Trump urges Americans to ‘get out’ after return from hospital

Reuters | AFP – October 06, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday appealed Americans to “get out there” and not be afraid of coronavirus after he returned to the White House following four days of treatment for COVID-19 in a U.S. military hospital where he was treated for COVID-19.

Trump, who went into hospital on Friday, was discharged on Monday evening from Walter Reed Medical Center near Washington, making the short helicopter ride to the White House where he is to continue his treatment.

Wearing a white surgical mask, Trump gave a thumbs-up and waved at reporters as he walked to the executive mansion from the helicopter from the Walter Reed Medical Center outside Washington.

He removed his mask, and posed for pictures, at times giving a thumbs-up or a salute.

Trump announced October 2 that he and his wife, Melania, had tested positive for COVID-19 via his Twitter account.

‘Don’t be afraid of it’

Leaving the military hospital earlier in the evening, he responded to a reporter’s question about how many people were infected at the White House by saying, “Thank you very much.”

The Republican president, running for re-election against Democrat Joe Biden in the November 3 U.S. election, was admitted to the hospital on Friday after being diagnosed with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

“Feeling really good!” he said on Twitter earlier. “Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”

Screenshot of U.S. President Donald Trump’s twitter.

In a video message released shortly after he returned to the White House from Walter Reed Medical Center, Trump appealed Americans to “get out there” and not be afraid of the coronavirus.

The U.S. president appeared mask-less and defiant in the video. “Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it,” Trump said. “We’re going back, we’re going back to work. We’re going to be out front … Don’t let it dominate your lives. Get out there, be careful.”

The disease has killed more than 1 million people worldwide and more than 209,000 in the United States alone, the highest death toll of any country.

Biden on Monday castigated Trump for his astonishing remarks made even after the president tested positive for the coronavirus. “Tell that to the 205,000 families who lost somebody,” said Biden, who faced Trump on stage in their roller-coaster debate last Wednesday, just two days before the president announced his positive diagnosis.

With less than a month until the election day, polls show Trump behind Biden and left scrambling even harder by his hospitalization to catch up.

The return to the White House was minutely stage managed to show he is physically fit, while a series of striking tweets demonstrated Trump’s coming angle of political attack – that he personally beat COVID-19 and will now lead the country to its own comeback.

Marine One carrying U.S. President Donald Trump lands at the White House upon his return from Walter Reed Medical Center, Washington, D.C., U.S., October 5, 2020. /AFP

Conflicting information

“Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!!” he said in one tweet. “Don’t be afraid of COVID,” he said in another, claiming to be feeling rejuvenated after his illness.

The 74-year-old U.S. president’s display of bravado came the same day as his own chief spokeswoman tested positive for the virus – the latest in an outbreak raging within the White House. And despite his claims to be in good health again, a combination of White House secrecy, conflicting information from officials and the viral spread among his own circle, damaged his credibility.

Trump has not had a fever in more than 72 hours and his oxygen levels are normal, his medical team said. The doctors declined, however, to discuss any toll the disease could have on the president’s lungs or disclose when Trump last tested negative for the coronavirus, adding that the president had received supplemental oxygen twice in recent days.

“He may not entirely be out of the woods yet,” Dr. Sean. P. Conley, the White House physician, said. “If we can get through to Monday with him remaining the same or improving, better yet, then we will all take that final, deep sigh of relief.”But Conley said the medical team believed Trump was ready to leave the hospital, stressing he would have world-class medical care around the clock at the White House.

Conley said doctors were in “uncharted territory” because Trump had received certain therapies so early in the course of the illness.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, echoed Conley’s remarks during an interview with CNN, suggesting there might be a “reversal” in Trump’s COVID-19 disease progression.

“I’m not involved in his primary care,” Fauci told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Monday night. “But the issue is that he’s still early enough in the disease that it’s no secret that if you look at the clinical course of people sometimes, when you’re five to eight days in, you can have a reversal,” Fauci said.

“Reversal meaning going in the wrong direction and getting into trouble,” Fauci was quoted as saying.

U.S. Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, speaks to the media about U.S. President Donald Trump’s health at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S., October 4, 2020. /Reuters

White House cluster

Spread inside the White House continues as Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany became the latest to announce a positive test result Monday.

Let’s take a look at who has tested positive so far.

Hope Hicks, advisor to Trump, announced her results October 2, shortly before Trump. She traveled with the president to and from Virginia, prior to testing positive for the virus.

Ronna McDaniel, Republican National Convention chairwoman, announced the results October 2. McDaniel attended a fundraiser with the president at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. She interacts frequently with Trump and other top Republican politicians.

Mike Lee, Utah senator, announced his infection October 2. He met with the president, first lady and others at the White House as part of Supreme Court Justice candidate Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination ceremony. Lee is a member of the Judiciary Committee behind the hearings for Barrett’s nomination.

Hope Hicks walks to Air Force One to depart Washington with President Donald Trump and other staff on campaign travel to Minnesota from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., September 30, 2020. /Reuters

Thom Tillis, North Carolina senator, tested positive on October 2. He attended the Barrett SCOTUS  nomination ceremony and is also a member of the Judiciary Committee overseeing her nomination.

Bill Stepien, Trump campaign manager, tested positive on October 2. POLITICO reports, campaign advisors say Stepien will maintain control over the campaign while working remotely.

John I. Jenkins, University of Notre Dame president, announced his positive COVID-19 results on October 2. He attended Barrett’s SCOTUS nomination ceremony. In a letter to his students Jenkins wrote, “I regret my error of judgment in not wearing a mask during the ceremony and by shaking hands with a number of people in the Rose Garden.”

Chris Christie, former New Jersey governor, attended a White House meeting with SCOTUS nominee Barrett, the president, the first lady and others, including two senators that also tested positive. Christie posted his results to Twitter on October 3. On the same day, he checked himself into a hospital as a precautionary measure. In a May interview with CNN, Christie pushed for reopening the U.S., saying, “Of course, everybody wants to save every life they can – but the question is, towards what end, ultimately?” He said, “Are there ways that we can… thread the needle here to allow that there are going to be deaths, and there are going to be deaths no matter what?”

Nicholas Luna, assistant to the president, tested positive October 3. He works closely with the president and accompanies him throughout the day and night.

Kellyanne Conway, former White House counselor, tested positive on October 5. She attended Barrett’s SCOTUS nomination ceremony at the White House. Her daughter, Claudia Conway has also tested positive.

Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary, said on Twitter on October 3 that she had tested positive for COVID-19 while experiencing no symptoms. Two of her deputies, Chad Gilmartin and Karoline Leavitt, also tested positive.


(U.S. President Donald Trump salutes upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., U.S., October 5, 2020. /Getty)

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