The United States President Donald Trump was in a military hospital on Saturday for treatment after testing positive for COVID-19
This is coming as an extraordinary development that upended the presidential race a month before the Nov. 3 election.
In less than 24 hours after he made his diagnosis public, Trump was seen walking slowly from the White House to a waiting helicopter to be taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
He wore a mask and business suit and did not speak to reporters.
“I think I’m doing very well, but we’re going to make sure that things work out,” Trump said in a brief video message posted on Twitter.
President Trump had tweeted early Friday that he and the first lady, Melania Trump, had contracted the virus.
He will work in a special suite at the hospital for the next few days as a precautionary measure, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.
Online video showed a small group of Trump supporters outside Walter Reed late on Friday waving Trump 2020 flags, most not wearing masks.
Trump, 74, has a mild fever, according to a source familiar with the matter.
White House doctor Sean P. Conley said late on Friday that Trump was doing very well, did not need supplemental oxygen, and had received a first dose of Remdesivir, an intravenous antiviral drug sold by Gilead Sciences Inc that has been shown to shorten hospital stays.
The diagnosis was the latest setback for the Republican president, who is trailing Democratic rival Joe Biden in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Trump has played down the threat of the coronavirus pandemic from the outset, even as the disease has killed more than 200,000 Americans and hammered the US economy.
The diagnosis was the latest setback for the Republican president, who is trailing Democratic rival Joe Biden in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election
Trump has played down the threat of the coronavirus pandemic from the outset
A number of other prominent Republicans also tested positive on Friday, including former White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway and Republican senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis.
Vice President Mike Pence, who would take over presidential duties if Trump became severely ill, tested negative, a spokesman said.
The former Indiana governor, 61, is working from his own residence several miles from the White House.
Trump is at high risk because of his age and weight though has remained in apparent good health during his time in office, but is not known to exercise regularly or to follow a healthy diet.
Conley said earlier on Friday that Trump has received an experimental treatment, Regeneron’s REGN-COV2, one of several experimental COVID-19 drugs known as monoclonal antibodies, which are used for treating a wide range of illnesses.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, joining well-wishers at home and abroad, sent a message to Trump and his wife on Saturday, wishing them a speedy recovery, Chinese state television reported.
UK PM Boris Johnson says ‘resilient’ Trump will make strong recovery.
With just 31 days to go until Election Day, Trump’s campaign said it would postpone rallies and other events where he was scheduled to appear, or take them online.
Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, also tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and will work from home, according to a senior campaign official.
Biden pulled ads attacking Trump off the air but otherwise continued his campaign, traveling to Michigan on Friday after testing negative for the virus.
At a union hall in Grand Rapids, Biden said he was praying for his rival’s recovery.
He also implicitly criticized Trump, who has mocked Biden for routinely wearing a mask and has held huge campaign rallies with little social distancing.
The Republican National Committee would choose a replacement nominee if Trump were to become incapacitated, but it is too late in most states to change the names on the ballot.
Some 2.9 million people have already voted, according to figures compiled by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald.
Harris has also tested negative, according to the campaign.
In addition to the president and his wife, at least four people who were at a White House event to announce Barrett’s nomination – Conway, Lee, Tillis and University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins – said Friday they have tested positive.
Following British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s grave illness in March and Brazilian President Hair Bolsonaro’s infection in July, Trump is the latest world leader to contract the virus.