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Families of COVID-19 victims slam president’s downplaying of his diagnosis

Hours before he was released from a hospital stay for his coronavirus diagnosis Monday, President Trump tweeted his thoughts on the pandemic that’s killed over 210,000 Americans, saying, “Don’t be afraid.”



President Donald Trump boards Marine One to return to the White House after receiving treatments for COVID-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Oct. 5, 2020, in Bethesda, Md.


© Evan Vucci/AP
President Donald Trump boards Marine One to return to the White House after receiving treatments for COVID-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Oct. 5, 2020, in Bethesda, Md.

On Twitter, supporters of the president praised his strength and hailed his message, calling him “Our beloved President” and “BEST PRESIDENT EVER!”

But for scores of families who’ve lost loved ones to the disease, as well as first responders and other advocates, the response was far different. Many of them slammed the president’s cavalier sentiment and warned that it could make the situation worse.

Brian Walter, a New York City transit worker who lost his father to the virus, told ABC News in a statement that Trump’s advice to people not to fear the coronavirus “hurts.”

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“It makes me worry for all the families who will still experience the loss of a loved one because our president refuses to take this pandemic seriously,” he said.



a close up of a green field: Empty chairs who represent a fraction of the more than 200,000 lives lost due to COVID-19, are seen during the National COVID-19 Remembrance, at The Ellipse outside the South side of the White House, Oct. 4, 2020, in Washington.


© Jose Luis Magana/AP
Empty chairs who represent a fraction of the more than 200,000 lives lost due to COVID-19, are seen during the National COVID-19 Remembrance, at The Ellipse outside the South side of the White House, Oct. 4, 2020, in Washington.

Walter is a member of the survivor network and advocacy group COVID Survivors for Change, which has been documenting the toll the pandemic has left on millions of Americans. On Sunday, the group installed 20,000 empty chairs on the lawn across from the White House to symbolize the nation’s COVID-19 deaths.

Chris Kocher, executive director of COVID Survivors for Change, said in a statement that he was taken aback by Trump’s tweet, given that he had the best health care and treatment in the world — a luxury that most coronavirus patients don’t have.

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Trump’s doctors told the press that he was given several medications including an antibody cocktail, remdesivir and steroids.

“For the long haulers living with symptoms of COVID-19 for months on end, this virus is terrifying. Trump doesn’t care, and he still doesn’t get what families are going through,” Kocher said in a statement.

Susan R. Bailey, the president of the American Medical Association, urged Americans to keep heeding warnings from doctors and health experts.

“We know vigilance is the best response to the COVID-19 pandemic because this virus doesn’t feed on fear; it feeds on complacency,” she said in a statement.

Liza Billings, a New York City nurse who lost her brother to the pandemic and is also member of COVID Survivors for Change, criticized Trump’s take

‘A slap in the face’: Families of COVID-19 victims slam president’s downplaying of his diagnosis

Advocates warn the president’s cavalier attitude could make the pandemic worse.

On Twitter, supporters of the president praised his strength and hailed his message, calling him “Our beloved President” and “BEST PRESIDENT EVER!”

But for scores of families who’ve lost loved ones to the disease, as well as first responders and other advocates, the response was far different. Many of them slammed the president’s cavalier sentiment and warned that it could make the situation worse.

Brian Walter, a New York City transit worker who lost his father to the virus, told ABC News in a statement that Trump’s advice to people not to fear the coronavirus “hurts.”

“It makes me worry for all the families who will still experience the loss of a loved one because our president refuses to take this pandemic seriously,” he said.

PHOTO: Empty chairs who represent a fraction of the more than 200,000 lives lost due to COVID-19, are seen during the National COVID-19 Remembrance, at The Ellipse outside the South side of the White House, Oct. 4, 2020, in Washington.

Empty chairs who represent a fraction of the more than 200,000 lives lost due to COVID-19, are seen during the National COVID-19 Remembrance, at The Ellipse outside the South side of the White House, Oct. 4, 2020, in Washington.

Empty chairs who represent a fraction of the more than 200,000 lives lost due to COVID-19, are seen during the National COVID-19 Remembrance, at The Ellipse outside the South side of the White House, Oct. 4, 2020, in Washington.

Walter is a member of the survivor network and advocacy group COVID Survivors for Change, which has been documenting the toll the pandemic has left on millions of Americans. On Sunday, the group installed 20,000 empty chairs on the lawn across from the White House to symbolize the nation’s COVID-19 deaths.

Chris Kocher, executive director of COVID Survivors for Change, said in a statement that he was taken aback by Trump’s tweet, given that he had the best health care and treatment in the world — a luxury that most coronavirus patients don’t have.

Trump’s doctors told the press that he was given several medications including an antibody cocktail, remdesivir and steroids.

“For the long haulers living with symptoms of COVID-19 for months on end, this virus is terrifying. Trump doesn’t care, and he still doesn’t get what families are going through,” Kocher said in a statement.

Susan R. Bailey, the president of the American Medical Association, urged Americans to keep heeding warnings from doctors and health experts.

“We know vigilance is the best response to the COVID-19 pandemic because this virus doesn’t feed on fear; it feeds on complacency,” she said in a statement.

Liza Billings, a New York City nurse who lost her brother to the pandemic and is also member of COVID Survivors for Change, criticized Trump’s take on the virus.

“I watched as medical teams fought like hell to save patients from COVID-19.

Doctors slam Trump’s drive to greet supporters outside Walter Reed hospital

  • In a video posted via Twitter on Sunday, Trump said he would “pay a little surprise to some of the great patriots that we have out on the street.”
  • Shortly thereafter, the presidential motorcade drove by the perimeter of the Walter Reed National Medical Center, with Trump seen through the window of an SUV wearing a face covering and waving to supporters.
  • “Traveling in a car with several staff members while still in isolation also poses a risk of infecting those other exposed passengers. There was no obvious justification for this action,” Michael Baker, an epidemiologist at the University of Otago in Wellington, New Zealand, told CNBC via email.



a passenger seat of a car: US President Trump waves from the back of a car outside of Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on Ocotber 4, 2020.


© Provided by CNBC
US President Trump waves from the back of a car outside of Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on Ocotber 4, 2020.

LONDON — President Donald Trump on Sunday briefly ventured outside Walter Reed hospital in a motorcade to greet cheering supporters, a move that doctors have condemned for flagrantly disregarding precautions designed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Trump, 74, has released a series of videos over the weekend to try to reassure voters that he is recovering after testing positive for Covid-19.

“It has been a very interesting journey. I’ve learned a lot about Covid,” Trump said in a video posted via Twitter on Sunday. The president also suggested he would “pay a little surprise to some of the great patriots that we have out on the street.”

Shortly thereafter, the presidential motorcade drove by the perimeter of the Walter Reed National Medical Center, with Trump seen through the window of an SUV wearing a face covering and waving to supporters.

Trump has repeatedly downplayed the threat of the pandemic, criticizing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as recently as last week for wearing a protective mask, even as the virus has infected millions of people and resulted in the deaths of more than 200,000 Americans.

“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,” James Phillips, doctor of emergency medicine at George Washington University, and an attending physician at Walter Reed hospital, said via Twitter on Sunday.

“Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity,” he said.

In a second tweet, Phillips added the risk of Covid-19 transmission inside the car was “as high as it gets outside of medical procedures,” saying the presidential SUV was not only bullet proof but hermetically sealed against chemical attack.

“The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play,” Phillips said.

In response to the criticism, White House spokesman Judd Deere told the Associated Press that Trump’s trip outside the hospital “was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.”

Deere added precautions were taken, including the use of personal protective equipment, to protect the president, White House officials and Secret Service