BETHESDA, Md. — President Donald Trump said Monday he’s leaving the military hospital where he has been treated for COVID-19 and will continue his recovery at the White House. He said he’s feeling good and despite his attack the nation should not be afraid of the virus that has killed more than 209,000 Americans.
Trump’s expected return comes after he has received an exceptionally aggressive course of treatment and a standard of care well above what is available to average Americans. His doctor, Navy Cdr. Sean Conley, said the president would not be fully out of the woods for another week, but he said Trump had “met or exceeded all standard hospital discharge criteria.”
Conley repeatedly declined to share results of medical scans of Trump’s lungs, saying he was not at liberty to discuss the information because Trump did not waive doctor-patient confidentiality on the subject. COVID-19 has been known to cause significant damage to the lungs of some patients. Conley also declined to share the date of Trump’s most recent negative test for the virus — a critical data point for contact tracing and understanding where Trump was in the course of the disease.
Trump himself made a point of sounding confident. He tweeted, “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. ... I feel better than I did 20
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 can be contagious for as many — and should isolate for at least — 10 days.
Trump’s expected discharge raised new questions about how the administration was going to protect other officials from a disease that remains rampant in the president’s body, and came as the scale of the outbreak at the White House itself is still being uncovered. Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced she had tested positive for the virus Monday morning and was entering quarantine.
She spoke briefly with reporters Sunday evening without wearing a mask, but said that no members of the White House press corps spent enough time around her to be considered close contacts.
Trump’s nonchalant message about not fearing the virus comes as his own administration has encouraged Americans to be very careful and take precautions to avoid contracting and spreading the disease as cases continue to spike across the country.
Trump’s experience with the disease has been dramatically different from most Americans, who do not have access to the same kind of monitoring and care. While most must cope with their symptoms — and fear of whether they’ll take a turn for the worse — at home and alone, Trump has been staying in the presidential suite of one of the nation’s best hospitals and has been given experimental drugs not readily available to the public. He returns to the White House where there is a team of doctors on call with 24-hour monitoring.
While Trump’s physician offered a rosy prognosis on his condition, his briefings lacked basic information, including the findings of lung scans, or were quickly muddled by more serious assessments of the president’s health by other officials.
Trump’s doctors sidestepped questions on Sunday about exactly when his blood oxygen dropped — episodes they neglected to mention in multiple statements the day before — or whether lung scans showed
It was the second straight day of obfuscation from a White House already suffering from a credibility crisis. And it raised more doubts about whether the doctors treating the president were sharing accurate, timely information with the American public about the severity of his condition.
Even before Trump’s motorcade outing on Sunday, some Secret Service agents had expressed concern about the lackadaisical attitude toward masks and social distancing inside the White House, but there isn’t much they can do, according to agents and officials who spoke to The Associated Press. This close to the election, thousands of agents are engaged on protective duty so they can be subbed out quickly should someone test positive.
According to CDC guidelines, in general, transport and movement of a patient with suspected or confirmed infection of the virus that causes COVID-19 “outside of their room should be limited to medically essential purposes.”
The disclosures about Trump’s oxygen levels and steroid treatment suggested the president is enduring more than a mild case of COVID-19.