President Trump says he will leave Walter Reed Medical Center and return to the White House late Monday afternoon, downplaying the seriousness of a deadly virus days after he was given supplemental oxygen. The move endangers himself, his staff, and the millions of Americans who will heed his latest call to dismiss the severity of the virus.
“I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M,” the president 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!”
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. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2020
“I think it’s really dangerous for for President Trump to be saying that we shouldn’t fear Covid,” Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist who serves on the faculty at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University, tells Rolling Stone. “On one hand, I agree that we shouldn’t be ruled by fear. But we also need to respect that this is a deadly infectious disease, and I feel like the tone of that tweet really downplayed the seriousness of Covid.”
Trump was admitted to the Washington, D.C.-area hospital Friday evening after he tweeted that morning that he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19. Since then, conflicting reports have emerged about the status of the president’s health, and White House physician Sean Conley has refused to answer basic questions about Trump’s oxygen level and what kind of treatment he is receiving.
But as Trump indicated by citing the “really great drugs,” that have been developed, he has been undergoing some experimental treatment to combat the virus. Doctors have confirmed the president is taking an antiviral drug called remdesivir, a corticosteroid drug called dexamethasone, as well as an experimental antibody cocktail. “One of the effects of dexamethasone is euphoria and a feeling of invincibility,” “I wonder a little bit if that’s not behind some of some of this, saying that he’s feeling better than he has in 20 years.”
Based on the typical timetable of the virus and the public information about Trump’s case of it, he is likely to be extremely contagious.
Despite his condition, Trump briefly left Walter Reed on Sunday to wave to supporters who had congregated outside of the hospital. According to The Washington Post, the impromptu excursion came after the president complained about being bored. According to The New York Times, Trump wanted to leave the hospital on Sunday, but doctors insisted he stay put. The car ride, which endangered the Secret Service staff in the vehicle, was a compromise.
On Monday, CNN’s Dana Bash reported that, despite warnings of the impact it could have on both his health and his reelection chances, Trump on phone calls made from the hospital said, “I need to get out of here.”
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