over the weekend that he tested positive for COVID-19.
The Kentucky Republican had been tested despite having no symptoms and did not knowingly come into contact with anyone who had been infected. Critics blasted Paul for reportedly using the Senate gym and swimming pool shortly before receiving his positive test results on Sunday.
After addressing the question and discussing the need for individuals to take personal responsibility in efforts to avoid spreading the virus, Birx turned to herself as an example.
“You’ll notice I was not here over the weekend,” she said. “Saturday, I had a little low-grade fever.”
Throwing his hands up, Trump quickly moved away from Birx, adding an “uh-oh” as he went.
“So, actually, probably a GI thing,” Birx continued, smiling and rolling her eyes at the president’s joke. “But, you know, I’m meticulous. I’m a physician. I looked it up.”
She explained that she went to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday to get tested.
“So I got a test late Saturday night, and I’m negative. I stayed home another day just to make sure. That’s how we protect one another,” Birx said.
“Phew,” Trump reacted.
“Unless everybody’s taking their temp everyday, we can’t say he had no symptoms,” she continued. “These are the kind of things we have to do for one another. This is the personal responsibility that I’m talking about that we all have to practice.”
She emphasized the need for people to be aware of their interactions and overall health as “there is a level of asymptomatic or mild spread” happening in many communities. She suggested people should assume “everyone you are interacting with is positive” and pressed the importance of social distancing.
The president brought up the issue at one point, asking the physician if the briefing room would ever look like it used to and be full of reporters. Monday’s press conference saw only a fraction of the usual members of the press present as there had been a report of one correspondent possibly showing symptoms of the coronavirus.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. continued to climb, reaching over 46,000 as of Tuesday morning with nearly 600 deaths. Several states have issued stay-at-home orders for residents and many have ordered closures of businesses and schools.
Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Monday that nonessential businesses in the state would be closed for the next 30 days and schools would remain shut down until the end of the school year. More restrictions were also ordered by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan