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Trump, stricken by COVID-19, flown to military hospital

October 03, 2020 07:11 AM

WASHINGTON, October 2, 2020
Stricken by COVID-19, a feverish and fatigued President Donald Trump was flown to a military hospital Friday night after being injected with an experimental drug combination in treatment at the White House.

In a day of whipsaw events, the president who has spent months downplaying the threat of the virus was forced to cancel all campaign events a month before the election as he fought a virus that has killed more than 205, 000 Americans and is hitting others in his orbit as well.

The White House said Trump's expected stay of “a few days” at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was precautionary and that he would continue to work from the hospital’s presidential suite, which is equipped to allow him to keep up his official duties.

Trump walked out of the White House Friday evening wearing a mask and gave a thumbs-up to reporters but did not speak before boarding Marine One. Members of the aircrew, Secret Service agents and White House staff wore face coverings to protect themselves from the president onboard the helicopter.

In a video taped before leaving for Walter Reed, Trump said, “I think I’m doing very well, but we’re going to make sure that things work out.” He remained fully president, all authority intact.

President Donald Trump said early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Just a month before the presidential election, Trump's revelation that he was positive for the virus came by tweet about 1 a.m. Friday after he had returned from a Thursday afternoon political fundraiser. He had gone ahead to the event, saying nothing to the crowd though knowing he had been exposed to an aide with the disease that has infected millions in America and killed more than a million worldwide.

First lady Melania Trump also tested positive, the president said, and several others in the White House have, too, prompting concern that the White House or even Trump himself might have spread the virus further. He said in his video that his wife was doing very well.

Trump’s diagnosis came during an already turbulent period in Washington and around the world, with the U.S. gripped in a heated presidential election amid the human and economic toll of the virus. Trump's immediate campaign events were all canceled, and his next debate with Democrat Joe Biden, scheduled for Oct. 15, is now in question.

Trump has been trying all year — and as recently as Wednesday — to convince the American public that the worst of the pandemic is past, and he has consistently played down concerns about being personally vulnerable. He has mostly refused to abide by basic public health guidelines — including those issued by his own administration — such as wearing face coverings in public and practicing social distancing. Until he tested positive, he continued to hold campaign rallies that drew thousands of often maskless supporters.

The White House tried to maintain an atmosphere of business-as-usual on Friday.

“President Trump remains in good spirts, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day, ” said press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

Both Democratic presidential nominee Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris have tested negative, their campaign said. Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for the virus Friday morning and “remains in good health, ” his spokesman said. Pence was to resume his campaign schedule after his test.

Trump is far from the first world leader to test positive for the virus, which previously infected Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spent a week in the hospital, including three nights in intensive care. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was hospitalized last month while fighting what he called a “hellish” case of COVID-19.
- AP

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