WASHINGTON (Oct 6): President Donald Trump returned to the White House on Monday after a three-night hospital stay for treatment for COVID-19, facing a staff hit by a wave of infections and a campaign further shadowed by the pandemic four weeks before Election Day.
Wearing a white surgical mask, Trump gave a thumbs-up and waved at reporters as he walked to the executive mansion from the helicopter that flew him back from the Walter Reed Medical Center outside Washington.
He then walked up the staircase of the White House South Portico, removed his mask, and posed for pictures, at times giving a thumbs-up and others a salute.
Leaving the military hospital earlier in the evening, he responded to a reporter's question about how many people were infected at the White House by saying: "Thank you very much."
The Republican president, running for re-election against Democrat Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 U.S. election, was admitted to the hospital on Friday after being diagnosed with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
"Feeling really good!" he said on Twitter earlier.
"Don't be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!" The disease has killed more than 1 million people worldwide and more than 209,000 in the United States alone - the highest death toll of any country.
Trump, 74, has not had a fever in more than 72 hours and his oxygen levels are normal, his medical team told reporters in front of the hospital.
The doctors declined, however, to discuss any toll the disease could have on the president's lungs or disclose when Trump last tested negative for the coronavirus.
The team added that the president had received supplemental oxygen twice in recent days.
"He may not entirely be out of the woods yet," Dr. Sean. P. Conley, the White House physician, said.
"If we can get through to Monday with him remaining the same or improving, better yet, then we will all take that final, deep sigh of relief."
But Conley said the medical team believed Trump was ready to leave the hospital, stressing he would have world-class medical care around the clock at the White House.
Conley said doctors were in "uncharted territory" because Trump had received certain therapies so early in the course of the illness.