The President and Hicks have travelled together on Air Force One multiple times over the last week, including to attend the disastrous opening presidential debate against Joe Biden on Tuesday night.
But while Hicks at 31-years-old is considered a low risk patient, at 74 years of age, Trump faces a much higher chance of being hospitalized with the virus, and falling victim to its harshest symptoms.
According to CDC statistics, patients between the ages of 65-74 are five times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than someone aged 18 to 29.
Patients in the elder category are also 90 times more likely to die in comparison to their younger counterparts.
At 74 years of age, Trump faces a much higher chance of being hospitalized with the virus, and falling victim to its harshest symptoms.
According to CDC statistics, patients between the ages of 65-74 are five times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than someone aged 18 to 29. Patients in the elder category are also 90 times more likely to die in comparison to their younger counterparts
For every 1,000 people in their mid-seventies or older who are infected by COVID-19, around 116 will die – a fatality rate of 8.6 percent.
Trends in coronavirus deaths have been clear since early in the pandemic, with studies determining that age is by far the strongest predictor of an infected person’s risk of dying — a metric known as the infection fatality ratio (IFR), which is the proportion of people infected with the virus, including those who didn’t get tested or show symptoms, who will die as a result.
‘COVID-19 is not just hazardous for elderly people, it is extremely dangerous for people in their mid-fifties, sixties and seventies,’ Andrew Levin, an economist at Dartmouth College told Nature.com.
Levin predicted that getting COVID-19 is more than 50 times more likely to be fatal for a 60-year-old than driving a car.
But Henrik Salje, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge, UK, said ‘age cannot explain everything’, as gender also said to be a strong risk factor – with men twice more likely to die from the virus than women.
Salje’s conclusions are supported by figures from the World Health Organization and Chinese scientists have revealed that 1.7 percent of women who catch the virus will die compared to 2.8 percent of men, even though neither sex is more likely to catch it.
For every 1,000 people in their mid-seventies or older who are infected by COVID-19, around 116 will die – a fatality rate of 8.6 percent
The differences in the male and female immune-system response may explain the divergent risks, according to Princeton University demographer, Jessica Metcalf.
Metcalf believes the female immune system might have an edge by detecting pathogens slightly earlier.
The immune system may also explain the risk of older people being at much higher risk of dying from the virus.
As people get older, the body develops low levels of inflammation, and COVID-19 may be pushing the already overworked immune system over the edge, Metcalf says.
Metcalf added that most of the worst outcomes for people with coronavirus tend to be associated with a ramped-up immune system.
So far in the US, 7.31 million Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus and more than 208,000 have so far died – a fatality rate of around 2.9 percent.
Worldwide, positive cases have reached an estimated 34.2 million, with 23.7 million recovered and more than 1 million killed.
The president and Melania were found to have contracted COVID-19 just hours after top aide Hope Hicks tested positive (seen right)
News of Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis came just hours after Hicks was confirmed to have the virus.
Hicks is said to have first felt unwell returning from a rally in Minnesota on the president’s plane Wednesday evening. She was quarantined away from others on the plane and her diagnosis was confirmed Thursday, according to an administration official, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Trump then continued with his schedule Thursday and traveled to and from his Bedminster, New Jersey golf resort to take part in two campaign events. He flew back to the White House this evening, when it was publicly confirmed Hicks had the virus.
His social media director Dan Scavino and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who were originally set to join him on the Thursday trip, were replaced at the last minute by other aides.
A statement from the White House doctor said both the president and first lady are ‘well at this time’ but did not say if either have symptoms.
First lady Melania tweeted: ‘As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.’
Multiple White House staffers have tested positive for the virus, including Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, and one of the president’s personal valets.
Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is dating Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., tested positive in South Dakota before an Independence Day fireworks show at Mount Rushmore.
After earlier positive cases close to the president, the White House instituted a daily testing regimen for the president’s senior aides.
Others who will be in close proximity to the president and vice president, including reporters, are also tested every day.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 quarantine for 14 days, White House staffers are considered essential workers.
CDC’s guidelines for exposed essential workers allows them to return to work if they take precautions, including taking their temperature before going into work, wearing a mask at all times and practicing social distancing.
Even if Trump tests negative within the next 14 days, he will almost certainly be unable to attend upcoming rallies in three key states – Wisconsin, Florida and Arizona – as well as the next presidential debate, which is slated for 15 October.
If at any stage Trump becomes too ill to lead the country Vice President Mike Pence will be placed in charge. If Pence is also incapacitated, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would likely be the next in command.
Trump, the White House and his campaign have flouted other CDC guidelines and recommendations from public health officials, and largely refused to wear masks or practice social distancing.