President Donald Trump has tested negative for the coronavirus “on consecutive days,” White House physician Dr. Sean Conley revealed Monday, hours before the commander-in-chief is scheduled to host a rally in Florida. One week after Trump, 74, was released from Walter Reed hospital, Conley said the president has tested negative using the Abbot BinaxNow antigen card and “is not infectious to others.” As Trump boarded Air Force One on Monday for Sanford, Florida, he was photographed without a mask.
“It is important to note that this test was not used in isolation for the determination of the President's current negative status,” Conley wrote, adding other data was involved in the assessment. “Repeatedly negative antigen tests, taken in context with additional clinical and laboratory data, including viral load, subgenomic RNA, and PCR cycle threshold measurements, as well as ongoing assessment of viral culture date, all indicate a lack of detectable viral replication.”
The White House’s continued use of the Abbott rapid test has been repeatedly called into question, as it’s proven less reliable than other forms of testing and has produced a higher rate of false negatives. As previously reported by The Daily Beast, the antigen tests from Abbot Laboratories are known to be less accurate than laboratory tests that rely on a technique called PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, which is highly sensitive and requires a sophisticated laboratory for processing. Without that technique, the tests can miss infections.