By Susana Samhan
Bethesda, Maryland, Oct 5 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump was released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday afternoon after being treated there for Covid-19 since last Friday.
Trump walked out of the hospital wearing a white facemask and a suit and got into his armored SUV to be taken to Marine One, the presidential helicopter, which was waiting to ferry him back to the White House.
He said merely “Thank you very much, everybody,” but did not stop to answer reporters’ shouted questions.
After the short helicopter trip from the Bethesda, Maryland, hospital back to the White House lawn, the president disembarked and climbed a staircase to a second-floor balcony festooned with US flags and took off his facemask when he reached the top. There, he posed for photos and saluted Marine One as it took to the air again.
Earlier in the day, Trump had announced on Twitter that he would be leaving the hospital despite the fact that his personal physician, Dr. Sean Conley, had acknowledged that the president “is not out of the woods yet” from Covid-19.
“I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life,” the president tweeted regarding the disease that has infected more than seven million people in the US and killed more than 210,000.
Trump also took advantage of his Twitter message to claim responsibility for the more effective treatment for Covid-19 these days, compared to the situation when the pandemic first hit, tweeting: “We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
The two drugs that Trump received while at Walter Reed to battle the disease – remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone – were in existence and in use long before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
Trump has been tweeting quite a bit on Monday, calling on people to vote in the Nov. 3 general election, sharing campaign news and comments on TV programs, along with criticizing the media.
“It is reported that the Media is upset because I got into a secure vehicle to say thank you to the many fans and supporters who were standing outside of the hospital for many hours, and even days, to pay their respect to their President. If I didn’t do it, Media would say RUDE!!!” said the president in one of his Twitter messages.
Shortly after Trump made his announcement, members of his medical team said at a press conference outside the hospital that the president is not out of danger from Covid-19.
“Though he may not entirely be out of the woods yet, his team and I agree that all our evaluations – and most importantly his clinical status – support the president’s safe return home,” said Trump’s chief physician, Dr. Sean Conley, who told reporters that the president would be “surrounded by world-class medical care 24/7.”
“He spent much of the afternoon conducting business, and has been up and moving about the medical suite without difficulty,” Conley said in his statement.
“Over the past 24 hours … he’s met or exceeded all standard hospital discharge criteria,” Conley told reporters, adding that it had been more than 72 hours since Trump last ran a fever and that his oxygen levels were normal.
He added that “If we can get through to Monday with him remaining the same or improving, then we will take this deep sigh of relief.”
At the entrance to Walter Reed Hospital on Monday several dozen Trump supporters gathered wearing T-shirts and carrying signs saying “Make America Great Again,” waving at passing cars occasionally chanting “Four more years.”
The group was comprised of many different types of people and included residents of other parts of Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC of a wide variety of ages, even including several Chinese and Chinese-Americans who expressed their opposition to the Beijing government.
Many of the Trump supporters denounced what the president has called the “China virus” and one African American man from North Carolina held a yellow sign saying “Jesus saves.”
Meanwhile, coronavirus cases continue to increase among White House personnel, with press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announcing on Monday that she had tested positive, along with two of her assistants, bringing to at least 13 the number of people around the president who have become infected in recent days.