Oct. 5 (UPI) — President Donald Trump tweeted that he will leave the hospital on Monday evening after three days of treatment for COVID-19.
“I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M.” the president said Monday on Twitter at 2:37 p.m. Eastern time. “Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. “I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
The president urged his supporters not to fear the coronavirus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans and sickened more than 7.45 million people.
“Don’t be afraid of COVID,” Trump tweeted. “Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge.”
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told Fox News on Monday that Trump’s health improved overnight. He also said Trump is ready to get back “to a normal working schedule.”
Trump made a surprise excursion Sunday evening outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where was admitted Friday for treatment of COVID-19. He wore a cloth mask while sitting in the back seat of an SUV and waved at cheering supporters around the hospital. At least two people were seen in the car with him.
Doctors criticized the trip as careless and said it flagrantly flouted precautions designed to contain the coronavirus.
“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,” Walter Reed attending physician Dr. James Phillips, who is also a doctor of emergency medicine at George Washington University, tweeted.
“Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”
“That presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack,” he wrote in another post. “The risk of COVID-19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding.”
The Washington Post reported that current and former Secret Service officials criticized the drive, as well as Trump aides.
Trump announced his diagnosis early Friday and he was flown the hospital later that evening aboard Marine One. White House physician Dr. Sean Conley told reporters Sunday Trump has shown improvement.
The White House dismissed concerns about Trump’s motorcade drive outside the hospital, saying it had been cleared by medical staff.
“Appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the president and all those supporting it, including PPE,” spokesman Judd Deere said. “The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.”
Doctors said Sunday the president could be moved back to the White House as early as Monday. But Conley acknowledged the president’s oxygen levels had dropped twice since Friday and that he’d been treated with the powerful steroid dexamethasone, which is recommended only for COVID-19 patients who need oxygen, including those on ventilators.
Administering the drug risks a systemic inflammatory response that can lead to lung injury