Donald Trump, who disclosed last Friday that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus, announced his intent to leave Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday and return to the White House.
Trump checked into Walter Reed on Friday evening, meaning his stay will have totaled just three days. The president’s medical entourage has offered incomplete and often contradictory details about his condition, with the only clear information offered being that he is receiving experimental, unproven treatments such as Regeneron’s antibody cocktail. He has also been administered the corticosteroid dexamethasone, a drug typically used in severe cases of covid-19. Outside medical experts consulted by Stat News were wary of upbeat accounts of the 74-year-old president’s health and energy.
For months, Trump has remained insistent that the coronavirus pandemic is exaggerated by Democrats He urged hasty reopenings of shuttered businesses and services, and mocked public health precautions like wearing masks. On Sunday evening, Trump briefly left the hospital while still presumably infectious to wave to his supporters from a hermetically sealed SUV. In his announcement on Monday, he urged the public to not let coronavirus “dominate your life.”
“I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M.”, Trump tweeted. “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!
At a press conference on Monday, White House physician Dr. Sean Conley wouldn’t give a straight answer as to whether Trump was still infectious or if he would quarantine in his quarters at the executive residence. Conley declined to offer specifics beyond stating Trump’s condition has improved and cited medical privacy laws when asked about whether Trump’s test results indicated any abnormalities.
Numerous White House personnel, as well as Republican politicians that have been in close contact with the president or his staff, have tested positive for the coronavirus since last week. A running list includes former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, presidential assistant Hope Hicks, 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien, Senator Thom Tillis, and Senator Mike Lee, Senator Ron Johnson, White House press office staffer Chad Gilmartin, White House communications aide Karoline Leavitt, and Trump body man Nick Luna. On Monday, the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, announced she had also tested positive.
Many patients with the novel coronavirus begin to feel better within several days of exhibiting symptoms but then experience a rapid relapse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website states that research has found those with mild to moderate covid-19 generally are not infectious more than 10 days after first exhibiting symptoms; if the White House’s timeline that Trump first felt ill on Thursday was correct, he could be expected to pose a transmission risk until at least Oct. 11. Some individuals with more severe cases may remain infectious for up to 20 days, according to the CDC.
Correction: 5:15 p.m. ET: This post originally misstated the president’s age. He is 74, not 76. We regret the error.