Utah senator Mike Lee tests positive for coronavirus days after visiting the White House

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  • October 2, 2020
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A Republican senator has tested positive for coronavirus just days after visiting the White House.

Utah Senator Mike Lee attended the White House for Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court last Saturday , and was pictured hugging other attendees while not wearing a mask.

In a statement on Friday the senator said he was tested after “experiencing symptoms consistent with long term allergies.

“Out of an abundance of caution, I sought medical and was tested for Covid-19. Unlike the test I took just a few days ago while visiting the White House, yesterday’s test came back positive.

“On advice of the Senate attending physician, I will remain isolated for the next 10 days”.

An hour after Senator Lee’s statement, John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame University who also attended the White House on Saturday, revealed he had tested positive for coronavirus.

It comes after US President Donald Trump has said he is experiencing “mild symptoms” of Covid-19 after he and Melania Trump tested positive.

The president, who repeatedly downplayed the threat of a virus that has killed more than 205,000 Americans, said he and Mrs Trump were quarantining.

Mike Lee was captured hugging other attendees at the White House’s Rose Garden while not wearing a mask (C-Span)

The White House physician said Mr Trump is also expected to continue carrying out his duties “without disruption” while recovering. A White House official said Mr Trump was experiencing mild symptoms but was working from the White House residence.

Many White House and senior administration officials are undergoing tests, but the full scale of the outbreak around the president may not be known for some time as it can take days for an infection to be detectable by a test.

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are self-isolating  (Reuters)

Mr Trump was last seen by reporters returning to the White House on Thursday evening and did not appear visibly ill. He is 74, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from a virus that has infected more than seven million people nationwide.

The president’s physician said in a memo that Mr Trump and the first lady, who is 50, “are both well at this time” and “plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence”.

Mr Trump’s announcement came hours after he confirmed that Hope Hicks, one of his most trusted and longest-serving aides, had been diagnosed with the virus on Thursday.

Hope Hicks, centre, has also tested positive (AP)

She began feeling mild symptoms during the plane ride home from a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday evening, according to an administration official, and was isolated from other passengers aboard the plane.

Ms Hicks had been with Mr Trump and other senior staff aboard Marine One and Air Force One en route to that rally and had accompanied the president to Tuesday’s presidential debate in Cleveland, along with members of the Trump family. The Trump contingent removed their masks during the debate, in violation of the venue rules