Donald Trump on What It's Like Receiving a Coronavirus Test: 'Nothing Pleasant About It'
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 CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.
Being tested for the novel coronavirus does not take long, and it’s not painful, but it’s not exactly comfortable either.
Asked about what it was like receiving his own test late last week, President Donald Trump told reporters on Monday: “[It’s] not something I want to do every day, I can tell you that.”
“It’s a little bit of — good doctors in the White House, but it’s a test. It’s a test, it’s a medical test,” he continued. “Nothing pleasant about it.”
Speaking Monday at the same coronavirus briefing, Adm. Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary for Health and Human Services, said the test required a Q-tip-style swab “that’s put in the back of the nose, all the way to the back of the throat” to the nasopharyngeal region. According to USA Today, that’s where the virus often multiplies.
The sample is then sent for testing.
The swabbing takes about 10 seconds and is not painful, though some patients — like the president — may find it jarring and uncomfortable, given what’s being inserted.
Elsewhere on Monday, Trump talked about what personal preventative steps he was taking amid the rising number of cases of the coronavirus, which causes the respiratory disease COVID-19.
At 73, Trump is in one of the at-risk groups because of his age. (People with underlying health conditions are also at increased risk.)
“I’ve always washed my hands a lot. I wash my hands a lot, probably — maybe, if anything, more. Certainly not less,” he said.
As the new coronavirus, which first emerged in China late last year, has spread around the globe, health and government officials have increasingly called for people to practice “social distancing” such as avoiding large gatherings and working from home.
Schools and colleges across the country have also been closed, with classes moved online, as a further step to slow the rate of new cases. Bars and restaurants have closed or moved to take-out or delivery only and numerous events have been canceled or postponed.
The White House on Monday announced even stricter guidelines on the kinds of social distancing communities around the country should practice, such as avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people. Officials also touted the ramped up production of coronavirus testing, which so far has been much slower in the U.S. compared to other countries and was plagued by both medical and bureaucratic problems.
The president himself came in contact with multiple people earlier this month who later tested positive for the coronavirus.
He said Monday that he had been tested on Friday night for the virus, after earlier deciding against testing because he said he had no symptoms. (The test was negative.)
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were about 5,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and 93 deaths. Worldwide, there were about 196,000 confirmed cases and 7,800 deaths.
To prevent the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages maintaining basic forms of hygiene including careful hand washing, avoiding touching the face, moving away from people who are coughing or sneezing and staying home at signs of illness.