Trump's Positive Coronavirus Test Upends Campaign in Final Stretch

WASHINGTON — President Trump ’s announcement early Friday that he had contracted the coronavirus upended the presidential race in an instant, inviting significant questions about his cavalier attitude toward the pandemic and the future of his campaign just 32 days before the election.

As stock futures fell overnight Friday , strategists in both parties and even senior aides to Mr. Trump said the president would face a harsh judgment from voters for throwing the country into greater uncertainty after one of the most trying years in American history.

As for Mr. Biden, he said Friday morning in a tweet that he would “continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.’’ His top advisers said the former vice-president would maintain the same tone throughout the day and refrain from criticizing Mr. Trump.

While Biden aides are being careful to not appear publicly insensitive, they are suspicious that Mr. Trump had already contracted the virus by the time he delivered his caustic performance through Tuesday’s debate in Cleveland , a campaign official said Friday.

In the White House, advisers to the president acknowledged that the positive test would remind voters of how dismissive Mr. Trump had been about the virus, not only with his own neglect of safety but also in his overly rosy assessments about a pandemic that has killed more than 207,000 people in the United States.

Even on Thursday, after his close aide Hope Hicks was showing symptoms of the virus, Mr. Trump delivered remarks from the White House for the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in which he insisted falsely that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.”

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