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'I feel better than I did 20 years ago': Trump set to leave hospital

The US President sent 15 block-capital tweets in 30 minutes today, followed by a later tweet about yesterday’s waving to supporters.

Image: CNP/ABACA

Updated Oct 5th 2020, 10:55 PM

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has tweeted that he is set to leave hospital and feels better than he did “20 years ago”. 

In a tweet sent this evening, he said: “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!”

His doctor, Navy Commander Sean Conley, said the president would not be fully out of the woods for another week, but added that he had “met or exceeded all standard hospital discharge criteria”.

Dr Conley was also upbeat at an afternoon briefing and said the president could resume his normal schedule once “there is no evidence of live virus still present”. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, those with mild to moderate symptoms of Covid-19 should isolate for at least 10 days.

Dr Conley repeatedly declined to share results of medical scans of Mr Trump’s lungs, saying he was not at liberty to discuss the information because the president did not waive doctor-patient confidentiality on the subject. Covid-19 has been known to cause significant damage to the lungs of some patients.

Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis has upended the White House race less than a month from polling day — and cast a harsh spotlight on the president’s much-criticised management of the pandemic which has claimed over 200,000 American lives.

Eager to portray himself as in charge despite his sickness, Trump sent 15 block-capital tweets in 30 minutes today, appealing to voters by claiming a record of successes in his first term including tax cuts and stock market highs, and protecting gun rights and religious liberties.

The tweetstorm came after the president sparked an angry backlash with a protocol-breaking visit to supporters outside the hospital where he is being treated.

He was masked as he waved from inside his bulletproof vehicle during the short trip outside Walter Reed military medical center near Washington yesterday evening.

He commented on this incident later in the day, tweeting: 

PastedImage-44910 Source: Twitter

Trump, who has been repeatedly rebuked for flouting public health advice and spreading misinformation on the pandemic, said in a video on Twitter just before his outing that he had “learned a lot about Covid” by undergoing treatment.

‘Insanity’

But experts complained he had broken his own government’s guidelines requiring patients to isolate while they are in treatment and still shedding virus — and had also endangered his Secret Service protection.

“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days,” said James Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University.

“They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”

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White House spokesman Judd Deere said “appropriate” precautions had been taken to protect Trump and his support staff, including protective gear.

The president was flown to Walter Reed with a high fever on Friday after a “rapid progression” of his illness, with his oxygen levels dropping worryingly low, White House doctor Sean Conley said in a briefing yesterday.

Conley admitted that he had kept from the public the fact that the president had been given extra oxygen, in a bid to reflect an “upbeat attitude”.

© AFP 2020

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