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President Donald Trump’s decision to greet his supporters as he passed the hospital where he is being treated for Covid-19 has been widely questioned by medical experts.
There are fears that the president, who was wearing a mask, may have endangered Secret Service employees in the car.
But White House spokesman Judd Deere said the Oct. 4 trip was “authorized by the medical team as safe.”
Questions remain about the severity of President Trump’s illness following conflicting statements over the weekend.
Donald Trump has been in hospital since Oct. 2 after announcing hours earlier that he had tested positive for the virus.
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Nearly 7.4 million are infected in the United States and nearly 210,000 people have died nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.
President Trump’s diagnosis has hampered his election campaign as he faces Democratic candidate Joe Biden on Nov. 3.
A growing number of people around the president, including First Lady Melania Trump, senior aides and Republican senators, have passed positive tests for the virus.
President Trump waved to the well-wishers behind the glass of a sealed car after he tweeted that he would leave Walter Reed Hospital near Washington to pay a “surprise visit” to the “patriots” outside. Inside the car, at least two people could be seen wearing protective seats in the front seats, with President Trump sitting in the back.
Experts say Donald’s short car ride violated public health advice on quarantine in seeking treatment for the virus and may have put secret service agents in the vehicle at risk of infection.
“This presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but also hermetically sealed against chemical attack. The risk of transmitting Covid-19 inside is as great as outside the medical procedures. “ tweeted Dr. James Phillips, a doctor at the same hospital where the president is being treated.
Those in the president’s car will now have to be quarantined for 14 days, he said.
President Trump flies to Walter Reed Army Medical Center Trump and First Lady Test positive for Covid-19 Coronavirus: President Trump denies downplaying the seriousness of Covid-19
Democrats also criticized the trip, with House of Representatives Hakim Jeffries tweeting: “We need leadership. No photographic operations. “
However, White House Judd Deer defended the move, saying “appropriate precautions have been taken in the implementation of this movement to protect the president and all those who support him, including the PPE. [personal protective equipment]”. NBC News, meanwhile, reports that the first lady left in the White House with mild symptoms has decided not to visit her husband in hospital because of the risks to staff.
“She has Kovid,” An unnamed employee told NBC on Oct. 3.
“That would expose the agents who will drive her there and the medical staff who will bring her to him.”
Over the weekend, President Trump’s condition turned out to be more serious than previously reported when he went to hospital on October 2.
The White House had said the president was experiencing “mild symptoms” of Covid-19, but it was later confirmed that he had received extra oxygen after his levels had halved in two days.
He was also given the steroid dexamethasone, which is usually reserved for serious cases, according to experts.
On October 4, White House physician Dr. Sean Conley turned to widespread confusion over the health of President Trump, following conflicting accounts between him and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Dr Sean Conley offered an optimistic forecast on 3 October, which was later refuted by Mark Meadows, who said the president’s vital signs over the past 24 hours had been “very worrying”.
Dr Conley told reporters on October 4: “I tried to reflect the optimistic attitude of the team and the president about the course of his illness.
“I did not want to give any information that could direct the course of the disease in another direction.”
There is skepticism about the prospect – raised by doctors earlier – that President Trump could leave the hospital as early as October 5.