Donald Trump has suggested he may be "immune" from coronavirus in a video released shortly after he had arrived back at the White House after being treated for the disease at Walter Reed Medical Centre.
The president posted a video on Twitter urging Americans: “Don’t let it dominate you, don’t be afraid of it – you’re going to beat it.”
He was speaking on a day when the US death toll from Covid-19 reached 210,000, with almost 7.5 million infections.
He added: "You’re going to beat it. I went – I didn’t feel so good – and two days ago, I could have left two days ago. Two days ago I felt great, like better than I have in a long time. I said just recently, better than I did 20 years ago.
"Don’t let it dominate, don’t let it take over your lives, don’t let that happen. We have the greatest country in the world.
"We’re going back, we’re going back to work, we’re going to be out front.
"As your leader I had to do that – I knew there’s danger to it but I had to do it. I stood out front, I led. Nobody who’s a leader would not do what I did. And I know there’s a risk, there’s a danger but that’s OK.
“And now I’m better and maybe I’m immune, I don’t know. But don’t let it dominate your lives. Get out there. Be careful. We have the best medicines in the world. and it all happened very shortly and they’re all getting approved and the vaccines are coming momentarily.”
The president had made a dramatic return to the White House minutes earlier.
Having walked out of Walter Reed Medical Center following two days of treatment – and with doctors warning he may not be “out of the woods yet” – he was flown back to the White House aboard Marine One before walking up to the Truman balcony, removing his face mask and giving a prolonged salute.
Still maskless, he walked into the room behind him where several staff appeared to be waiting.
Since being flown to Walter Reed on Friday evening, Mr Trump has been treated with drugs including the steroid dexamethasone, the antiviral drug remdesivir and several monoclonal antibodies still to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration to fight the coronavirus. He will continue to be treated with dexamethasone.
Mr Trump was twice put on supplemental oxygen.
The coronavirus appeared to have torn through the White House in recent days. Along with the president and the First Lady, staff including counselor Hope Hicks and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany were revealed to have been infected. Republican senators Thom Tillis, Mike Lee and Ron Johnson also tested positive.
A White House event to introduce Amy Coney Barrett as Mr Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court seat left open following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg was increasingly being seen as a super-spreader event.
Democratic New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez hit back at the president’s repeated calls to not be afraid of the virus.
He tweeted: “'Don't be afraid’? I wish every American had access to the same health care you're getting – but they don't. People in New Jersey not only fear #COVID19, they fear what will happen if you and McConnell ram through your #SCOTUS nom and rip away their health coverage.”
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies