Barron Trump’s positive test for COVID-19 has become part of his father’s push to physically reopen schools.
“It happens,'' President Donald Trump told a crowd at a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa of his 14-year-old son testing positive for the coronavirus. "People have it, and it goes. Get the kids back to school. We’ve got to get them back to school.”
An outbreak of the virus in the White House that infected the President, first lady Melania Trump and other White House insiders has raised concerns that thousands may have been exposed to COVID-19 through Trump's inner circle.
Trump has repeatedly sought to minimize the impacts of the outbreak and the virus itself. On Monday, Trump turned his first campaign rally since contracting COVID-19 into a defiant defense of his handling of the pandemic that has killed 215,000 Americans.
Of Barron Trump testing positive for the coronavirus, the president also said, "I don’t even think he knew he had it because they’re young and their immune systems are strong and they fight it off 99.9 percent. And Barron is beautiful, and he’s free, free.”
Melania Trump said Wednesday that after an initial negative test, 14-year-old Barron Trump tested positive for COVID-19, but is now negative.
"My fear came true when he was tested again and it came up positive," she said. "Luckily he is a strong teenager and exhibited no symptoms. In one way I was glad the three of us went through this at the same time so we could take care of one another and spend time together. He has since tested negative."
While children are at a lower risk for severe COVID-19 complications, growing evidence shows they are not immune and may play a role in community spread.
The process of reopening schools has become a national flashpoint, with some teachers unions being among the most vocal critics of Trump's push to reopen schools.
In Florida, many teachers and families feared a spike in COVID-19 cases when the state made the controversial move to reopen schools in August with in-person instruction.
But a USA TODAY analysis shows the state’s positive case count among kids ages 5 to 17 declined through late September after a peak in July. Among the counties seeing surges in overall cases, it’s college-age adults – not schoolchildren – driving the trend, the analysis found.
The early results in Florida show the success of rigorous mask wearing, social distancing, isolating contacts and quick contact tracing when necessary, health experts said.
Contributing: Joshua Bote, Jessica Flores, Andrea Mandell, Jayme Fraser, Mike Stucka, Emily Bloch, Rachel Fradette, Sommer Brugal and Adrianna Rodriguez; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump uses Barron's COVID test to push for school reopening