- White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced on Monday she tested positive for coronavirus.
- Donald Trump’s chief of staff said that updates on the president leaving the hospital, where he is being treated for COVID-19, will come later on Monday.
- Joe Biden campaigns in Florida, a state key to a Trump victory.
- Early voting begins in California, Iowa, Maine, Montana and Nebraska.
- After the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court begins its 2020-2021 term with 29 days until the election on November 3.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US elections. This is Joseph Stepansky.
Monday, October 5:
13:00 ET – Melania Trump tweets ‘I am feeling good’
First Lady Melania Trump tweeted on Monday that she is “feeling good and will continue to rest at home”.
Upon announcing Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, the White House also said that Melania had contracted the virus. Officials said she had mild symptoms.
“My continued prayers for those who are ill or have a family member impacted by the virus,” she wrote.
12:30 ET – More White House staffers tests positive
US media has reported that Chad Gilmartin and Karoline Leavitt, both staffers in the White House press office, has tested positive for coronavirus.
ABC News reported that Gilmartin had tested positive, while Bloomberg News reported that Leavitt had tested positive. A reporter for Bloomberg also tweeted that additional mid-level staffers in the White House had tested positive.
12:00 ET – Biden says he is willing to debate Trump if experts say it is safe
Biden has said he is willing to participate in next week’s scheduled debate with Trump if health experts say it would be safe.
Trump’s medical team is weighing whether the president can leave the hospital later on Monday after being admitted last week for COVID-19.
Trump tested positive days after the first presidential debate, raising concerns Biden, who most recently tested negative on Sunday, may have been exposed.
11:30 ET – White House press secretary tests positive
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has said she has tested positive for COVID-19, days after Trump was diagnosed.
McEnany spoke briefly with reporters Sunday evening, but says that no members of the White House press corps spent enough time around her to be considered close contacts.
She says that she is beginning the quarantine process and “will continue working on behalf of the American People remotely”.
McEnany joins a growing number of people in Trump’s orbit to test positive for the coronavirus, including his campaign manager and several Republican Senators.
10:45 ET – Supreme Court begins 2020-2021 term
The US Supreme Court returned to work on Monday for the first time since liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, opening its new term as Senate Republicans pursued quick confirmation of Trump’s conservative nominee to replace her.
With eight justices rather than the usual nine, the court was hearing arguments in two cases on Monday, starting a term due to run through next June that includes several major cases including one that will decide the fate of the Obamacare healthcare law. Its last term ended in July.
At least at the outset of the term, the cases are being argued as they were at the end of the last term by teleconference because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Before the first argument began, Chief Justice John Roberts paid tribute to Ginsburg, calling her a “dear friend and treasured colleague” and sent “our condolences to her children, extended family and countless admirers.” Roberts said that a memorial service will at some point be held in the courtroom.
10:00 ET – Chief of staff: Trump ‘optimistic’ he will be released Monday
Mark Meadows, United States President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, told the Fox News channel on Monday that Trump was “optimistic” he could be released from the hospital on Monday.
“This is an important day as the president continues to improve and is ready to get back to a normal work schedule,” Meadows told Fox News on Monday morning.
He said determining whether Trump would leave the hospital will not happen until later in the day after the president is evaluated by his medical team.
The still-infectious president surprised supporters who had gathered outside the hospital on Sunday, driving by in a black SUV with the windows rolled up.
The trip was criticised by medical experts for potentially putting Secret Service agents and other personnel at risk.
09:30 ET – Biden heads to Florida
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will campaign on Monday in Florida, a state that is considered key to any path to victory for Trump.
Biden has received a boost from former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who has reportedly pumped $100 million to help Biden in the state. Nevertheless, polls have indicated a softening of support from Latino voters.
Biden will campaign in Miami and Boca Raton in a state considered the presidential election’s true bellwether.
Read more here about the largest battleground state in the US.
09:00 ET – Trump awake and tweeting in all caps
Trump was busy on Twitter early Monday, showing more activity on his favourite social media site than in previous days after he announced he had contracted the coronavirus.
Details on Trump’s health status remain murky, with contradictory messages coming from his doctors and the White House on Saturday.
On Sunday, it was revealed that Trump had been given oxygen at least once, on Friday, when his blood-oxygen levels dipped. He was then given dexamethasone on Saturday after a second dip.
The use of the steroid has led outside medical experts to suggest that Trump’s condition may be more serious than is being revealed, despite the president’s doctors saying on Sunday that he could be released as early as Monday.
Read all the updates from Sunday, (October 4) here.
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