Trump says he will leave hospital today despite coronavirus infection

President will defy medical and political advisers urging him to remain in hospital as he continues to take powerful drugs

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
@BennettJohnT
Monday 05 October 2020 20:16
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White House chief of staff Mark Meadows responds to Trump's hospital drive by
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Donald Trump announced he will leave a military hospital where he has been treated for coronavirus on Monday evening and return to the White House, telling Americans “don’t be afraid of Covid.”

“Feeling really good! 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 tweeted.

Mr Trump reportedly demanded to be airlifted back to the White House on Sunday, but his doctors told him he should remain under specialists’ care.

He has been receiving a five-day dose of an aggressive counter-Covid medication that experts say should be administered inside a medical facility. Some medical equipment is always at the executive mansion, but he was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre because it has state-of-the-art equipment and the ability for specialists to help treat him.

The president’s blood oxygen level fell to 93 for a second time on Saturday, causing alarm from his medical team, those doctors said Sunday.

He received supplemental oxygen on Friday, his personal physician Sean Conley said. He also suggested the president might have also had supplemental oxygen again during the level dip on Saturday.

Mr Trump also has been given a strong steroid to combat inflammation in his lungs, with physicians saying that, too, is best administered in a hospital.

But the president appears mostly focused on appearing strong, politically and physically. He does not like the optics, just 29 days from Election Day, of being in hospital while Democrats are on the campaign trail.

He ordered two US Secret Service agents to drive him outside the Bethesda, Maryland, hospital on Sunday evening so he could wave to supporters who had lined sidewalks outside the gates to root him on.

The president wrote “don’t be afraid” of the virus even though it has killed nearly 210,000 Americans.

During a series of recorded conversations with journalist Bob Woodward this year, he admitted to publicly downplaying the severity of the virus for much of the year. When pressed on his own words, Mr Trump contended he did so in order to “avoid a panic” and keep the country calm.

Only that many of his supporters followed his words. 

They shunned face-coverings even as experts announced the virus is mostly transmitted between humans through the air. They still refuse to social distance, packing bars and restaurants in many states.

Just last week, he mocked former Vice President Joe Biden during their first general election debate for wearing a mask in public.

"I don't wear face masks like him," Trump said of Biden. "Every time you see him he's got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away ... and he shows up with the biggest mask I've ever seen."

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