Trump official tests positive, cases soar

 

President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien has tested positive for the coronavirus - making him the highest-ranking official to test positive so far.

O'Brien, who holds a key role in the administration, "has been self-isolating and working from a secure location off site," the White House said in a statement.

It was unclear when O'Brien was last in contact with Trump, but "there is no risk of exposure to the president or the vice president," it added.

The pair's last public appearance together more than two weeks ago in Miami on July 10 during a visit to US Southern Command.

O'Brien is seen in a video the US President posted of his trip where he announced US armed Forces would begin a "surge of military assets" patrolling regional waters from Caribbean Sea to the east pacific.

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The White House confirmed that O'Brien has mild symptoms, adding that the "work of the National Security Council continues uninterrupted."

The news was first reported by Bloomberg News, which said O'Brien came down with the virus after a family event.

O'Brien's staff reportedly heard the news through media outlets before being formally informed.

Last Monday O'Brien retweeted a post from the President claiming: "We are united in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus."

A personal valet to the president and the vice president's press secretary previously tested positive for the virus, which has now infected more than 4 million people nationwide.

Senior White House staff and anyone who comes into close contact with the president and vice president are tested for the virus every day.

 

The United States is the hardest-hit country in the world with 4.23 million cases of COVID-19 and nearly 147,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Combined with Canada's total of 115,787 cases, North America now has more than 4.34 million infections.

The US also added 518 deaths on Sunday, bringing its death toll to 146,909.

After a drop in infection rate in the late spring, the US has seen a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, particularly in southern and western states such as California, Texas, Alabama and Florida.

The last time the daily number of new cases clocked in below 60,000 was almost two weeks ago, on July 13.

Scientists agree that an increase in death rates follows the spike in infections by three to four weeks.

 

Originally published as Trump official tests positive, cases soar


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