Local health experts weigh in on President Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis, sound alarm about ongoing virus threat

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- President Donald Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis is sending shockwaves across America. Even local infectious disease experts said this is a wake up call.

"I think there's an opportunity for this White House to send a signal that if this president can get infected so can you," said Dr. David Wohl of UNC Health.

According to the Associated Press, Trump is experiencing mild symptoms after revealing early Friday that he and his wife, Melania Trump, tested positive for COVID-19.

RELATED: Pres. Trump tested positive for coronavirus. How serious is his health risk?

Trump spent much of the year downplaying the threat of the virus. Just this week, he criticized North Carolina's reopening strategy on the national debate stage.

"I think there's a message that can go out to those who have been skeptical of prevention measures that this is serious and we should really hit the reset button on this," Wohl emphasized.

After testing positive for the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends isolating for at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms. But Trump tweeted that he and the First Lady are "quarantining," and infectious disease experts said the distinction is key.

"Isolation is for people who have the infection. We isolate them so they do not infect other people. Contacts who we don't know whether they have the infection or not are quarantined," said Wohl.

During Isolation Wohl said patients should:
  • Watch for shortness of breath that increases over time.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Avoid ibuprofen and similar meds. Tylenol is OK.
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.