…Says he leaves hospital, ‘feeling really good’***
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday evening returned to the White House from hospital, three days after he was diagnosed with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Wearing a black mask and surrounded by Secret Service operatives, Trump walked out of the Walter Reed Military Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland, at 6:38 p.m. (11:38 p.m. Nigerian time).
Against expectations, the president did not answer questions from newsmen, who could be heard shouting questions at him.
He was driven in a motorcade to a helipad nearby from where the presidential helicopter, Marine One, flew him on a short trip back to the White House.
On arrival at the White House, he removed his mask, paused for a brief photoshoot during which he waved to the cameras before entering his official residence.
Shortly before leaving hospital, Trump tweeted that he was feeling much better and would be back on the campaign trail soon.
Four hours earlier, Trump had made a Twitter post in which he, again, downplayed the impact of the virus, and said he was feeling better than he did 20 years ago.
“I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good!
“Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs and knowledge.
“I feel better than I did 20 years ago!,” he said.
Briefing newsmen earlier in the day, the president’s physician, Sean Conley, expressed support for his move to the White House.
However, Conley was quick to point out that Trump was “not necessarily out of the woods yet”, adding that he was on “uncharted territory” in terms of his treatment.
Trump’s discharge from the hospital comes as more COVID-19 infections are reported among White House staff.
No fewer than 12 people close to the president – including White House Press a Secretary – Kayleigh McEnany, have tested positive for the virus.
The president had come under fire in the past for downplaying the pandemic, which has infected over 7.4 million people and led to more than 210,000 deaths in the U.S.
“He may not be entirely out of the woods yet,’’ Trump’s physician, Sean Conley, told reporters.
“But the team and I agree that all of our evaluations, and most importantly his clinical status, support the president’s safe return home, where he’ll be surrounded by world-class medical care.’’
The president has been at the medical centre outside Washington since Friday.
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said she had tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the latest in a growing cluster of people around Trump to be infected.
“I will begin the quarantine process and will continue working on behalf of the American people remotely,’’ McEnany said in a statement posted on Twitter.
She said she was not experiencing any symptoms and that no journalists were considered close contacts.
McEnany has been criticised in recent days for briefing reporters at the White House without wearing a face mask.
Trump’s top adviser, Hope Hicks, campaign manager Bill Stepien and his wife Melania have also been infected.
“I am feeling good and will continue to rest at home,’’ the first lady tweeted on Monday.
Trump tweeted nearly 20 times in the early morning, mostly about the Nov. 3 election.
His illness has thrown the campaign into a tailspin.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who resumed in-person campaigning on Monday, urged Trump to “listen to the scientists” as he returns home.
Biden, who has tested negative for the coronavirus repeatedly in recent days, said he would participate in the second presidential debate with Trump, scheduled for Oct. 15, if health experts deemed it appropriate.
During their update on the president’s health on Monday, doctors said it had been 72 hours since the president last had a fever and that his oxygen levels were normal.
Trump, 74, will receive a fourth dose of remdesivir, an antiviral drug, before leaving the hospital and a fifth and final dose on Tuesday evening in the White House, they said.
Some aspects of Trump’s coronavirus illness remain unclear.
His medical team again declined to reveal whether lung scans showed any damage.
Doctors have said the president’s oxygen levels dropped twice and he received supplemental oxygen at least once.
He had a fever, but the temperature was not disclosed.
Trump was on a steroid and also received an antibody cocktail.
Additional reports from dpa