As news of U.S. President Donald Trump’s positive COVID-19 test put investors in a risk-off mood and added to mounting uncertainties surrounding the looming election, U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday.
Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020
Trump will stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland for a few days, according to a White House spokesperson. According to the White House, the president will work from the hospital’s presidential offices out of “an abundance of caution.” Sources close to the matter have said that the president is experiencing a low-grade fever, according to reports.
President Donald Trump appeared in public Friday evening for the first time since being stricken by COVID-19, boarding his Marine One helicopter for a flight to a military hospital as the virus that has killed more than 205,000 Americans spread to the highest reaches of the U.S. government.
The White House said the visit of “a few days” to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was precautionary and that Trump would continue to work from the hospital’s presidential suite, which is equipped to allow him to keep up his official duties.
Trump walked out of the White House and gave a thumbs-up…
Earlier Friday the White House said Trump had been injected with an experimental antibody cocktail by the White House physician. The president’s physician said in a memo late Friday that Trump received a dose of an experimental antibody cocktail by Regeneron that is in clinical trials. Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley said Trump “remains fatigued but in good spirits” and that a team of experts was evaluating both the president and first lady in regard to next steps.
The first lady, who is 50, has a “mild cough and headache,” Conley reported, and the remainder of the first family, including the Trumps’ son Barron, who lives at the White House, tested negative… Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who was with him and many others on Saturday and has been on Capitol Hill meeting with lawmakers, also tested negative, the White House said.
President Trump was given a dose of Remdesivir at Walter Reed hospital on Friday as White House doctors recommended the antiviral drug to treat his COVID-19 infection:
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) October 3, 2020
Statement by President Trump’s physician, Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley:
In a statement late Friday, Regeneron confirmed Trump was provided the REGN-COV2 antibody cocktail as part of a “compassionate use request,” which is when the Food and Drug Administration allows for unapproved treatments to be made available to treat ill patients when no other treatment is available.
The company’s compassionate use program defines it as being intended for patients with serious or life-threatening conditions who do not have any viable or available treatment options, and are unable to participate in ongoing clinical trials.”
Trump is receiving a two-antibody combo drug that’s currently in late-stage studies from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. The company previously developed a successful treatment for Ebola using a similar approach.
It’s given as a one-time treatment through an IV.
Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said the drug was being given “as a precautionary measure,” and that Trump also was taking zinc, vitamin D, an antacid called famotidine, melatonin and aspirin. None of those have been proven to be effective against COVID-19.
Released earlier this week, the first data from a trial using Regeneron’s COVID-19 antibody cocktail is encouraging. The top dose of the treatment relieved symptoms more quickly than the placebo for patients not sick enough to be hospitalized.
The initial phase included 275 patients in the phased study. The most significant improvements were seen in patients who had not already mounted a natural response, the company said.
Jeanne Marrazzo, the director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told CNN the results appear “very promising.”
The company said the treatment is intended as a therapeutic substitute for a natural response to the virus. According to a news release, Regeneron said it is hoping to confirm their initial findings in a second group of patients.
“What I think is fascinating is that it shows that antibodies really matter and the antibody to the spike protein was really helpful, particularly when people made the antibodies themselves,” said Marrazzo. “Whether it’s antibody therapy or vaccine that target these proteins, it sounds like we are on the right track. I think that’s really encouraging.”
Tech shares weighed heaviest on the indexes, but the blue-chip Dow’s losses were mitigated by gains in economically sensitive cyclical stocks.
Despite Friday’s sell-off, the S&P and the Nasdaq both gained 1.5% on the week, while the Dow ended the session 1.9% higher than last Friday’s close.
Trump tweeted late Thursday that he had contracted the coronavirus and would be placed under quarantine, compounding the unknowns for an already volatile market. But stocks pared losses after the White House provided assurances that Trump, while experiencing mild symptoms, is not incapacitated.
In a reversal from recent sessions, market leaders Apple Inc, Amazon.com, and Microsoft Corp were the heaviest drags on the S&P and the Nasdaq.
MacDailyNews Take: Well, Apple shareholders expected a bumpy ride until the U.S. Election Day.