Fact Check: The White House Doctor Did NOT Say Trump Is Virus-Free

Fact Check

  • by: Dean Miller
Fact Check: The White House Doctor Did NOT Say Trump Is Virus-Free Still Viral

Did the White House doctor say there is zero evidence of a live virus in President Trump? No, that's not true. In word and deed, the White House and Dr. Sean P. Conley have made it clear the president is infected with COVID-19, likely infectious and that antibodies in his blood tests point to the existence of viruses in his system.

The claim was made in a Facebook post (archived here) on Facebook on October 5, 2020, with the post opening "White House Physician:" and stating:

There is zero evidence of a live virus living inside of Trump.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Oct 7 16:25:45 2020 UTC)

The White House released a statement October 5, 2020, confirming the president and his wife are infected.

With the recent positive results of the President and First Lady, staff wear full PPE and continue to take all necessary precautions, which include updated procedures to protect against cross contamination.

Conley directly addressed the president's infection in a memo released to the public, in which he said the president was, as of October 3, 2020, "Not yet out of the woods."

The White House COVID-19 outbreak has infected the president, plus more than a dozen other advisers and family members. Conley has repeatedly said President Trump has COVID-19 -- as do White House staff.

The White House has instituted procedures to protect White House residence staff working with Trump from infection:

With the recent positive results of the President and First Lady, staff wear full PPE and continue to take all necessary precautions, which include updated procedures to protect against cross contamination.

Vice President Mike Pence's doctor referred to the White House outbreak in an October 6, 2020, statement. As of this writing, Pence's tests for COVID-19 have been negative.

Virologists and infectious disease experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they will continue to refine their understanding of the virus that causes COVID-19, but that even after recovery, the virus is harbored in the body:

Data to date show that a person who has had and recovered from COVID-19 may have low levels of virus in their bodies for up to 3 months after diagnosis.

On October 7, 2020, Conley released a report in which he noted that Trump's lab tests have shown the presence of the antibodies that fight COVID-19, which demonstrates the virus is still active in Trump's system.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

This fact check is available at IFCN's 2020 US Elections #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.


  Dean Miller

Lead Stories staff writer Dean Miller has edited daily and weekly newspapers, worked as a reporter for more than a decade and is co-author of two non-fiction books. After a one-year Harvard Nieman Fellowship, he served as Director of Stony Brook University’s Center for News Literacy for six years. As Senior Vice President/Content at Connecticut Public Broadcasting, a dual licensee, he oversaw radio, TV and print journalists, and documentary producers. He moved west to teach journalism at Western Washington University, edit The Port Townsend Leader and write the twice-weekly Save The Free Press column for the Seattle Times. Miller won the 2007 national Mirror Award for news industry coverage and he led the team that won the 2005 Scripps Howard first amendment prize. 

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