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US President Donald Trump transferred to military hospital after being diagnosed with Covid-19

It was confirmed tonight that Trump is being transferred to the Walter Reed Medical Center.

Updated Oct 2nd 2020, 10:45 PM

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP has left the White House to attend hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.

It was confirmed by a White House spokesperson this evening that Trump is to be admitted to the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington DC. He is to work from the hospital for the next few days, the spokesperson said. 

Wearing a suit, he walked to Marine One, the presidential helicopter, to be transferred to hospital tonight. He did not stop to respond to questions from reporters. 

The White House also posted a brief video from Trump thanking people for their support and saying he thought he was doing “very well”. 

Tweet by @Donald J. Trump Source: Donald J. Trump/Twitter

The spokesperson said the visit was precautionary and that President Trump would work from the military hospital’s presidential suite, which is equipped to allow him to continue his official duties.

“President Trump remains in good spirts, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day,” said press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the president will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days.

His transfer to hospital comes less than 24 hours after news of the diagnosis was revealed. 

Around 6am Irish time, Donald Trump tweeted that he and his wife Melania had tested positive for the virus.

This afternoon, The New York Times reported that Trump was showing symptoms but only mild ones. 

The president’s physician said in a memo earlier that Trump had received a dose of an experimental antibody cocktail by Regeneron that is in clinical trials.

Navy Commander Dr Sean Conley said President Trump “remains fatigued but in good spirits” and that a team of experts was evaluating both the president and first lady in regard to next steps.

The first lady, who is 50, has a “mild cough and headache,” Dr Conley reported, and the remainder of the first family, including the Trumps’ son Barron, who lives at the White House, have tested negative.

Both Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris have tested negative, their campaign said.

Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for the virus on Friday morning and “remains in good health,” his spokesman said.

The spokesman for the Vice President said tonight that Pence is at his official residence at the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC. 

Biden tweeted tonight: 

This cannot be a partisan moment. It must be an American moment. We have to come together as a nation.

Tweet by @Joe Biden Source: Joe Biden/Twitter

PastedImage-54841 Source: Twitter

Before news of the president’s diagnosis emerged Trump had tweeted that Hope Hicks – a close aide – had tested positive. Hicks was the closest aide to Trump to test positive so far.

She travelled with the president multiple times this week, including aboard Marine One for a Minnesota rally on Wednesday, and aboard Air Force One to Tuesday night’s first presidential debate against Joe Biden.

Conley, the White House doctor, said earlier:  “The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some our country’s greatest medical professionals and institutions. Rest assured I expect the president to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering.”

Most of Trump’s campaign schedule was cleared in the wake of the news of his diagnosis. 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin tweeted earlier to wish the Trumps “a full & speedy recovery from coronavirus”. 

Risk factors 

Experts say that while Trump, who is 74, does have several of the risk factors associated with severe forms of Covid-19 – being male, older and overweight – it is hard to say how the disease will affect him.

“The risk of serious disease and death depends on many factors – some unmeasurable, so there is always uncertainty – and it is not so simple as to make inferences from one or two alone,” said Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow.

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He said that the risks may be “offset” by other factors, including if Trump has no chronic conditions and is reasonably active, noting the US leader’s love of golf.

At his most recent medical check-up, published in June, Trump weighed-in at 244 pounds (110.67 kg). For his height of six feet and three inches (1.91 metres), this means he exceeds the official threshold of obesity.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person in this category is three times as likely to need hospital care than someone with a lower weight.

Another high risk factor is age.

The CDC reports that eight of 10 Covid-19 related deaths in the US are of people over 65.

“In general, your risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19 increases as you get older,” it says on its website.

Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, said Trump would be classified as “vulnerable”.

“Many people in their 70s will also have further co-morbidities that increase the risks of a more severe illness.”

Comments on coronavirus 

Trump has repeatedly downplayed the impact and severity of Covid-19 this year, and has been reluctant to practice his own administration’s social distancing guidelines and has rarely worn a mask in public. 

The president is due to debate Biden twice more ahead of the election on 3 November. His presidential rival tweeted that he and his wife Jill wish Donald and Melania Trump a swift recovery. 

The virus has killed more than 200,000 Americans and infected more than seven million nationwide.

Trump is not the only major world leader known to have contracted the virus. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent time hospital, including three nights in intensive care, where he was given oxygen and watched around the clock by medical workers.

Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro also tested positive for Covid-19. 

With reporting by Daragh Brophy, Cónal Thomas and AFP. Comments are closed due to the high number of flagged comments.

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Sean Murray

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