US President Donald Trump was transferred to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on Friday after he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19.
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Trumps positive coronavirus test has undermined his repeated claims that the US is "rounding the turn" in its handling of the pandemic, with just one month to go before the November 3 election.
Trump announced earlier on Friday that both he and the first lady had tested positive for Covid-19 and were going to quarantine at the White House.
“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER,” he wrote on Twitter.
Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020
But the situation changed later on Friday when he was air-lifted in the presidential helicopter, Marine One, to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Maryland.
Trump also tweeted a short video announcing his plans to go to Walter Reed and thanking his supporters.
Hours later, Trump posted a brief message on Twitter that gave no details on his condition. "Going well, I think! Thank you all. LOVE!” he said.
Trump treated with remdesivir
White House physician, Sean Conley, said his medical team has “elected to initiate remdesivir therapy” for the president, who was “doing very well” and did not require “any supplemental oxygen.”
Conley also said he recommended Trump be moved to Walter Reed “for further monitoring.”
Remdesivir drug maker, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., said the company agreed to supply a single dose, given through an IV, for Trump at the request of his physician under “compassionate use” provisions, when an experimental medicine is provided on a case-by-case emergency basis, while studies of it continue.
Trump 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.
Diagnosis rocks final stage of campaign
Trump is 74 years old and clinically obese, putting him at higher risk of complications from the virus.
His diagnosis rasied questions as his campaign enters its final stretch.
“It is unclear exactly what that means for a president of the United States —especially for this one, who has spent months not wanting to wear a face mask, not wanting to take physical distancing seriously,” David Smith, chief of the Guardian newspapers Washington bureau, told FRANCE 24.
Whatever form Trumps campaign takes in the coming days and weeks, his diagnosis has seriously undermined his attempts to downplay the pandemic and refocus the race on other issues.
In the past, Trump has wrongfully predicted that the coronavirus “is going to disappear” and even questioned scientists who contradicted his assertions in public.
'This could be a really significant blow'
Trump has also largely ignored his own governments public health guidelines, refusing to wear a mask or observe social distancing.
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