First Lady Melania Trump arrives to the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 29, 2020. She later took off her face mask, flouting the venue's rules.
  • First lady Melania Trump did not visit President Trump in the hospital over the weekend because she was concerned she might infect hospital staff or members of her security detail, a White House official told NBC News.
  • Both the president and first lady tested positive for Covid-19 last week, with the president taken to the hospital on Friday.
  • The president is facing widespread criticism for taking a ride with Secret Service agents on Sunday to wave at his supporters. Covid-19 is highly infectious.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

First lady Melania Trump did not come out of Covid-19 isolation in the White House to visit President Donald Trump in the hospital because she was concerned about potentially infecting the Secret Service agents on her security detail, NBC News reported, citing an unnamed White House official.

"She has Covid," the official told the outlet, in explaining why she did not make the trip on Saturday.

"That would expose the agents who would drive her there and the medical staff who would walk her up to him," they said.

The first lady's behavior contrasts with that of her husband, who on Sunday evening left the Walter Reed medical center — where he has been staying for a few days — and took a ride in an SUV to wave at supporters.

One senior medic at the hospital described the move as "political theater" that endangered the lives of the Secret Service agents who accompanied him in the closed vehicle.

Covid-19 is highly infectious, and spreads most easily in indoor spaces where there is little circulation.

President Donald Trump waves as his motorcade drives outside Walter Reed medical center in Bethesda, Maryland, on October 4, 2020.

"Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential 'drive-by' just now has to be quarantined for 14 days," tweeted Dr. James Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed.

"They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity."

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Both President Donald Trump and Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19 last week, with the president announcing the results early Friday morning, and saying that he and the first lady would be isolating. 

The first lady tweeted on Friday that she was experiencing "mild symptoms" but still was "overall feeling good." The president's symptoms have been more severe.

Trump was admitted to Walter Reed on Friday after experiencing breathing difficulties, and contradictory accounts of the president's health have circulated since.

Despite still being highly contagious, Trump defied coronavirus isolation rules with the drive-by stunt, as he sought to portray himself as capable of fulfilling his presidential duties and to ward off rumors that his health is in the balance. 

Trump and top officials have long downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, and are continuing to do so despite the president's diagnosis.

The White House is also still not making wearing masks mandatory in the executive mansion, and Trump campaign official Jason Miller on Sunday continued to criticize Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, for observing stringent measures to slow the spread of the disease. 

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