"With God’s help, we are confident he will make a quick and complete recovery," his team said in a statement on Thursday

By Adam Carlson
July 02, 2020 05:15 PM
Advertisement
Herman Cain in 2011
Eric Thayer/Getty

Herman Cain, a former Republican presidential hopeful, businessman and media personality, is recovering in an Atlanta-area hospital after being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus disease earlier this week.

His team announced he had contracted the respiratory illness in a statement on Thursday.

"There is no way of knowing for sure how or where Mr. Cain contracted the coronavirus," they wrote.

However Cain, 74, was at President Donald Trump's June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where many in the crowds were seen not wearing face masks or practicing social distancing.

Other attendees at the event later tested positive for the virus.

Cain has seemingly disdained the wearing of face masks, despite health officials' recommendations. He shared a tweet earlier this week that people who wouldn't wear them were "FED UP." (He spoke approvingly of masks back in April.)

His team wrote on Twitter on Thursday that he tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday and, by Wednesday, he "had developed symptoms serious enough that he required hospitalization."

According to a post on Cain's website from friend Dan Calabrese, "he was having trouble breathing."

"I realize people will speculate about the Tulsa rally, but Herman did a lot of traveling the past week," Calabrese wrote. "I don’t think there’s any way to trace this to the one specific contact that caused him to be infected. We’ll never know."

By Thursday, Cain was "resting comfortably" in the Atlanta hospital and "did not require a respirator," his team said on Twitter. He remained alert and awake.

"With God’s help, we are confident he will make a quick and complete recovery," they wrote, noting he had previously survived a cancer diagnosis.

His friend Calabrese wrote: "COVID-19 is a horrible thing to experience, and while we are sure Herman will beat it just like he beats everything, he really needs prayer right now .... this is really going to require all of his strength."

"Herman will be fine. We’re also confident of that," Calabrese wrote. "But please lift him up in your prayers, as well as his wife Gloria and their family for strength and encouragement in getting through this."

The former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in Missouri and former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, Cain spent much of 2011 seeking the GOP nomination for the presidency to challenge Barack Obama.

Though Cain enjoyed a brief polling swoon in that race, he dropped out by that December under a cloud of sexual harassment allegations and the claim of an extramarital affair, all of which he denied.

He returned to media after the presidential race and had been most recently hosting an eponymous show from his website and appearing on Newsmax TV.

In 2019, President Trump said he would pick Cain to join the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, but Cain withdrew from consideration when Republicans in Congress balked.

"Please join with us in praying for Mr. Cain," his team wrote on Twitter, "and for everyone who has contracted the coronavirus — as well as their families."

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. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org 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.