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President Trump released from hospital: three questions answered

How long should the president quarantine?

MINNEAPOLIS — President Trump's release from the hospital sent us searching for answers to three questions.

1) How long should someone with COVID-19 quarantine?

The Centers for Disease Control says:

  • 10 days from first symptoms appeared
  •  24 hours with no fever without the use of fever reducing medications
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving

Neither the president nor his doctor have shared when he first experienced symptoms.  

We do know, last Wednesday, Trump cut his Duluth rally well short of his usual length.

By Thursday, someone at a fundraiser in New Jersey described the president as lethargic.

That same night, he tested positive for COVID-19.

And Monday night – fresh out of the hospital and five days after the Duluth rally - Trump removed his mask on the White House balcony and walked inside.

2)  So, is the president still contagious?

Dr. Beth Thielen, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School and an infectious disease specialist offered this insight:

Typically after onset of symptoms it's about a week to 10 days is the longest we've been able to culture a virus from a person with uncomplicated COVID. Someone's probably most infectious around the time they're having their symptoms start and then tails off over time.”

The president's doctor cited HIPAA privacy rules in not releasing more information.

3) Does HIPAA even apply to a president?

There is no exemption in HIPAA privacy rules for presidents. But any patient, including the president, can give their doctor permission to discuss their health.  

That said, there's a long history of presidents withholding medical information from the public.

Woodrow Wilson hid symptoms of a stroke, Franklin Roosevelt kept secret the polio symptoms that put him in a wheelchair and John F. Kennedy kept from the public his bad back and Addison’s Disease.

A tradition that appears to be continuing.

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