(The Hill) — Former President Donald Trump came in contact with over 500 people between the day he initially tested positive for COVID-19 and his eventual hospitalization, according to a report by The Washington Post.
He came in contact with people either in close proximity to him or at events, according to the report. The number, however, doesn’t include people present at his rallies.
In the time following the initial test, Trump did not take extra precautions such as mask-wearing or social distancing as preventative measures for those he came in contact with after the positive test on Sept. 26, 2020, The Post said.
The newspaper reviewed Trump’s scheduled events in the week after he tested positive to attempt to account for the number of people he may have came in contact with.
Among the events Trump attended after his initial COVID-19 positive test was a Rose Garden ceremony, packed with people, to announce his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and an event in the East Wing for Gold Star families who have lost loved ones to military combat.
The Post noted that many people who came in contact with Trump, including members of his staff and the press, would later test positive for the virus. Those included New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway.
Three days after a debate with then-presidential contender Joe Biden, Trump announced that he had tested positive for the virus. He received treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center later that day.
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows revealed the earlier positive test in his new book, “The Chief’s Chief,” and said that Trump received a negative test soon after the positive test.
However, Trump never revealed his initial positive test and subsequent negative test to the public. Meadows revealed that “we were hoping the first test was a false positive.”
However, he added that the second negative test, via a rapid antigen test, allowed Trump to “press on as if nothing had happened.”
Medical experts have disputed the official White House narrative that Trump tested positive for COVID-19 24 hours before he was admitted to Walter Reed hospital, The Post said.
“It would make more sense that you would test positive and then a lot of patients we see hospitalized end up hospitalized on Day 10 or that second week, when the inflammatory response of the immune system is taking over,” Abraar Khan an infectious-disease doctor and global health researcher at Stanford University told The Post.
In a short statement on Wednesday, Trump called the allegations “fake news.”
“In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate,” Trump said.
Trump did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment. Meadows declined to comment further through a spokesman to The Washington Post.
After Trump denounced his initial positive test as “fake news,” Meadows also tried to backpedal his comments on the issue.
“[He] literally had a test, had two other tests after that showed that he didn’t have Covid during the debate, and yet the way that the media wants to spin it is certainly to be as negative about Donald Trump as they possibly can while giving Joe Biden a pass,” Meadows added.