Trump, still infectious, returns to White House; removes mask despite having Covid

WION Web Team NEW DELHI Oct 06, 2020, 06.14 AM(IST) Oct 06, 2020, 07.52 AM(IST)

US President Donald Trump pulls off his face mask as he returns to the White House after being hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Washington. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

After reaching White House, he walked up the steps onto the South Portico's stately balcony and demonstratively removed his mask, saluting the departing Marine One.

US President Trump on Tuesday returned to the White House after being discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland.

Also read | White House press secretary tests positive for coronavirus

Trump, who checked out of hospital after four days of emergency treatment for coronavirus infection, pulled off his mask the moment he reached the White House and vowed to quickly get back on the campaign trail.

“Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life,” Trump tweeted downplaying the serious threat of the virus, which has killed 209,000 people in the United States.

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According to the US media, Trump’s doctor said it was unclear when the president would no longer be able to infect others.

After reaching White House, he walked up the steps onto the South Portico's stately balcony and demonstratively removed his mask, saluting the departing Marine One.

With less than a month until November 3 election day, polls show Trump behind Democrat Joe Biden and left scrambling even harder by his hospitalization to catch up.

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The return to the White House was minutely stage managed to show he is physically fit, while a series of striking tweets demonstrated Trump's coming angle of political attack — that he personally beat Covid and will now lead the country to its own comeback.

"Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!!" he said in one tweet.

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"Don't be afraid of Covid," he said in another, claiming to be feeling rejuvenated after his illness.

But the 74-year-old Republican's display of bravado came the same day as his own chief spokeswoman tested positive for the virus -- the latest in an outbreak raging within the White House.

And despite his claims to be in good health again, a combination of White House secrecy, conflicting information from officials and the viral spread among his own circle, damaged his credibility.

In a briefing from the hospital, presidential physician Sean Conley said Trump is "back" but also said he would not be "entirely out of the woods" for another week.

It wasn't clear how free Trump will be to move about in the White House's crowded corridors and small office spaces. The facility, however, has a medical team of its own which will monitor the president in case of relapse.

(With inputs from agencies) 

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