KEY POINTS

  • It's unclear if Trump has been tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus
  • Pence said he doesn't know if Trump's been tested
  • Two GOP congressman who Trump was on contact with are in self-quarantine

President Donald Trump, a self-confessed germaphobe who hates it when someone sneezes in his presence, might have been exposed to the COVID-19 coronavirus by two of his loyal allies in the House of Representatives. Trump did attend a press meeting by the Coronavirus Task Force. 

The worry is Trump has attended fundraisers and rallies where he's shaken hands with hundreds of people. This means he might have been exposed to people that might have the coronavirus. Vice President Mike Pence, the president's coronavirus czar, doesn't know if Trump has been tested for the coronavirus. 

Speculation of Trump's exposure to the virus, which has infected more t han 113,000 people the world over, began after two of his close allies -- Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fl., -- went into self-quarantine on finding out they had been in direct contact with a fellow Republican now confirmed with COVID-19. Both congressmen claim they have no symptoms of the coronavirus. 

Collins shook hands with Trump last Friday when the president traveled to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Georgia en route to two days of golfing at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, while Gaetz flew back to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland with Trump on Monday.

Media reports said Gaetz learned shortly after the plane was airborne that both he and Collins had been in contact with a fellow Republican at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland in late February. Gaetz isolated himself from the others on the plane and sat in a section of the plane by himself. He announced he was entering self-quarantine about an hour after he got off the plane with Trump. Gaetz said he's been tested for the virus “and expects results soon."

On the other hand, Collins didn't confirm if he's been tested for the coronavirus. He also said he'd follow the recommendations of the House Physician and his office will provide updates as appropriate. But it is surprising that two staffers from his office have self-quarantined.

“This afternoon, I was notified by CPAC that they discovered a photo of myself and the patient who has tested positive for coronavirus,” said Collins.

“While I feel completely healthy and I am not experiencing any symptoms, I have decided to self-quarantine at my home for the remainder of the 14-day period out of an abundance of caution."

Dr. Ali Khan, a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the College of Public Health of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said there's no need for Trump to self-quarantine because of his contact with Gaetz and Collins.

Khan told CNBC that people need to self-quarantine if they have “direct contact with a confirmed infected person, not contact with a contact.”

There are three other members of Congress that have self-quarantined: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas., Rep. Paul Gozar, R-Az., and Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Calif., Trump keeps downplaying the seriousness of the coronavirus epidemic in private and keeps insisting it will be short-lived and will end in a couple of months.

US Representative Matt Gaetz led two dozen fellow Republicans into a secure meeting area where the latest witness in the Donald Trump impeachment investigation was to be deposed by lawmakers, a move that violated US House rules US Representative Matt Gaetz led two dozen fellow Republicans into a secure meeting area where the latest witness in the Donald Trump impeachment investigation was to be deposed by lawmakers, a move that violated US House rules Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / ALEX WONG