The Timeline of Events Leading Up to Donald Trump's Announcement He Tested Positive for COVID-19

The president announced early Friday that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19

President Donald Trump announced Friday that he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The 74-year-old president's late-night announcement immediately made headlines around the globe, turned the Nov. 3 election on its head and added to what's already been one of the most chaotic years in recent American memory.

The Trumps were experiencing "mild symptoms," the White House said Friday morning, adding that they were being closely monitored.

“The doctors continue to monitor both his health and the health of the first lady. We’ll continue to do that," White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters. "They’ll be glad to provide some updates later today as we look at this.”

Meadows, who said he tested negative for the coronavirus, added: "I’m optimistic he’ll have a very quick and speedy recovery.”

White House physician Sean Conley said in a memo released soon after Trump's announcement that the couple was "well at this time and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence."

"Rest assured I expect the president to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any future developments," Conley said in his memo.

Speaking with reporters on Friday however, Meadows declined to specify the president's symptoms or discuss his treatment or how he was conducting business while in quarantine.

Donald Trump returns from Bedminster
President Donald Trump returns from Bedminster, New Jersey, on Thursday. Yuri Gripas/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The president's infection also raised questions about when the White House first suspected he was sick and when they made that information public.

Asked about the timeline on Friday, Meadows maintained that officials learned presidential adviser Hope Hicks was sick on Thursday afternoon shortly before the president left the White House for a fundraiser in New Jersey. This means Trump attended the event even knowing he had been previously exposed.

Trump's COVID-19 test late Thursday confirmed he had the disease.

Trump has traveled to multiple states this week, starting with a trip to Cleveland on Tuesday night for the first presidential debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who said Friday that he had tested negative. (Debate moderator Chris Wallace also said Friday that he'll be tested for the virus.)

Since the week began, the president has held crowded events at both the White House and on the campaign trail, as well as visiting his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club for the private fundraiser Thursday.

Here is everything that led to Trump's announcement Friday morning that he among the 7.3 million people in the U.S. who have contracted COVID-19 this year.

Trump's Top Aide Tests Positive, Shows Symptoms

Hope Hicks and Donald Trump. AP/REX/Shutterstock

Bloomberg first reported that one of Trump's top White House advisers, Hope Hicks, tested positive for the virus on Thursday afternoon, raising immediate questions among health officials, the media and the public concerning the president's own health given his proximity with his advisers.

Trump then confirmed the news about Hicks two hours later during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity. Hours later, he announced he had tested positive as well.

Hicks had reportedly tested negative for the virus Wednesday morning, according to NBC News, but began feeling ill during the president's rally in Duluth, Minnesota. On the way back to Washington, D.C., that night, Hicks was reportedly isolated from the president and other White House staff aboard Air Force One.

The 31-year-old Trump adviser had been in close proximity with the president throughout the week, however, as part of the small team helping him prepare for Tuesday's debate.

Where Trump Has Traveled This Week

Donald Trump returns from Bedminster
President Donald Trump departs the White House for New Jersey on Thursday. Drew Angerer/Getty

Trump has made stops in Ohio, Minnesota, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., this week, while potentially receiving and giving exposure to the respiratory illness that federal health officials say may or may not show symptoms for up to 14 days.

Sunday, Sept. 27

Donald J. Trump
President Donald Trump. Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty

The president traveled in the morning to his Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Virginia, though pool reporters following the president's daily activities did not see him firsthand until he arrived back at the White House shortly after 2:30 p.m. ET.

Trump later held a press briefing at about 5:30 p.m. and entered the room alongside former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who also joined Hicks in helping the president prepare for Tuesday's debate. Christie said Friday that he lasted tested negative for the virus on Tuesday and was awaiting a new test result.

Christie, who went on to reveal that he had tested positive, previously told ABC's Good Morning America that "no one was wearing a mask in the room when we were prepping the president" earlier this week and said "the group was about five or six people in total."

Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany also joined him and Christie at Sunday's briefing.

Monday, Sept. 28

Donald J. Trump
Trump during a White House Rose Garden event on Monday. Shutterstock

Trump held a Rose Garden event at the White House on Monday, where he gave an update on COVID-19 testing and announced a White House plan to distribute 150 million Abbott rapid tests “in the coming weeks.”

Sen. Rob Portman, who was at the event, was being tested Friday “out of an abundance of caution," according to his spokesperson.

The president's announcement Friday raised concern about his activity in the timeframe stretching back earlier than this week after Utah Sen. Mike Lee announced he tested positive for COVID-19. NPR reports that Lee was with Trump on Sept. 26 at the White House, along with the president's Supreme Court nominee judge Amy Coney Barrett. (Barrett said Friday that she tested negative.)

As of Oct. 3, at least 8 people who attended the ceremony, including the president, have tested positive.

Tuesday, Sept. 29

first presidential debate
Trump at the first presidential debate on Tuesday. CNN

Hicks traveled to Cleveland along with Trump on Tuesday for the debate, though she was not seen inside the debate hall with the president or his family, according to reporters at the event.

Trump's family members, including the first lady and his four adult children, wore masks to the Cleveland Clinic building for the debate but did not wear them during or afterwards. When an official from the Cleveland Clinic approached the family with extra masks during the event, pool reporters noted that the family waved off the offer.

NBC News reporter Marianna Sotomayor said Friday that she witnessed the interaction and that the doctor "looked frustrated as she stepped away, prompting a staffer to say, 'That’s all you can do.' "

The Trump family was seen not wearing masks after the event.

Wednesday, Sept. 30

Donald J. Trump
President Donald Trump speaking in Duluth, Minnesota, on Wednesday. CRAIG LASSIG/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The president then flew to Minnesota on Wednesday, the day Hicks began showing symptoms, for a string of campaign events.

The president first landed at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport on Wednesday afternoon, greeting Minnesota state Sen. Paul Gazelka on the airport's tarmac. Gazelka's spokesperson tells PEOPLE he is now in quarantine and is awaiting test results.

After briefly mingling with local lawmakers and supporters, Trump's caravan headed to the suburb of Shorewood, Minnesota, for a private fundraising event at a local home with state lawmakers and operatives. Following that event, Trump and his staff went back to the airport before flying to Duluth for an outdoor campaign rally.

Pool reporters at the rally noted thousands of people attended — and "most" did not wear masks.

Trump and his staff returned to Washington D.C. on Air Force One, where Hicks was reportedly isolated on the return flight.

Trump walked back into the White House after midnight for the second night in a row. Bloomberg reported early Friday morning that Trump's aides are worried the president's lack of sleep in recent days, as the campaign hits its final stretch in October, will leave him especially vulnerable to the virus.

Thursday, Oct. 1

Donald Trump returns from Bedminster
President Donald Trump departs the White House for New Jersey on Thursday. Drew Angerer/Getty

On Thursday, Trump flew from Joint Base Andrews in Prince George's County, Maryland to Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, New Jersey, before heading to his private golf club in Bedminster for another fundraising event.

The president returned to the White House shortly before 6 p.m. ET, where reporters last saw him walking back into the White House, waving and giving a thumbs up to reporters.

The president has not been seen publicly since, though he did call into Hannity's show Thursday night, telling the Fox News host that he was awaiting his test results.

Friday, Oct. 2

The White House cleared the president's schedule of any public events on Friday, after the president announced he tested positive.

The Trump campaign had scheduled stops with the president in Florida and Wisconsin this weekend.

A statement Friday afternoon from campaign manager Bill Stepien, who was later revealed to have also contracted COVID-19, said that "all previously announced campaign events involving the president’s participation are in the process of being moved to virtual events or are being temporarily postponed."

Saturday, Oct. 3

Addressing reporters at Walter Reed hospital on Saturday, Dr. Sean Conley said the president is "doing very well."

"The president’s been fever free for over 24 hours. We remain cautiously optimistic, but he’s doing great," he added, although he remained evasive regarding specific questions about the president’s fever or whether he had ever received oxygen.

The physician also noted they were "72 hours into the diagnosis," which would suggest the president received his positive test result on Wednesday morning, prior to his trips to Minnesota on Wednesday evening and New Jersey and on Thursday.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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