Alex Brandon / AP
President Trump, who spent the weekend in the hospital being treated for COVID-19, made a theatrical return to the White House on Monday evening, disembarking Marine One and walking up the stairs to the South Portico entrance, where he turned. towards the cameras, removed his mask and gave his signature two thumbs up.
Earlier, a masked Trump had emerged from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he was receiving treatment, pumping his fist and raising his thumb while ignoring reporters’ questions.
In a White House video he tweeted later, the president seemed a little more circumspect about a virus he often downplayed, along with measures to stop its spread, such as wearing masks.
Trump thanked Walter Reed’s staff and said that during his three-night stay he had “learned so much about the coronavirus”.
“One thing is certain: don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You will beat him,” he said. “We have the best medical equipment. We have the best drugs. All newly developed. And you will beat it.”
“I went, I didn’t feel so good,” he said, but added that, “And two days ago, I could have left two days ago. Two days ago I felt great, as better than I have felt in a long time. I only said recently, better than 20 years ago. “
Trump’s doctor, Sean Conley, said he was cautiously optimistic about the president’s prognosis, but that medical staff needed to remain on guard for another week.
“For the past 24 hours, conditions for the president have continued to improve,” Conley told reporters at a press conference on Monday. “Has met or exceeded all standard criteria for hospital discharge.”
“While he may not be entirely out of the woods yet, the team and I agree that all of our assessments, and most importantly, his clinical status, support the president’s safe return home, where he will be surrounded by world-class medical care. worldwide, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week “.
The president’s treatment included the steroid dexamethasone and a five-day course of remdesivir. Dr. Brian Garibaldi told reporters on Monday that Trump would receive a fifth dose of remdesivir on Tuesday night at the White House and that he continues to receive a steroid.
Asked by a reporter if he had doubts about a possible worsening or reversal of the president’s conditions, Conley replied: “You are absolutely right.”
“This is why we all remain cautiously optimistic and on guard, because we are in somewhat uncharted territory when it comes to a patient who has received the therapies he has so early in the course,” Conley said.
“The first week of COVID, and especially days seven to ten, are the most critical in determining the likely course of this disease. Right now, the team and I are extremely pleased with the progress made by the president,” he said.
Trump tweeted earlier Friday that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus just hours after they entered quarantine following a positive test for White House adviser Hope Hicks. Since then, at least nine other members of Trump’s inner circle have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.
Critics said the Trump administration’s slow response to the growing pandemic – and mixed messages from the president about wearing masks – helped the virus take hold in the United States, where it spread rapidly. The first case in the United States was detected in January, and nearly 7.5 million Americans have since been infected, with more than 210,000 deaths from COVID-19, the highest of any country.
In Monday’s video, the president defended his actions regarding the pandemic, most notably his decision to open up the economy even though the disease showed no signs of waning.
“We are going back to work. We will be up front,” he said. “As your leader, I had to do it. I knew there was danger, but I had to do it. I stood out in front. I drove,” he said.
“No one who is a leader would not do what I did,” the president added. “And I know there’s a risk; there’s a danger. But that’s okay.”
“And now I’m better. And maybe I’m immune, I don’t know. But don’t let it dominate your lives. Get out. Be careful,” she said.