Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

Masked Trump waves to well-wishers as he walks to helicopter to be airlifted to Walter Reed

North America, 2020 October 3, Saturday(The Independent)

US president Donald Trump has been airlifted to hospital less than a day after testing positive for coronavirus, upending his re-election campaign.

Wearing a black face mask, the president waved as he crossed the White House lawn to board the Marine One helicopter for a brief ride to Walter Reed medical centre in Bethesda, Maryland, at about 5.30pm on Friday.

The president will spend “a few days” at the hospital as a “precautionary measure” after he and Melania Trump, as well as as number of top Republican figures, reported positive Covid-19 tests within the last 24 hours.

“President Trump remains in good spirts, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Friday. “Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the president will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days.”

Mr. Trump has been treated with an experimental antibody cocktail for Covid-19 and his physician, Dr Sean Conley, said in a statement that his patient “remains fatigued but in good spirits”. The 74-year-old president is reportedly suffering a fever and cough. According to his physician’s memo, he is also taking vitamin D, zinc, melatonin, a daily aspirin and an antacid.

However, he remains in power and has not transferred control of the executive to Mike Pence, the vice president, the White House said.

The president announced on Twitter late on Thursday that he and his wife had tested positive for Covid-19. The couple were tested after senior aide Hope Hicks was found to be infected following an event at Mr Trump’s New Jersey golf club. Ms Hicks had also travelled to Minnesota for a fundraiser and a rally on Wednesday.

During a virtual address to the Alfred E Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner on Thursday night, an annual high-profile fundraiser for Catholic charities, the president echoed in his remarks his optimistic and misleading statements about the state of the public health crisis that have charged his rhetoric at campaign rallies and at the White House.

He said that a vaccine, of which there are several in late-stage clinical trials, was “on track” to be developed and distributed “before the end of the year, and maybe substantially before”. “I just want to say that the end of the pandemic is in sight, and next year will be one of the greatest years in the history of our country,” he said.

Several other prominent figures announced their positive diagnoses on Friday including Republican senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis, and GOP chair Ronna McDaniel.

Before boarding Marine One on Friday evening Mr Trump recorded a video message, thanking supporters for their well wishes and saying he believed he was doing “very well”.

“We’re going to make sure that things work out,” he added in his first tweet for a full day. “The first lady is doing very well. So, thank you very much, I appreciate it, I will never forget it. Thank you.”

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