President Trump left the Walter Reed hospital on Monday night and was taken by helicopter back to the White House, despite his doctors saying he is ‘not out of the woods’ after being given a cocktail of drugs to treat COVID-19.
He walked out of the hospital at 6:40pm, giving the thumbs up to the camera.
Asked how many people in the White House were now sick, and whether he himself was a super spreader, he simply replied: ‘Thank you very much.’
He climbed into his waiting SUV which drove him to Marine One, for the 15-minute helicopter ride home to the White House.
Before he departed, aides set up lights outside the hospital doors to set the scene for the president’s big moment, giving Trump the dramatic, ‘made-for-TV’ moments he loves.
Before he left, staffers and Secret Service agents came out of the hospital. Several wore prominent N95 masks and carried safety goggles. At one point, a pair of masked staffers walked through the pool and quipped: ‘We’ve been tested.’
Marine One lifted off at 6:45pm, and landed at 6:55pm on the South Lawn of the White House.
Donald Trump left the hospital on Monday evening to shouted questions as to whether he was a super spreader
Donald Trump gave the thumbs up as he left the Walter Reed medical center at 6:40pm on Monday
The president, dressed in a navy suit and tie and wearing a face mask, strode out of the hospital on Monday evening
The 74-year-old president walked out the golden doors and down the steps at 6:40pm on Monday
The New York-born billionaire’s Secret Service detail were all wearing face masks as he left the hospital on Monday
Marine One is seen arriving at Walter Reed on Monday evening to collect the president from the hospital
The president is flying from the hospital in Bethesda, Maryland back to the White House – a journey of only a few minutes
Trump, 74, was admitted to Walter Reed on Friday amid reports he had trouble breathing and had a fever.
He has received care from the best doctors in the country, and has been driven around in an SUV to wave at fans who lined up outside to greet him – a move that outraged critics who said he put Secret Service agents’ lives at risk for a political stunt.
‘Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!!’ he tweeted on Monday evening, shortly before departing.
‘The Fake News only shows the Fake Polls.’
Crowds of supporters held a vigil outside the hospital, and were rewarded with the drive-by.
People wore ‘Make America Great Again’ paraphernalia, waved campaign signs and hoisted Americans flags.
One woman waved a ‘we [heart] u Mr. Trump sign’ while another man waved a ‘We [heart] Trump’ sign.
Supporters of the president gathered outside the Walter Reed hospital on Monday awaiting his release
The president’s fans on Monday were out in force outside Walter Reed, hoping to see the president as he left the hospital
On Monday, just four days after he tested positive with the deadly virus, he tweeted: ‘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. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!’
Shortly after his message, doctors appeared outside the hospital to say that while Trump was not ‘out of the woods’, they were satisfied for him to go home.
They refused to share details of his health, like when he last tested negative or even if he would be forced to quarantine when he got out, citing medical privacy laws as reasons not to share information like the results of a lung scan.
The doctors said Trump will receive his fourth remdesivir dose on Monday night before he leaves the hospital, and his fifth on Tuesday.
The president’s kidney and liver function are both good, they said. His temperature on Monday was 98.1F.
The doctors defended their treatment of him and of the decision to discharge him, saying he has some of the best care in the world at the White House.
‘Every day a patient stays in the hospital unnecessarily is a risk to themselves. There’s nothing being done here that can’t be done safely at home,’ said Dr Sean Conley, presidential physician.
‘That’s why we all remain cautiously optimistic and on guard.
‘We all remain cautiously optimistic and on guard, because we’re in a bit of uncharted territory when it comes to a patient that received the therapies he has so early in the course.’
The president’s team of doctors speaking outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday
Dr Sean Conley would not give the results of a lung scan, citing patient privacy laws. He called Trump a ‘phenomenal patient’
The White House released a photo of Trump on Sunday night taking part in a phone call from Walter Reed
He later added: ‘He’s back!’
Dr Conley cited patient confidentiality laws during the press conference when asked about Trump’s lungs.
WHAT ARE THE DRUGS TRUMP IS BEING TREATED WITH AND WHAT ARE THEIR SIDE EFFECTS?
President Trump has been given at least three potent drugs since announcing he tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday night: Regeneron’s cocktail of lab-made antibodies, the antiviral remdesivir, and the steroid dexamethasone.
Two of those medications are still experimental for treating COVID-19, and have given emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
And White House physician Dr Sean Conley admitted on Monday that he would not disclose every single medication that the president is currently receiving (citing HIPAA patient privacy laws, which suggests that Trump himself gave Dr Conley permission to disclose some of his medications, but not all of them).
Remdesivir, dexamethasone and the antibody cocktail are all in ongoing trials – but it’s unclear if anyone besides the US Commander-in-Chief has ever been treated with all three.
Those three drugs are ‘as much as we know [about the president’s treatment regimen] – but I found it all really confusing, based on the reports,’ Dr Mark Poznansky, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital told DailyMail.com.
When asked if there was any precedent for treating a COVID-19 patient with all three drugs, Dr Poznansky replied, ‘no.’
‘But the individual decisions are based on the individual patient, and all bets are off when you’re dealing with the president, the commander-in chief,’ he added.
‘The implication is that the doctors believe that the risk of using these is outweighed by the potential benefit.’
And while we have some clarity on the potential side effects of each of the drugs, how they might interact is a mystery, ‘because they just haven’t been used frequently enough…we don’t know about the combination,’ Dr Poznansky said.
But even on their own, the side effects of these drugs could be particularly concerning for the president, considering that the steroid can cause mood swings, confusion and aggression.
The drugs he was treated with and their potential side effects are:
REGENERON’S EXPERIMENTAL ANTIBODY COCKTAIL DRUG
WHEN HE GOT IT: Trump received a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s cocktail of lab-made antibodies on Friday.
WHAT IT DOES: REGN-COV2 is a combination of two lab-made versions of antibodies that help block the coronavirus from entering cells.
One of the antibodies in the ‘cocktail’ is based on an antibody that mice produce in response to coronavirus, while the other is based on an antibody isolated from the one of the first US COVID-19 patients.
The hope is that the treatment drives down viral load, keeping it from overrunning the body and sending the immune system haywire, and preventing the infection from becoming severe.
WHAT THE DATA SAYS: REGN-COV2 is still in early trial phases, but the first data from its clinical trial found that it dramatically lowered viral load within a week and cut recovery time in half in patients that weren’t sick enough to be hospitalized.
Regeneron has not yet studied the drug in severely ill patients.
THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: The main concern is these types of treatment occasionally trigger ‘antibody-dependent enhancement,’ which means the intended therapeutic actually helps the virus invade cells.
So far, the trials don’t suggest that REGN-COV2 is causing this phenomenon.
Antibody treatments can also cause allergic reactions including anaphylaxis, as well as fever, chills, nausea, diarrhea, weakness, headache and low blood pressure.
REMDESIVIR, GILEAD’S ANTIVIRAL DRUG
WHEN HE GOT IT: President Trump was given his first dose of a five-day treatment course on Friday evening, after he was transferred from the White House to Walter Reed National Medical Center.
He has since received his second and third dose of the drug.
WHAT IT DOES: Remdesivir is an antiviral therapy originally designed to treat Ebola.
Scientists are not entirely sure why, but it helps to prevent coronavirus from making more copies of itself.
WHAT THE DATA SAYS: Late-stage clinical trials of remdesivir found that patients treated with the drug were more likely to recover within 11 days than those who did not get the drug.
Their survival odds were about 40 percent better. In May, the drug became the first to get emergency use authorization from the FDA for treating severely ill patients. That approval has since been expanded to any hospitalized patients.
THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: It can cause nausea, vomiting, chils, sweating or light-headedness. The drug also may harm liver function, meaning that patients have to be closely monitored.
There was some suggestion the Trump’s liver and kidney function were suboptimal last night, but Dr Conley said Monday the president was just ‘dehydrated.’
DEXAMETHASONE, THE $6 STEROID WITH COMMON PSYCHIATRIC SIDE EFFECTS
WHEN HE GOT IT: The president got a dose of dexamethasone on Saturday after he developed a high fever and his blood oxygen levels dropped below 94 percent on two occasions.
WHAT IT DOES: Dexamethasone is a cheap steroid known to tamp down inflammation. It’s already approved for use in other conditions in the US.
WHAT THE DATA SAYS: Although it hasn’t yet been given emergency approval in the US, dexamethasone is the most promising treatment yet for coronavirus.
In a major UK study, the steroid cut the risk of death by 36 percent for patients sick enough to need breathing machines and by 18 percent for patients needing just supplemental oxygen.
However, it seemed harmful at earlier stages or milder cases of illness: 18 percent of those on the drug died versus 14 percent of those given usual care.
For that reason, many doctors were alarmed to see President Trump treated with the drug because using it suggested either that he was very sick, or that doctors were taking a risk in giving it to him early.
THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: The steroid is potent, and can cause swelling, headaches, stomach pain, nausea, weakness, dizziness sleep problems, vision changes, skin problems, severe allergic reactions including mood changes.
These mood changes include aggression, agitation and confusion.
‘Steroids are always very dangerous medications to use,’ Dr Edward Jones-Lopez, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, told Reuters.
‘That is why it (dexamethasone) is used in severe to critical patients… There can be neuropsychiatric side effects. These are medications that we use very, very carefully.’
He did however say that his liver and kidney function were good and that Trump did not put any pressure on doctors to release him, despite earlier reports that he was ‘done’ with staying in hospital and was ‘demanding’ to be discharged on Sunday.
‘The president has been a phenomenal patient during his stay here,’ said Dr Conley.
‘He has been working hand in glove. Today it got the point, he’s holding court, going over all the specifics, the testing, what the future is.
‘We’ve been back and forth on what’s safe or reasonable.
‘He has never once pushed us to do anything that was not sage and reasonable.’
The doctor said that Trump was ‘a little dehydrated on Friday’ but he was able to recover from that.
‘Everything looks great. There is no evidence of live virus present that he could transfer to others,’ he said.
‘We’re checking him more routinely than waiting 10 days. We will know as soon as possible – then we’ll look at him clinically. How are you feeling? How are you doing?’
Dr Conley also would not go into specifics of if Trump would have to quarantine when he got back to the White House.
Fourteen people in Trump’s inner-circle have now tested positive with the deadly virus that has claimed more than 210,000 American lives.
He has been desperate to get back to the White House since Sunday and, according to aides, fears that staying in hospital any longer will make him look weak.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was the latest person in the president’s inner circle to test positive for COVID-19, three days after Trump confirmed he’d been infected.
McEnany, 32, continued going to work on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the White House despite Trump testing positive late on Thursday night, and she took her mask off on Sunday to brief reporters.
She defended her decision to continue coming to work, saying she is an ‘essential worker’ who was expected there.
She had been in close contact with the president and others at White House who have tested positive, but repeatedly tested negatively herself until Monday.
Her assistant, Chad Gilmartin has also tested positive.
‘After testing negatively consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms,’ McEnany said in a statement posted to Twitter.
‘As an essential worker, I have worked diligently to provide needed information to the American people at this time.
‘With my recent positive test, I will begin the quarantine process and continue working on behalf of the American people,’ she said.
The White House staff are tested every day with rapid testing kits and have been relying on those results to let people back into the building since Trump’s diagnosis last week, even though it is commonly known that it can take several days after someone becomes exposed for their viral load to be substantial enough to yield a positive result.
After McEnany’s diagnosis on Monday, White House staffers were sent an email reminding them to stay home if they feel any symptoms.
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen were both tested again on Monday and tested negative, as did Joe Biden.
It comes amid claims that the President knew he had tested positive with the virus on Thursday night but kept it secret during an interview on Fox.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Monday insisted to Fox News that Trump was in good health and made ‘good progress’.
He also defended Trump’s outing on Sunday, as have other allies including former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and Rudy Giuliani.
Meadows said: ‘He is ready to get back to a normal working schedule.’
In a flurry of tweets starting at 6.30am on Monday, Trump boasted about the stock markets, promised to deliver more tax cuts and listed ‘pro life’, ‘space force’, ‘religious liberty’ and ‘law and order’ as among reasons why he should win again.
Over the weekend, Trump released several video addresses where he promised to be in good health despite his diagnosis, and the White House shared photographs of him working at the hospital.
He claims to have been meeting some of the wounded veterans who are also being treated in the hospital.
On Sunday night, he made a surprise appearance outside the hospital to thank fans who had turned out with signs, flags and banners wishing him a speedy recovery.
Trump said he was touched by the outpouring of support and wanted to show his appreciation.
But doctors – including one from Walter Reed – say it was irresponsible of him to get into the presidential SUV with Secret Service agents and risk infecting them.
Dr James Phillips, a Walter Reed attending doctor, condemned the president’s Sunday afternoon drive, which violated Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
Meadows dismissed the criticism on Monday morning in an interview with Fox.
‘The president expressed appreciation to some of the people outside Walter Reed yesterday. Even that was getting criticism.
‘How do we think that he got here? We came in Marine One. The agent who’s been with him… we took additional precautions with PPE.
‘A number of folks are just trying to make a big deal of that when indeed, I know that myself and some of the Secret Service detail are right there with him trying to make sure he’s protected each and every day and that he returns to the White House as expeditiously as possible.’
Corey Lewandowski, his former campaign manager, also defended the outing.
He told Today that the agents involved volunteered to drive him and came under no duress.
‘The president wanted to thank all the supporters. The detail leader and the driver both volunteered for that assignment.
‘They were not required to do that.
‘They volunteered. There was a piece of plexiglass between the two agents and the president.
‘The president wanted to show his supporters how much he appreciated them and show that you can still continue to function with COVID-19. He’s a leader. He wants to lead. This was the president out thanking his supporters for supporting him.’
In an interview with Good Morning America on Monday morning, Dr. Phillips doubled down on his claims that it was irresponsible.
‘I don’t know what the benefits of this political stunt were, but I do know what the risks were.
‘My concern is that perhaps the Secret Service agents were inside don’t know the full risk of what they were up against.
‘So far as the military and Johns Hopkins physicians who are taking care of this patient, they’re excellent.
‘But they are also under undue pressure and a lot of influence outside of that normal physician-patient relationship.
‘Influence weighs heavy and when we’re dealing with a highly unusual environment like what we’re in right now, the question is – and I’d love to hear the answer from some military physician folks – where does that line between that physician patient relationship come into contact with the commanding officer and subordinate relationship?’
Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University’s Emergency Medicine division, and a Covid-19 consultant specializing on how to reopen safely, said that the design of the presidential vehicle, specifically modified to protect the passengers from attacks, made the drive even more dangerous.
‘That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack,’ he continued.
‘The risk of COVID19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play.
‘Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days,’ Phillips pointed out.
‘They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.’
The CDC website explicitly states that COVID patients should stay at home except to get medical care.
In their section advising healthcare workers, the CDC states: ‘In general, transport and movement of a patient with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection outside of their room should be limited to medically essential purposes.’
Doctors said the president’s treatment with dexamethasone – a steroid used for patients who require extra oxygen – is the clearest sign yet that Trump may have a severe case of COVID-19.
THURSDAY – Mask free while giving her briefing (left) and FRIDAY (right) masked after Trump’s positive diagnosis. She is shown, right, with her deputy, Chad Gilmartin, who tested positive on Saturday. She still went to work the next day and briefed reporters without her mask on
SUNDAY: McEnany took her mask off to speak to reporters on Sunday. She knew by then that her assistant had also tested positive with the virus, but she did test positive until Monday morning. McEnany wore the mask while walking around (right) throughout the rest of the day
Other doctors also took issue with Trump’s medical team’s rosy picture of his health.
‘People can be doing OK, but it can get rocky very quickly,’ said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security.
The experts told the Washington Post that Trump’s medical team has withheld key information about his condition, and that he was on a ‘kitchen sink’ regimen of monoclonal antibodies, the anti-viral remdesivir, and steroids.
‘For someone sick enough to have required remdesivir and dexamethasone, I can’t think of a situation in which a patient would be OK to leave on day three, even with the White House’s medical capacity,’ Robert Wachter, chairman of the University of California at San Francisco’s department of medicine, told the paper.
A second doctor, Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, echoed Dr Phillips’ condemnation.
‘By taking a joy ride outside Walter Reed the president is placing his Secret Service detail at grave risk,’ he said.
‘In the hospital when we go into close contact with a COVID patient we dress in full PPE: Gown, gloves, N95, eye protection, hat. This is the height of irresponsibility.’
And Dr Craig Spencer, an ER doctor who survived Ebola and is currently director of global health in emergency medicine at Columbia University, was shocked at the president’s ‘joyride’.
‘Moments after stating ‘I learned a lot about COVID’, the President takes a joyride in an enclosed space with presumably #COVID19 negative people, all while on experimental medications,’ he said.
NBC News’ Peter Alexander said on Sunday night that he had asked why Melania Trump was not visiting her husband, and was told it was because she did not want anyone else to become infected.
‘Reminder: A White House official, on Saturday, told me the First Lady would not be visiting Trump at Walter Reed because ‘she has COVID and that would expose the agents who would drive her there,” he tweeted.
A crowd Trump’s supporters gathered outside the Bethesda, Maryland, hospital – and many were not wearing face masks.
Questions the president’s doctors haven’t yet answered about his condition:
Which drugs is taking?
Trump has taken his taken his fourth dose of the experimental drug Remdesivir. He is also taking desxamethasone, a steroid used to reduce inflammation in the lungs.
His doctors revealed after he was hospitalized that Trump is taking an experimental antibody cocktail produced by biotechnology company Regeneron.
Dr. Conley revealed Trump was twice put on supplemental oxygen.
On Saturday, he said Trump was also taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine used for heartburn, and melatonin, which can help with sleep.
Trump also takes a daily aspirin, which can help with cholesterol. Conley said Trump had not been on any medication to reduce fever in 72 hours.
Will his condition go downhill?
Despite Conley’s up-beat assessment, he did acknowledge that his high-powered patient ‘may not entirely be out of the woods yet.’
COVID patients sometimes have a spike in symptoms a week or more after they contract the virus. Nevertheless, he said the White House medical unit is capable of handling whatever comes – an indication that Trump’s team is capable of handling another fever spike, administering oxygen, or even more drastic means of keeping a patient breathing like a ventilator.
The White House medical team can also organize an effort to helicopter Trump back to the hospital if needed.
‘We all remain cautiously optimistic and on guard,’ Conley said. ‘Because we’re in a bit of uncharted territory when it comes to a patient that received the therapies that he has so early in the course.’
‘So, we’re looking to this weekend. 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,’ he added.
Conley was referring to doctors administering doses of experimental drug Remdesevir, an anti-viral medication. It has been shown to have a positive effect on patients suffering a moderate case of COVID-19 when given later in the process. In Trump’s case, the president got his first dose on Friday, his team said. He is to receive his final dose out of five from the White House Tuesday.
When did he last test negative?
Conley repeatedly refused to state when the president last tested negative for COVID-19.
The answer is important, both for those who might conduct contact tracing to see who might have been exposed, and to anyone seeking to evaluate whether the White House took the correct response and has been truthful about it.
Trump announced early Friday morning, close to 1 am, that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive.
Trump held back the information in a Thursday night interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, after Bloomberg News had already reported longtime aide Hope Hicks had tested positive.
‘I’ll get my test back either tonight or tomorrow morning,” Trump told the host.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump had already gotten a positive result in his rapid test at that point.
The White House learned about Hicks’ positive result shortly before Marine One took off for the trip to New Jersey, where Trump had a scheduled fundraiser at his golf club, even pulling some staff off the trip.
New Jersey Gov. Tom Wolfe tweeted that the state had identified 2-6 attendees at two Trump fundraising events, with 19 staff members involved.
When can Trump hit the campaign trail?
‘As far as travel goes, we’ll see,’ Conley told reporters Monday.
He said key is confirming there is no remaining ‘live virus’ in Trump’s system.
‘We talk about a ten-day window.’
‘There’s a possibility it’s earlier than that. There’s a chance it’s a little bit later,’ he said.
Trump was driven by his supporters where he waved at them from the SUV and he wore a face mask during the short trip
Rudy Giuliani and Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, on Monday defended Sunday’s drive-by
A sign of supporter outside Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday morning. Fans have been there since Trump was admitted on Friday night
Trump supporters outside Walter Reed on Monday morning. There has been a strong presence outside the hospital since Trump was admitted on Friday night
The fans outside Walter Reed on Monday morning. Some held their hands on their hearts as they prayed for Trump’s recovery
Trump supporters waved American flags and Make America Great Again campaign signs outside of Walter Reed hospital on Sunday
The crowds have gathered outside the hospital to cheer and shout their support to Trump on Sunday
THE TOLL OF COVID FROM SCOTUS NOMINEE EVENT
1. President Donald Trump, 74; 2. First Lady Melania Trump, 50; 3. Fr. John Jenkins, 66. President of the University of Notre Dame; 4. Mike Lee, 49. Republican Utah Senator; 5. Thom Tillis, 60. Republican North Carolina Senator; 6. Kellyanne Conway, 53, Former White House Counselor to the President; 7. Chris Christie, 58. Former New Jersey Governor; 8. Kayleigh McEnany, 32. White House Press Secretary; 9. Chad Gilmartin. Assistant Press Secretary, 22. 10. Karoline Leavitt, 23. Assistant Press Secretary. 11. Pastor Greg Laurie, 67. Harvest Crusades televangelist.
* Bill Barr, 70: self-isolating out of caution.
AT EVENT AND STOOD AT BACK OF ROSE GARDEN
12. Hope Hicks, 31. Counselor to the President; 13. Bill Stepien, 42. Trump Campaign Manager; 14. Nicholas Luna, 29. Chief of Oval Office Operations and ‘body man’; 15. Unnamed White House reporter