Trump preparing to leave hospital after Covid-19 treatment
Donald Trump says he is leaving the military hospital where he has been receiving an unprecedented level of care for Covid-19, saying that despite his illness the nation should not be afraid of the virus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans.
His doctor, Navy Commander Sean Conley, said the president would not be fully out of the woods for another week, but added that he had “met or exceeded all standard hospital discharge criteria”.
Mr Trump is expected to continue his recovery at the White House, where the scale of the outbreak that has reached the highest levels of the US government is still being uncovered
The president made a point of sounding confident, tweeting: “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. … I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
Dr Conley was also upbeat at an afternoon briefing and said the president could resume his normal schedule once “there is no evidence of live virus still present”. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, those with mild to moderate symptoms of Covid-19 should isolate for at least 10 days.
Mr Trump’s expected discharge raised new questions about how the administration was going to protect other officials. Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced she had tested positive for the virus on Monday morning and was entering quarantine.
There were also lingering questions about potential long-term effects to the president — and even when he first came down with the virus
Dr Conley repeatedly declined to share results of medical scans of Mr Trump’s lungs, saying he was not at liberty to discuss the information because the president did not waive doctor-patient confidentiality on the subject. Covid-19 has been known to cause significant damage to the lungs of some patients.
The physician also declined to share the date of Mr Trump’s most recent negative test for the virus — a critical point for contact tracing and understanding where he was in the course of the disease.
Mr Trump’s nonchalant message about not fearing the virus comes as his own administration has encouraged Americans to be careful and take precautions to avoid contracting and spreading the disease as cases continue to spike across the country.
For more than eight months, his efforts to play down the threat of the virus in hopes of propping up the economy ahead of the election have drawn bipartisan criticism.
Only a day earlier, he suggested he had finally grasped the true nature of the virus, saying in a video: “I get it.”
On Sunday afternoon, Mr Trump briefly ventured out of the hospital while contagious to salute cheering supporters by motorcade — an outing that disregarded precautions meant to contain the virus.
White House officials said he was anxious to be released after three nights at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre, where doctors revealed on Sunday that his blood oxygen level had dropped suddenly twice in recent days and that they gave him a steroid typically only recommended for the very sick.
Joe Biden said he is glad the president appears to have made a swift recovery, but noted that “our nation’s current crisis is far from over”.
The Democratic presidential nominee said: “I was glad to see the president speaking and recording videos over the weekend. Now that he’s busy tweeting campaign messages, I would urge him to do this: Listen to the scientists.”
Mr Trump is to leave the hospital after receiving a fourth dose of the antiviral drug remdesivir on Monday evening, Dr Conley said. He will receive the fifth and final dose on Tuesday at the White House.