Donald Trump’s freewheeling coronavirus broadcast criticised by experts

Donald Trump has been heavily criticised after he revealed what he “learned” about coronavirus while being treated at the elite Walter Reed Medical Centre in Maryland.

Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 8:01 am

Mr Trump was taken to the Presidential suite of offices at the hospital last week after testing positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, in a move made with an “overabundance of caution”, according to his doctors.

After a series of press conferences with the White House physician, Dr Sean Conley, suggested Mr Trump was suffering from only minor symptoms, it later emerged that the President had required oxygen, and was treated with an intense course of steroids.

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Mr Trump was discharged from Walter Reed at around 6:30pm (EST), posing on the balcony of the White House rotunda after touching down in Marine One.

In a video posted on Twitter soon after, the President urged the American people not to let coronavirus “dominate you”.

“I just left Walter Reed Medical Centre, and it’s really something very special,” he said.

“And I learned so much about coronavirus. And one thing that’s for certain - don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it.

“You’re gonna beat it. We have the best medical equipment, we have the best medicines - all developed recently, and you’re going to beat it.

President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 05, 2020 in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 05, 2020 in Washington, DC.

“I didn’t feel so good and two days ago - two days ago I could have left [hospital] - two days ago I felt great, better than I have in a long time. Better than 20 years ago.”

Mr Trump’s comments met with a hail of criticism from medical professionals, who claimed his words could endanger more people.

Dr Michael Mina Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, said Mr Trump’s video “frustrates, angers and saddens me beyond belief.”

“A man literally benefitting right now from potentially lifesaving treatment that essentially no human has access to and treated with intense medicines, telling the world NOT to take this virus seriously.”

US President Donald Trump leaves Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland boarding Marine One on October 5, 2020, to return to the White House after being discharged. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

More than 200,000 Americans have died from Covid-19 since the start of the outbreak.

Mr Trump was also criticised after holding a large in-person rally the day before he first tested positive for coronavirus.

Appearing to address criticism of the decision to hold the gathering without social distancing, Mr Trump said in the video: “We’re going back to work, we’re going to be out front, as your leader I had to do that.

“I knew there was danger - but I had to do it.

A member of the White House cleaning staff sanitizes the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room yesterday. U.S. President Trump, several members of his staff, and three members of the press corps have recently tested positive for coronavirus. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“I stood out front, I led. Nobody who’s a leader would not do what I did.

“And I know there’s a danger, there’s a risk, but that’s okay.

“And now I’m better - and maybe I’m immune, I don’t know,” he added.

Concluding the video, Mr Trump told viewers to “get out there” but “be careful”.

“We have the best medicines in the world, and they all happened very shortly.

“They’re all getting approved, and the vaccines are coming momentarily.

“Thank you very much, and Walter Reed - what a group of people. Thank you very much,” he finished.

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