Trump trip to greet supporters outside hospital raises concerns


Washington — While he continues to receive treatment for COVID-19 at Walter Reed Medical Center, President Trump made a surprise trip out of the hospital on Sunday evening to greet well-wishers who have flocked to the medical facility, a move that came amid questions about the severity of his illness and the risk of infection to those around him.

Riding in the back of a black SUV and donning a mask, Mr. Trump was seen waving to his supporters during the brief jaunt, which he teased as a “little surprise” in a video on Twitter before departing the Maryland hospital. 

“It’s been a very interesting journey,” Mr. Trump said in his video. “I learned a lot about Covid.”

The president’s short trip prompted questions as to what precautions were taken to ensure the safety of Mr. Trump and those in the vehicle with him. Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said Mr. Trump’s doctors approved the outing and “appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the president and all those supporting it, including PPE.”

President Trump wears a protective mask while waving as he is driven in a motorcade past supporters outside of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Sunday, October 4, 2020.

Bloomberg/Getty Images

The president’s drive-by came hours after his medical team attempted to clear up confusion about his condition after providing limited — and conflicting — information Saturday. While his doctors said the president could be discharged for continued treatment at the White House as early as Monday, questions remain as to the severity of Mr. Trump’s health status, as his doctors revealed he was given a dose of dexamethasone, a steroid, on Saturday after two episodes in which his oxygen levels dropped.

Dexamethasone is recommended by the World Health Organization for COVID-19 patients who are “critically ill.” Mr. Trump also remains on the five-day course of remdesivir, which has been found to shorten recovery time for patients hospitalized with the coronavirus.

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