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President Donald Trump returned to the White House after three days at Walter Reed. He removed his mask on the steps of the balcony.

USA TODAY

President Donald Trump rolled out of Walter Reed hospital confidently urging the nation not to fear the coronavirus despite experts warning the U.S. death toll, at more than 210,000, could almost double by year’s end.

Experts also warn that the commander-in-chief himself may not have seen the worst of the virus just yet.

“Don’t be afraid of Covid,” Trump tweeted hours before his release Monday following a three-day hospital stay. “Don’t let it dominate your life.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert who for months has exhorted the nation to wear masks and social distance, told CNN that, while not likely, Trump could still face “a reversal – meaning, going in the wrong direction and get into trouble.”

Those $100 “Trump Beat COVID” commemorative coins being offered by a White House-themed online gift shop could be too soon. The danger window can easily stretch to 10 days, said Dr. Mangala Narasimhan, an intensive care physician in New Hyde Park, N.Y. 

“Saying that he beat COVID now is extremely premature, especially for someone his age,” Narasimhan told USA TODAY on Tuesday. “He is not out of the woods yet.”

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Trump, 74, tweeted that the U.S., under his administration, has developed “some really great drugs & knowledge.” 

Dr. Lucy McBride, an internal medicine physician at Foxhall Internists in Washington, D.C., says professionals do know a lot more about the coronavirus today than they did in March but still don’t have drugs to prevent hospitalization and severe illness.

“We have a long way to go on therapeutics – drugs,” she said. “The best defense against the virus is our own behavior – masks, distancing, avoiding crowded spaces, and handwashing – as we buy time for drug development.”

White House physician Sean Conley said Trump would continue taking the antiviral drug remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone at the White House, where he will receive “24/7 world-class medical care.” The president tweeted that he feels better than “I did 20 years ago!”

That, Narasimhan said, could be the steroids talking.

“I am very worried that people will take this to mean that ‘If he can beat COVID I can beat COVID,'” said Narasimhan, senior vice president for critical care services at Northwell Health. “I don’t think that we can take any real lessons (from Trump’s illness) except that he did get sick. Pretending this is not real disease will not help.”

Much of the nation does not have “world-class” medical care. That is particularly true among lower-income Americans and people of color – those most at risk for poor outcomes from the virus.

Many underinsured Americans get sick but will never seek professional treatment, Narasimhan said. She said Trump had at least six doctors focusing on