Washington, Oct 7 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Wednesday returned to work in the Oval Office, despite not having spent the required time in quarantine after becoming infected with the coronavirus and the fact that his office is located in the tightly packed West Wing, where dozens of other people work.
Trump went to the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon so that his advisers could bring him up to date on the economy and the Category 2 Hurricane Delta that is heading for the Gulf Coast, White House spokesman Brian Morgenstern told reporters.
“Was just briefed on Hurricane Delta, and spoke with (Texas Gov. Greg Abbott) and (Louisiana Gov.) John Bel Edwards. Please heed the directions of your State and Local Officials. We are working with them very closely – please be prepared, be careful, and be safe!” tweeted Trump shortly after that meeting.
Since he returned to the White House from Walter Reed military hospital, where he had been treated for three days for Covid-19, the president has been working from the presidential residence, located on the second floor of the White House.
However, since Tuesday he has also been pressuring his advisers to let him return to the West Wing, next door to the actual residence and where the Oval Office is located, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows admitted on Wednesday.
Meadows told White House reporters Wednesday morning that Trump wanted to return to work in the Oval Office on Tuesday, adding that “If he decides to go the Oval, we’ve got safety protocols,” although he did not specify what those protocols are and aides on Wednesday refused to say if Trump, for instance, even wore a mask when he went to the West Wing.
According to his physician, Trump has reported no symptoms of Covid-19 for the past 24 hours, but he is still not out of danger given that patients with the disease are at special risk for between seven and 10 days after they register their first symptoms, something that reportedly occurred in the president’s case last Thursday.
At least nine people who work in the West Wing have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days, the latest of these being immigration adviser Stephen Miller.
On Monday, when Trump left Walter Reed, the White House management office sent an e-mail to all top-level personnel with instructions on how to protect themselves, including limiting any trips to the first floor of the West Wing and to the presidential residence and, if they visit the second floor of the mansion, where Trump is, they must don PPE such as a yellow smock, surgical mask, goggles and gloves.
However, the White House has not changed its directive on the use of facemasks and is not requiring that they be worn, although sources consulted by The Washington Post told the paper that almost all employees have been wearing them in recent days, including Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, who normally does not wear one.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday afternoon in a White House produced video, Trump said that his Covid-19 diagnosis was a “blessing from God” because it made him aware of the drugs that are available to treat the disease, although there is no vaccine or medication that will “kill” it.
“I think this was a blessing from God that I got it. It was a blessing in disguise,” he said on the video, taped in the White House Rose Garden. The president sounded upbeat and gestured with his arms to emphasize his words.
The president went on to say that he would work to see that the combination of drugs – an experimental form of treatment at this stage that reportedly has only been tried on Trump himself – that he received at Walter Reed is made available free of charge to other Americans suffering from Covid-19.
“I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president,” Trump said, adding that he had asked his doctors to administer a high dose of an experimental antibody cocktail made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, calling it a “cure.”
“It was, like, unbelievable,” Trump said.