President Trump and First Lady of the United States have SARS-CoV-2

Last night, President Trump announced that he and the First Lady, Melania Trump have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The President's physician, Sean Conley, released a memorandum for Kayleigh McEnany stating that he had "received confirmation" of the results. Conley stated that both are "well at this time." He also said that he expects the President to continue to carry out his duties without disruption.

There is simply no way for Dr. Conley or anyone to know what will happen, though. While we have not been provided enough information to say whether or not either President or Mrs. Trump have developed symptoms of covid-19, the syndrome caused by the novel coronavirus, everything we have learned in the last 9 months suggest that patients can be absolutely symptom free for many days and then become ill and even critically ill; on the other hand, many never develop symptoms at all. Others have mild symptoms throughout their courses, with some precipitously declining. In this light, one must assume that Dr. Conley's words are aspirational.

This is especially the case for the President, who has several risk factors that increase his odds of developing serious or severe covid-19: his age, his gender, and at least one pre-existing condition (obesity). Each of these features factor into his risk of dying in the next two to four weeks—the percent chance of which could be in the double digits. Alternatively, the President could be among those who never develop a single symptom and recover without incident.

At times the President has downplayed this virus. He may or may not be taking hydroxychloroquine, in a misguided effort to try to stave off infection. But most conspicuously, the President is often seen without a mask. Just earlier this week he derided his opponent former Vice President Joseph Biden for his predilection for wearing a mask in almost all of his public appearances. It is unknown whether Trump was positive for SARS-CoV-2 during Tuesday's debate. However, the President raised his voice many times, which can increase the distance that droplets with the virus can travel.