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Infectious disease specialist says likely Trump contracted COVID-19 day after debate in Cleveland

Some testing can miss early onset of virus
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Posted at 4:29 PM, Oct 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-02 20:07:26-04

CLEVELAND — Health experts are looking into whether there's any chance President Trump had the COVID-19 virus while in Cleveland during Tuesday's Presidential debate.

Dr. Claudia Hoyer, co-director of Infection Control at University Hospitals, says it appears much more likely the president contracted the virus the following day from an aide who tested positive Thursday following a campaign swing and rally.

But she says testing has some limitations in certain, limited cases.

"You're going to test someone and it may just be there — it isn't going to be enough virus to detect —and as the day goes on the virus is replicating," says Dr. Hoyer. "So, maybe the next day you're positive."

However, Dr. Hoyer adds that the type of test the president most likely underwent — a PCR Test — is overwhelmingly very accurate. Such a test takes longer to analyze than the antigen test Gov. DeWine received a false-positive result from. This type of test delivers results much more quickly but with a higher chance for a false result.

Dr. Hoyer also believes it's highly likely that health officials in Washington will be going back over the past few days to see whether contact tracing reveals any further clues.

Those in the debate hall itself, she says, are most likely not at risk, but stresses anyone who was within 6 feet of the President should be tested.

"It's possible some in Cleveland that night at the debate may wind up in quarantine," she said.

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