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Days after coronavirus hospitalization, Trump briefly leaves Walter Reed to salute supporters | News

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — Two days after being hospitalized with COVID-19, President Donald Trump declared, “I get it,” in a message to the nation Sunday before briefly leaving the hospital to salute supporters from his motorcade, a move that again showed his willingness to disregard basic precautions to contain the virus that has killed more than 209,000 Americans.

Hours earlier, Trump’s medical team reported that his blood oxygen level dropped suddenly twice in recent days and that they gave him a steroid typically only recommended for the very sick. The doctors also said his health is improving and that he could be discharged as early as Monday.



White House doctors: President Trump's blood oxygen level dropped twice recently

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — President Donald Trump’s blood oxygen level dropped suddenly twice in recent days, but he “has continued to improve” sinc…

“It’s been a very interesting journey. I learned a lot about COVID,” Trump said, standing in his hospital room in a video posted on social media. “I learned it by really going to school.”

He added, “I get it, and I understand it.”

Before the video was posted, the infected president cruised by supporters in his sealed SUV, windows rolled up, driven by Secret Service agents in protective gear who were potentially exposed to the disease that has swept through the White House in recent days.

“This is insanity,” tweeted Dr. James P. Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where Trump has been hospitalized since Friday evening.

“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die,” the doctor wrote. “For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater.”

Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign said the Democratic presidential nominee again tested negative for coronavirus Sunday. The results came five days after Biden spent more than 90 minutes on the debate stage with Trump. Biden had two negative tests on Friday, as well.

Trump’s doctors earlier in the day sidestepped questions about exactly when Trump’s blood oxygen dropped — an episode they neglected to mention in multiple statements the day before — or whether lung scans showed any damage.

It was the second straight day of confusion and 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.

Pressed about conflicting information he and the White House released on Saturday, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley acknowledged that he had tried to present a rosy description of the president’s condition.

“I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, that his course of illness has had. Didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction,” Conley said. “And in doing so, you

Trump Briefly Leaves Hospital for Drive-by Photo Op With Supporters

On Sunday, the president tweeted a video from Walter Reed medical center informing his supporters he would “pay a little surprise to some of the great patriots we have out on the street” outside the facility. In the segment, Trump also claims that he “learned a lot about COVID” and that “I get it, I understand it, and it’s a very interesting thing and I’m going to be letting you know about it.”



a group of people walking down the street: Getty Images


© Getty Images
Getty Images

Minutes after the video went up, news outlets began showing clips of the COVID-positive POTUS in an SUV with Secret Service members in extremely close quarters:

Judging from his comments in the video and the road trip he took afterward, the president clearly doesn’t understand the coronavirus as well as he thinks he does.

“He is not sending the right message [by] going in a car while actively viremic with COVID and receiving therapies,” Dr. Amita Gupta, the deputy director of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Clinical Global Health Education, told Intelligencer.

“We have been very strict with keeping all patients within their room in negative-pressure isolation and limiting the number of health-care workers interacting with patients with active infection,” the infectious-disease expert explained.

While Gupta said that wearing proper PPE and an N95 mask in the presence of a COVID-positive patient was an effective way to prevent transmission of the virus, she emphasized that “showing the country and the world that it is okay to be leaving the hospital, even for a short drive, is just not a message that should be sent.”

“We would not allow any of our hospitalized patients in the first seven days of their illness to move about unless they were being transferred to another medical institution,” she added, insisting that “nothing about this is a normal situation.”

Dr. James Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed and the chief of disaster medicine at the George Washington University’s Department of Emergency Medicine, put it even more bluntly in a pair of tweets on Sunday night:

That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack. The risk of COVID-19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play.

Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential “drive-by” just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.

While Trump will inevitably need an escort back to the White House after he is discharged, exposing Secret Service members for an unnecessary car-side pep rally demonstrates that his personal experience as a coronavirus patient has not watered down the negligence he has displayed all year.

Infectious Trump briefly leaves Walter Reed to greet fans as confusion continues over his health

Adding to the confusion about his status, Trump briefly left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda to wave to supporters from a motorcade, after releasing a video on Twitter thanking people who had gathered outside the facility.

“We’re getting great reports from the doctors,” Trump said in the video before promising a “little surprise” to his supporters. “It’s been a very interesting journey. I learned a lot about covid.”

At a news conference earlier Sunday, Trump’s medical team tried to clear up muddled picture it had created the previous day when White House doctor Sean Conley falsely suggested that Trump had not been given supplemental oxygen.

But Conley continued to evade directly answering specific questions about Trump’s health Sunday, even as he revealed that the president had been given dexamethasone, a steroid that is typically reserved for severely ill coronavirus patients needing oxygen. Conley openly admitted to withholding truthful information about Trump’s plummeting blood-oxygen levels Friday, indicating he did so to put a positive spin on the president’s improving condition.

“I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, that his course of illness, has had,” Conley said Sunday, explaining why he told reporters Saturday that Trump had not been given oxygen Friday. “I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction. And in doing so, you know, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true.”

Conley also announced that Trump’s oxygen levels had dropped again on Saturday. Asked if Trump had been administered supplemental oxygen as a result, Conley said that he did not know and would have to check with the nursing staff.

The episode continued what has been a days-long torrent of falsehoods, obfuscation, evasion, misdirection and imprecision from those surrounding Trump as he faces the greatest threat to a president’s health in decades. From the chief White House doctor to the president’s chief of staff, the inability to provide clear, direct and consistent information about Trump’s condition has been widespread since the coronavirus began rapidly circulating in the West Wing.

Trump, his doctors and White House aides sought to portray him as improving and largely unencumbered by the virus that has killed more than 209,000 Americans. White House aides emphasized that Trump was continuing to work while at Walter Reed, casting him as a triumphant warrior.

In the Twitter video, Trump said that he has spent part of his time at Walter Reed visiting wounded warriors and first responders without providing details about how those patients were protected against the president infecting them with covid-19. He also indicated that he understood the coronavirus better than medical experts after having contracted it.

“I learned it by really going to school — this is the real school. This isn’t the let’s-read-the-book school,” he said. “And I get it, and I understand it.”

The president donned a mask as he waved to a crowd of fans from inside a

Trump leaves hospital briefly to greet supporters outside

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — President Donald Trump declared, “I get it,” in a message to the nation Sunday evening before briefly leaving the hospital to greet cheering supporters from his motorcade, a surprising move that suggested that his health — and his understanding of the coronavirus — may be improving.

Hours earlier, the president’s medical team confirmed that his blood oxygen level dropped suddenly twice in recent days. But they also said he could be discharged as early as Monday.

“It’s been a very interesting journey. I learned a lot about COVID,” Trump said, standing in his hospital room in a video posted on social media. “I learned it by really going to school.”

He added, “I get it, and I understand it.”

At least one medical professional inside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where Trump has been hospitalized since Friday evening, questioned whether Trump had really learned anything.

“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity,” Dr. James P. Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed, tweeted.

Earlier in the day, Trump’s doctors revealed they gave the president a steroid treatment typically only recommended for the very sick. But they sidestepped questions about exactly when Trump’s blood oxygen dropped — an episode they neglected to mention in multiple statements the day before — or whether lung scans showed any damage.

It was the second straight day of confusion and obfuscation from a White House already suffering from a credibility crisis. And it raised questions about whether the doctors treating the president were sharing accurate, timely information with the American public about the severity of him condition.


Pressed about conflicting information he and the White House released on Saturday, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley acknowledged that he had tried to present a rosy description of the president’s condition.

“I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude of the team, that the president, that his course of illness has had. Didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction,” Conley said. “And in doing so, came off like we’re trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true. The fact of the matter is that he’s doing really well.”

The briefing outside the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center lasted just 10 minutes.

Medical experts said Conley’s revelations raised new questions about how ill the president was and are hard to square with the doctor’s upbeat assessment and talk of a discharge.

“There’s a little bit of a disconnect,” said Dr. Steven Shapiro, chief medical and scientific officer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Blood oxygen saturation is a key health marker for COVID-19