WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump could be discharged from the hospital where he is being treated for COVID-19 as early as Monday, his doctors said, although his condition remains uncertain and outside experts warn his case could be serious.
Sequestered at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center near Washington since Friday, Trump has released a series of videos in an attempt to reassure the public that he is recovering from a pandemic that has infected 7.4 million Americans and killed more than 209,000.
“It’s a very interesting trip. I learned a lot about COVID, ”he said in a video posted on Twitter Sunday.
A return to the White House could help Trump project a sense of normalcy as he faces an uphill re-election battle against Democrat Joe Biden.
A Reuters / Ipsos poll released on Sunday showed Trump was following Biden by 10 percentage points. About 65% of Americans said Trump would not have been infected if he had taken the virus more seriously.
Trump’s medics said his health was improving and he could be returned to the White House as early as Monday.
Yet they are treating Trump, 74, with a steroid, dexmethasone, which is normally only used in the most severe cases. It’s also just two days in a five-day course of an intravenous antiviral drug, remdesivir.
Dr Sean P. Conley, the White House doctor, said on Sunday that Trump’s condition was worse than he had previously admitted. Conley said Trump had a high fever on Friday morning and was given extra oxygen after his blood oxygen levels dropped.
Doctors not involved in Trump’s treatment have said they suspect his condition may be worse than Conley has suggested. As an overweight elderly man, Trump falls into a category more likely to develop serious complications or die from the disease.
Trump has consistently downplayed the risks of the pandemic since its onset this year, and has repeatedly flouted social distancing guidelines designed to curb its spread.
At Walter Reed, Trump held a brief procession to greet supporters gathered outside the hospital on Sunday. He also said he had met soldiers and first responders – sparking criticism he could put more Americans at risk for the infection. He was diagnosed with the disease shortly after appearing at a fundraiser in New Jersey on Thursday.
Biden, 77, has tested negative for the disease multiple times since sharing a debate stage with Trump last Tuesday. He is due to resume his campaign in person on Monday in Florida, where opinion polls show a close race in a crucial battlefield for the Nov. 3 election.
Trump is also pushing to install Federal Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court, which would lock in a Conservative majority in the country’s highest court for years to come.
Several people present at the White House ceremony on September 26 where Barrett appointed Trump tested positive for COVID-19 – including two Republican senators whose votes will be needed to confirm it in the High Court.