Trump announced early Friday on Twitter that he and first lady Melania Trump had received the diagnosis. They were tested shortly after it became known that Trump adviser Hope Hicks had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Before Trump's announcement, trackers spotted one E-6B Mercury flying along the East Coast, and another in airspace above Oregon on Friday morning, and suggested the move could be related to the commander-in-chief's diagnosis.
"There's been no change to DoD alert levels," Jonathan Hoffman, assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs said Friday in a statement.
"The U.S. military stands ready to defend our country and interests. There's no change to the readiness or capability of our armed forces. Our national command and control structure is in no way affected by this announcement," Hoffman said.
Hoffman noted that the timing of the takeoff of the E-6Bs was "purely coincidental."
The launch, he said, was "pre-planned" and not connected to anything Trump announced.
The U.S. Navy has a fleet of 16 E-6B Mercury aircraft, at least one of which is airborne at any moment, that carry special communications equipment to connect them with submarines carrying nuclear weapons.
The aircraft can function as nuclear command posts for use if ground-based command centers become inoperable, and often referred to as "Doomsday planes."
The U.S. Strategic Command concurred.
"I can confirm these flights were pre-planned missions," said Karen Singer, Strategic Command spokesperson on Friday.
The Pentagon also noted that Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley last met with the president on Sunday, and that both men were tested for the COVID-19 virus this week, with negative results.