The Daily Telegraph
Don’t be afraid of Covid, says Trump
President dismisses concern for his health as he heads home after three days in hospital
DONALD TRUMP told Americans not to be afraid of coronavirus as he left hospital and returned to the White House last night.
Outside the Walter Reed Medical Center, Maryland, at 6.30pm local time, wearing a blue surgical mask, the president gave a thumbs-up to assembled photographers, only four days after he tested positive for Covid-19.
Shortly before being discharged, Mr Trump had tweeted: “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!”
The president added that he would be “back on the campaign trail soon”.
The remarks followed widespread US media reports that Mr Trump had been pushing his doctors to release him from hospital with the election less than a month away and speculation about his health dominating television news.
The tweet, in particular his call for Americans not to fear the virus, also indicated that Mr Trump appears ready to double down on his approach to the pandemic, which has been to push for reopenings to kickstart the economy.
However, questions were raised about the responsibility of releasing the president from his hospital in Washington DC when he was still suffering from the virus and taking a number of experimental treatments.
It also remains unclear exactly how Mr Trump would be operating out of the White House safely, given the scale of the outbreak there. Yesterday Kayleigh Mcenany, Mr Trump’s press secretary, and two other press officials became the latest aides to test positive for Covid-19.
Dr Sean Conley, the president’s physician, and a team of other doctors, took to the steps of the Walter Reed Medical Center to brief the press on the decision moments after Mr Trump tweeted it out. They said that the president had been fever-free for 72 hours, was not complaining about shortness of breath and his kidneys and liver were functioning as normal. Dr Conley said Mr Trump had met “all standard discharge criteria” and insisted the decision was safe.
However, he said that Mr Trump would “not entirely be out of the woods” for some time and would have to be monitored carefully until the start of next week. The doctors would also not say when it would be safe for Mr Trump to start campaigning again.
Dr Conley also disclosed information that cast light on the potential seriousness of Mr Trump’s illness. He said that the 74-year- old president had been given oxygen on Saturday as well as Friday when his oxygen levels dropped, and said that he remained on dexamethasone, a steroids treatment that is generally advised to be taken by patients with serious cases of Covid-19.
Mr Trump was expected to take a fourth dose of Remdesivir, an experimental drug, later last night and a fifth dose is planned to be administered today in the White House.
Dr Conley also declined to reveal the details of tests on the president’s lungs. Asked if any signs of pneumonia had been apparent, Dr Conley said he was “not at liberty to discuss” that topic – but did project an upbeat assessment of the state of Mr Trump’s illness, saying: “He’s back.”
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