This Day In History: October 2

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Amid a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump announces that he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19 in an early-morning tweet on October 2, 2020. 

Coming a week after a White House gathering celebrating his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and 48 hours after his first debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Trump’s announcement precipitates several days of uncertainty in Washington and around the country.

When news broke that Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s advisors, had tested positive, speculation swirled that Trump and the First Family could have contracted the virus. Around 1 a.m. on October 2, Trump confirmed his diagnosis, tweeting “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

Although Trump's aides downplayed seriousness of his condition, even from others in the West Wing, the president became seriously ill. Later reporting revealed the president's blood oxygen levels had dropped dangerously. Doctors warned that, at age 74 and medically obese, Trump was considered to be at very high risk. 

Trump was taken by helicopter to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center later in the day on October 2, a Friday. He was given a then-experimental treatment of monoclonal antibodies and an antiviral drug drug called Remdisivir, as well as steroids to address inflammation in his lungs. He remained at Walter Reed over the weekend. Trump returned to the White House on Monday.

COVID cases in the United States continued to climb following Trump’s recovery from the virus. By May 2022, the nation reached a grim milestone as more than one million people in the United States had died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.