WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump was in a military hospital on Saturday for treatment after being diagnosed with COVID-19, a rare development that increased the presidential race one month before the November 3 election.
About 17 hours after he was publicly diagnosed, Trump walked slowly from the White House to a waiting helicopter at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
“I think I’m doing very well, but we’ll make sure things happen,” Trump said in a short video message posted on Twitter. Earlier on Friday, he tweeted that he and his first wife, Melania Trump, had contracted the virus.
Trump will work in a special area of the hospital in the next few days as a precautionary measure, said White House News Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. An online video showed a small group of Trump supporters apart from Walter Reed tonight waving Trump 2020 flags, most of them not wearing masks.
White House physician Sean P. Conley said on Friday that Trump was doing very well, needed no extra oxygen, and had received the first drug Remdesivir, an antiretroviral drug sold by Gilead Sciences Inc GILD.O reduced hospital stay.
In a high-profile tweet on Friday, the president wrote: “Well done, I think! Thanks to all. LOVE !!! ”
The diagnosis was a recent setback for the President of the Republic, following his Democratic Alliance rival Joe Biden in the by-elections ahead of the November 3 presidential election.
Trump has played down the threat of the coronavirus epidemic since the beginning, just as the disease has killed more than 200,000 Americans and affected the U.S. economy.
Other prominent Republicans were also found to have it on Friday, including former White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway and Senator officials Mike Lee and Thomas Tillis.
Deputy President Mike Pence, who will take over the presidency if Trump becomes seriously ill, has been tested as untrue, a spokesman for the organization said. The former 61-year-old governor of Indiana works at his residence a few miles from the White House.
Trump is in serious danger because of his age and weight. He continued to show signs of health during his tenure but it is not known whether he exercises regularly or follows a healthy diet.
Conley said earlier on Friday that Trump had received experimental treatment, Regeneron’s REGN.O REGN-COV2, one of many COVID-19 test drugs known as monoclonal antibodies, which are used to treat various ailments.
Trump is taking zinc, Vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and aspirin, Conley said.
Shares on Wall Street closed down as Trump’s news reports added to the growing uncertainty surrounding the election.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was also hospitalized with COVID-19 in April, said on Saturday he had no doubt Trump would recover much.
“He is a very natural person who seems to be able to withstand the conditions and I am sure he will deal with it very well,” Johnson told reporters.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, joining good intentions at home and abroad, sent a message to Trump and his wife on Saturday, wishing them a speedy recovery, Chinese state television reported.
ELECTION DAY DAYS
With only 31 days to go before the election, Trump’s campaign said he would postpone meetings and other events where he was supposed to appear, or take them online.
Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, also checked that he has COVID-19 on Friday and will work at home, according to the campaign’s chief executive.
Biden pulled out ads that attacked Trump in the air but continued his campaign, heading to Michigan on Friday after testing for the virus.
At the union hall in Grand Rapids, Biden said he had been praying for his rival’s recovery. However, he also criticized Trump, who ridiculed Biden for always wearing a mask and holding large campaign rallies without public distractions.
“Be patriotic,” Biden said. “It doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s about doing your part. ”
The Republican National Committee may nominate a candidate for Trump’s term, but it is too late in many countries to change the name of the vote. An estimated 2.9 million people are already voting, according to figures compiled by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald.
Pence has taken Trump’s scheduled calls with management and retirement organizations. His October 7 dispute with Democratic Alliance deputy president Pamela Harris will continue as planned, organizers said.
Harris also checked to see if he had any, according to the campaign.
The virus could undermine Trump’s drive to sue former judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Supreme Court.
With the exception of the president and his wife, at least four people who were at a White House event to announce Barrett’s appointment – Conway, Lee, Tillis and University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins – said on Friday that they had it.
Lee and Tillis are both members of the Republican Senate Judiciary Committee, which is expected to begin hearing Barrett’s nomination on October 12.
Barrett was tested for the virus earlier this year and recovered, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Tillis, who said in a statement that she has no symptoms, will stay home for ten days. Polls show a close race between him and Democratic Alliance opposition candidate Cal Cunningham for his North Carolina seat, who is one of many Democrats hoping to fulfill their efforts to win a majority of the Senate in November.