White House doctor says Trump doesn't need coronavirus test

Dr. Sean P. Conley said Trump's interactions with known patients have been "low risk."

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By Dennis Romero

The president does not need to take a test to determine if he's positive for coronavirus because two interactions he had with known patients were "low risk," a White House doctor said in a memo released Friday.

The memo was made public hours after Trump said he would be tested.

"Not for that reason, but because I think I will do it anyway," the president said Friday when asked about his interaction at his Mar-a-Lago resort last weekend with an aide to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Fabio Wajngarten, who turned up positive.

Physician to the president, Sean P. Conley, argued that because Trump's interaction was minimal, including a handshake, and because Wajngarten and another patient were not exhibiting symptoms at the time they socialized with the president, Trump's unlikely to get the virus.

"All interactions occurred before any symptom onset," Conley wrote. "These interactions would be categorized as LOW risk for transmission per CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines, and as such, there is no indication for home quarantine at this time."

"Additionally, given the President himself is without symptoms, testing for COVID-19 is not currently indicated," he wrote.

The CDC has published reports recommending testing for those who have had "close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19" or have experienced "potential exposure through attendance at events or spending time in specific settings where COVID-19 cases have been reported."

The CDC has said, additionally, that "individuals who have had travel to high-risk areas or are contacts of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be monitored for development of consistent symptoms and signs (fever, cough, or dyspnea)."

"Such clinical manifestations should prompt at least self-isolation with social distancing and clinician assessment for the need for medical evaluation," the centers said.

The White House physician detailed that Trump also shared a table last weekend at his resort with a person who later tested positive.

Experts say the virus, which can be deadly for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, is spread through person-to-person contact and through the air.

Some have noted that while top federal health experts advise Americans not to shake hands, the president has continued to do so.