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Trump's quarantine throws campaign schedule into limbo

With slightly more than four weeks to go until the U.S. presidential election, Donald Trump's positive test for the coronavirus has thrown his schedule into question, and possibly put his participation in the next scheduled debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Oct.15 in doubt.

Next presidential debate is set for Oct. 15 but could be in doubt

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Friday that he and his wife, Melania Trump, have tested positive for the coronavirus, leaving his schedule for the campaign leading to the Nov. 3 election uncertain. (Alex Brandon/The Associated Press)

With slightly more than four weeks to go until the U.S. presidential election, Donald Trump's positive test for the coronavirus has thrown his schedule into question, and possibly put his participation in the next debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden in doubt.

Trump announced his positive test via Twitter early Friday morning, saying he and his wife, Melania, who has also tested positive, would begin their "quarantine and recovery process immediately."

White House physician Sean Conley said in a memorandum that Trump and his wife "are both well at this time" and "plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence." A White House official later said the president was experiencing "mild symptoms."

No indication has been given for how long the Trumps plan to quarantine.

The White House released a new schedule for the president shortly after 1 a.m. ET Friday. Trump was due to attend a fundraiser and meet with supporters at his hotel in Washington, D.C., Friday afternoon, and then fly to a campaign rally in Sanford, Fla., in the evening, but those events have been cancelled.

Still on his schedule for Friday is a phone call on COVID-19 support to vulnerable seniors. That event is closed to the media.

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A key upcoming event will be the second of three presidential debates, which is slated for Oct. 15 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. If Trump remains in quarantine for two weeks, he may be forced to miss it.

The third debate is scheduled for Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville. 

Thus far in the election campaign, Trump has hosted many large indoor and outdoor rallies. According to his re-election campaign website, he was scheduled to hold two events on Saturday in Wisconsin, followed by events on Monday and Tuesday in Arizona.

WATCH l A look at Trump's week leading up to his positive test:

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"It's so early to kind of know what's going to happen but clearly it changes the dynamic from us being able to travel and show enormous energy and support from the rallies, which has been part of our calculation," a unnamed Trump adviser told Reuters.

With Trump prevented from holding large in-person rallies, Democrats appear set to try to capitalize on his absence.

"From now until we get to the election, attention is going to be back where it should be: on COVID, the president's response and the impact — and on health care," Democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright, a Biden supporter, told The Associated Press. "This proves our candidate was right all along." 

Biden plans to campaign Friday in Michigan, a key swing state.

With files from Reuters and The Associated Press

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