President Donald Trump returned to the White House after three days at Walter Reed. He removed his mask on the steps of the balcony.
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump capped his return to the White House on Monday night with a video repeating his message to supporters urging them not to be afraid of the coronavirus.
“Don’t let it dominate you,” Trump told supporters in a video posted to Twitter. “Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it.”
Trump issued a similar message in an afternoon tweet, drawing criticism from people who said he was being too nonchalant about the virus that killed more than 200,000 Americans.
Trump also thanked the doctors, nurses, and first responders at the Walter Reed Medical Center, and said he has “learned so much” about the virus.
He also made something of a campaign push, saying “we’re the greatest country in the world” and “we’re going back to work. We’re going to be out front. As a leader I had to do that.”
“Get out there. Be careful. We have the best medicines in the world, and they’re all happened very shortly and they’re all getting approved, and the vaccines are coming momentarily,” Trump said in the video.
The president painted an optimistic view of his condition, saying that “now I’m better, and maybe I’m immune, I don’t know.”
Trump delivered the remarks, maskless, from the White House South Portico shortly after he arrived from Walter Reed Medical Center.
White House physician Sean Conley told reporters earlier on Monday that Trump would continue his treatment regimen at the White House, where he will receive “24/7 world class medical care.” The president will continue taking his five-day course of remdesivir, an antiviral drug, as well as the steroid dexamethasone.
President Trump’s doctor said Trump is not currently on oxygen, but would not say whether he ever received oxygen since his COVID-19 diagnosis.
Critics were quick to seize on his decision to remove his mask with members of staff nearby and just three days after he was admitted to the hospital with mild symptoms.
Doctors also pointed out that the president has access to some of the world’s best health care while many Americans lack access to COVID-19 testing.
Dr. Otto Yang, a professor of infectious disease at the University of California, Los Angeles, said “COVID-19 is something that is killing a lot of people” and is “definitely a threat to people’s overall health.”
COVID-19 can have long-term effects that really interfere with people’s quality of life, said Dr. Aaron Bunnell, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle who runs the post-COVID clinic there.
“The most common we’re seeing it ongoing fatigue and exhaustion. We’ve had a few patients that are three months out and they’re still really struggling to do their day-to-day activities,” he said.
“Some patients are also having other organ systems affected, inflammation of the structures around the heart and the heart muscle. In patients that are a little more severely affected I’m seeing evidence of nerve and muscle damage and we’re sometimes seeing really profound impairment of their ability to function.”
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