When Do You Tell Someone You May Have Exposed Them To COVID-19?

Brittany Wong
·2-min read
A man walks past a mural representing frontline warriors of the Covid-19 coronavirus, painted on the wall of a dumping ground in New Delhi on September 29, 2020. 
A man walks past a mural representing frontline warriors of the Covid-19 coronavirus, painted on the wall of a dumping ground in New Delhi on September 29, 2020.

When should you tell someone you may have exposed them to COVID-19?

How do you tell them?

Questions like these are top of mind for many after this week’s news that US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus. They’re questions that maybe Trump and his team should have asked themselves after learning that top aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for the virus on Thursday morning.

Hicks had been displaying symptoms Wednesday night while on a campaign trip to Minnesota with the president. After learning that Hicks had tested positive on Thursday, Trump still attended a fundraiser at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, where he reportedly came into close contact with 30 to 50 donors.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters Friday that Hicks’ diagnosis became known just before the president left for Bedminster. Hours after the event, Trump confirmed on Twitter that he, too, had tested positive for the virus.

The news that the president may have exposed donors to the highly infectious virus hasn’t sat well with many ― including the donors themselves.

“The donors have been texting and calling. Freaking out,” an anonymous GOP source involved with Thursday night’s fundraiser told CNBC.

Responsibility for notifying others of even a potential exposure starts long before a positive COVID test, even if the risk is low. It’s an example of just doing the right thing.Nikole Benders-Hadi, medical director of behavioral health at Doctor On Demand

On Friday, just before 12 p.m. Eastern time, donors who attended the gathering were sent an email reminding them that no one was permitted within six feet of the president and advising them to reach out to their doctor if they started feeling coronavirus symptoms.

Experts say that Trump and those in his administration need to trace their contacts and start quarantining people who have been in close contact with them. (For instance, White House...

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