As the Coronavirus continues to spread throughout the United States and world, another prominent political figure is in the spotlight for possible illness: Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who has fallen ill after a recent visit to President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. At least three individuals who visited the resort recently, including a close aide to the president of Brazil, have tested positive for the Coronavirus, and now, according to Washington Post correspondent Josh Dawsey, McDaniel is getting tested too.
‘RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel was tested for coronavirus today after not feeling well. She was at MAL for some of last weekend.’
RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel was tested for coronavirus today after not feeling well. She was at MAL for some of last weekend.
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) March 14, 2020
According to GOP Communications Director Michael Ahrens, McDaniel already tested negative for common ailments including the flu that may have explained the symptoms that she has. She and her family members are keeping themselves isolated while awaiting Coronavirus test results, he added.
‘Last night, Chairwoman McDaniel began experiencing a fever and flu like symptoms, and she went to her local hospital in Michigan for treatment… Her doctor determined a test for COVID-19 was necessary given her symptoms. As she awaits the results, out of an abundance of caution, we are contacting everyone the Chairwoman remembers coming into contact with in recent days… We will provide an update when test results are available.’
Last night, @GOPChairwoman's doctor determined a test for COVID-19 was necessary given her symptoms.
We will provide an update when the test results are available. pic.twitter.com/oLla7pLaDH
— Michael Ahrens (@michaelahrens) March 14, 2020
One of those people who McDaniel came into contact with is the president — on Monday, she met with Trump himself. Initially, although Trump himself was also at Mar-a-Lago recently among other run-ins with the virus like the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, he wasn’t slated to get tested — he told reporters at one point recently that he was not “concerned.” But at a Saturday press conference at the White House about the situation, Trump claimed that he actually had gotten tested after all, even though literally the night before, a personal physician for the president issued a letter claiming that Trump supposedly did not need the test.
In reality, Trump — who’s well into his 70s — is in a vulnerable population and was repeatedly exposed to the virus recently, and thus, he warranted a test.
A broader problem is that Americans in the general public who’ve been sick and worried about possible Coronavirus infection have struggled to actually get a test.
McDaniel is not the first person in Trump’s orbit to get a test under questionable circumstances — Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida also got one, as did Mark Meadows, the North Carolina Congressman who Trump tapped as his incoming new White House chief of staff. Neither of them apparently showed any symptoms nor are in apparent high-risk populations, but they — like McDaniel — were able to nab tests anyway, apparently.
Currently, the U.S. has around 2,500 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, with about 55 deaths. Major outbreaks have been concentrated, after initial bursts in China, in locales like Italy, where authorities reported some 3,500 new confirmed cases within the last about 24 hours alone. Italy has seen almost 1,500 deaths overall from the virus, with 175 or so newly announced just today.