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Where Has Trump Been In The Last 2 Weeks?


Before his positive coronavirus test, President Trump had traveled throughout the country this week to Ohio, Minnesota and New Jersey. That's now launched a full-scale effort at contact tracing throughout the president's campaign stops. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: It's been a busy schedule for President Trump, who's been in full-fledged campaign mode despite COVID-19. Over the past two weeks, he's given numerous speeches, attended lots of meetings and held outdoor rallies in several locations, including at the Harrisburg Airport in Middletown, Pa., where the crowd chanted support for Trump's Supreme Court nomination.


UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting) Fill that seat. Fill that seat. Fill that seat. Fill that seat.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Thank you very much. And I love you, too.

CORLEY: Early this morning when the White House announced President Trump had contracted the virus, one of the most critical documents became the official White House schedule, an itinerary of where the president traveled to and who was around him. Mark Meadows, Trump's chief of staff, says the White House medical unit began the contact tracing process yesterday, starting with a look back. For example, on Monday, the president held two events at the White House, one to announce an administration effort to distribute millions of coronavirus test kits to states. Vice President Pence attended, as did some members of Congress and other officials. Pence and his wife tested negative for COVID-19 this morning.

Tuesday, at the debate with Vice President Joe Biden in Cleveland, neither wore masks on stage. The president has often downplayed mask-wearing, and even at the debate, he mocked Biden for often wearing his.


TRUMP: I don't have - I don't wear masks like him. Every time you see him, he's got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from it, and he shows up with the biggest mask I've ever seen.

CORLEY: Today the city of Cleveland announced it's aware of 11 people who were at the debate site who since tested positive for COVID-19. They went on to say they were mostly out-of-state residents who traveled to Cleveland to help with pre-debate planning and setup. Dr. Amy Edwards, who treats and studies infectious diseases at Cleveland's University Hospitals, says coronavirus could have been incubating in the president even then.

AMY EDWARDS: Now, whether or not he would have been contagious or not, you know, he did test negative just prior to the debate, but that was the rapid test. So I don't know that we can really rely on that test to say that he was definitely negative.

CORLEY: On Wednesday, the president traveled to Minnesota for a suburban fundraiser near the Twin Cities at a private residence before heading to a rally held on the tarmac at Duluth International Airport, where thousands of supporters attended, many reportedly not wearing masks.


TRUMP: Hello, everybody. Hello, Duluth.

CORLEY: The mayor of Duluth is urging all who attended to get tested. That's a similar message being sent by New Jersey's Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. Yesterday, the president held a fundraising event at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., where he was in contact with as many as 100 people. Gov. Murphy says he's hoping for a speedy recovery for the president and first lady, and he is encouraging everyone who attended the fundraising event to take full precautions.


PHIL MURPHY: Self-quarantine, everybody. Take yourself off the field. Wait five or seven days, probably in that range, and get tested. Even then, if you test negative, you really have to stay off the field for the full 14 days and probably would want to get tested again at the end of that period. The process for gathering information for case investigation and contact tracing has begun. And as far as we know, folks are cooperating, and we need them to.

CORLEY: Across the U.S., 205,000 people have died from coronavirus. At 74, President Trump is at risk for serious complications. Today the only event not canceled on Trump's official public schedule was a call to vulnerable seniors about COVID-19 support. Vice President Pence stood in for Trump on that call.

Cheryl Corley, NPR News.


Cheryl Corley is a Chicago-based NPR correspondent who works for the National Desk. She primarily covers criminal justice issues as well as breaking news in the Midwest and across the country.