- Trump was hospitalized Friday after spiking a fever and suffering a drop in blood oxygen levels
- Doctors say he has been fever-free for 72 hours
- Trump tweeted people shouldn’t be afraid of the virus
President Donald Trump, who was hospitalized Friday for COVID-19, said Monday he would be released from Walter Reed National Military Hospital later in the day.
Trump tweeted the news ahead of a scheduled press conference by his doctors to discuss his medical condition. White House physician Dr. Sean Conley said it had been 72 hours since his last fever and his breathing and oxygen levels have returned to normal. Conley confirmed the president would be released later Monday and be treated further at the White House medical unit.
Trump was airlifted to Walter Reed after he exhibited a high fever and a drop in blood oxygen levels. He received an experimental antibody treatment as well as courses of the still being tested antirival Remdesivir and the powerful steroid dexamethasone, which normally is reserved for the worst cases of the disease.
Another member of Trump’s medical team, Dr. Brian Garibaldi of Johns Hopkins, said the president would receive the fourth of five doses of Remdesivir before he returns to the White House.
“I will be leaving the great Walter Reed medical center at 6:30 p.m.,” Trump tweeted, adding he’s feeling “really good” and people shouldn’t be afraid of the contagion, which has killed 210,000 Americans since March.
About a dozen people around the president also have tested positive, and Trump ran into flack for leaving the hospital briefly to drive past supporters outside the facility in a hermetically sealed armored SUV, potentially exposing his Secret Service bodyguards to the disease.
Trump said the media was wrong to criticize him for wanting to thank supporters.
Conley was roundly criticized for putting a positive spin on Trump’s condition. Conley said he downplayed the severity of the president’s illness to give his patient confidence he would recover.
The White House initially described Trump’s illness as mild. At Sunday’s briefing, Conley attempted to explain, admitting Trump suffered a “momentary episode of … high fever and … temporary drop” in blood oxygen levels. He also defended a decision not to disclose Trump had received oxygen.
“I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, his course of illness has had. I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction, and in doing so it came off that we were trying to hide something,” Conley said.