'Wake-up call': Dr. Patel explains implications of President Trump testing positive for COVID-19, what's next

"This is a massive message that's going to be heard all over the world about the seriousness of the virus," Dr. Patel said.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- President Donald Trump shocked the world late Thursday night, when he revealed that he and first lady Melania Trump both tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The president is often seen without a mask, prompting questions about whether or not this led to his contracting COVID-19.

RELATED: President Donald Trump, first lady test positive for coronavirus

Dr. Alok Patel joined ABC7 News to discuss this, and what the White House doctors need to do next.

He began by reminding us, "beyond the politics this is still a very serious medical condition."

Patel says he expects Trump's medical team will monitor this extremely closely with routine checks.

In addition, with how many people are around the president, in the White House, and on Air Force 1, contact tracers have a huge job on their hands.

RELATED: Face masks may reduce COVID-19 severity, UCSF study suggests

They will be working at a rapid pace, looking at anyone the president and first lady were in contact with in the past two days.

Potentially a lot of people, an "alarming amount" are going to need repeated testing and to go into quarantine, Patel says.

The first reports are that both President Trump and Melania are feeling well. However, because of Trump's age, he is in a high risk group.

As for the lack of mask-wearing sometimes seen by the president, "The last thing we want to do is blame the patient," says Patel. "But no one around the president was wearing a mask."

Patel says this is a "wake-up call."

"This is a massive message that's going to be heard all over the world about the seriousness of the virus."

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