Trump on his coronavirus test: 'I tested positively toward negative'


President Trump on Thursday disclosed the results of his most recent coronavirus test, telling reporters he “tested positively toward negative.”

“I tested very positively in another sense,” Trump said on the South Lawn before departing for Michigan to visit a Ford plant that is assembling ventilators. “So this morning, yeah, I tested positively toward negative, right? So no, I tested perfectly this morning. Meaning, meaning I tested negative. But that’s a way of saying it, positively toward the negative."

Trump has had trouble in the past with medical terminology regarding test results. A letter released by his personal physician in 2015 — which the doctor later said was dictated to him by Trump — said his recent physical exam “showed only positive results.” For the past several weeks, the president and Vice President Mike Pence have been tested daily after Trump’s personal valet and Pence’s spokeswoman each tested positive for the virus, which has infected more than 1.5 million Americans and killed more than 93,000.

Trump has been taking the controversial anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventive to combat contraction of the virus, despite warnings from doctors and public health experts that its side effects could be lethal.

The president said he is a day away from completing a two-week regimen of hydroxychloroquine, which was prescribed after consultation with the White House physician.

“I think it’s another day,” Trump said. “And I’m still here. I’m still here.”

President Trump speaks to reporters he departs the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. (Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
President Trump speaks to reporters as he departs the White House on Thursday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump also dismissed a study, published this week by infectious disease modelers at New York’s Columbia University, that showed some 36,000 lives could have been saved if the White House had imposed restrictions to stop the spread of the virus a week earlier than it did.

“I was so early. I was earlier than anybody thought,” the president said. “I put a ban on people coming in from China.”

Trump issued an executive order in late January blocking entry to the United States from anyone who had been in China in the previous 14 days. (The order, which went into effect Feb. 2, did not apply to U.S. residents or their family members. Some studies have concluded that the strain of the coronavirus that affected the majority of Americans actually came from Europe.)

But the White House did not impose other restrictions, such as social distancing and a ban on nonessential travel, until March 16. If the same restrictions had been imposed on March 1, Columbia’s researchers said, an estimated 54,000 fewer Americans would have died.

“Columbia is an institution that is very liberal,” Trump said. “I think it’s just a political hit job.”


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