After being discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center following a three-night stay for COVID-19 treatment, President Donald Trump has returned to the White House — where he promptly removed his CDC-recommended mask.
Trump, wearing a face covering, did not answer questions from reporters as he departed the hospital and only said, “Thank you very much” while giving a thumbs. Arriving back at the White House, Trump — who ostensibly is still infected with COVID-19 — climbed the steps to the entrance and then removed his mask before posing for photographs again and entering the building.
Watch a clip of the moment below.
According to updated guidance from the CDC, COVID-19 can spread from respiratory droplets produced by an infected person that can “linger in the air for minutes to hours” and can infect people — particularly those “within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation” — who are more than 6 ft. away. White House physician Sean Conley also told reporters on Monday that the president could potentially remain contagious for more than 10 days but declined to say how Trump would be quarantined at the White House.
Paired with Monday’s events, the Trump administration has faced mounting criticism over the weekend for the lack of transparency surrounding the president’s condition, the timeline for his diagnosis and release from the hospital, and the president’s behavior while still contagious. The White House has also declined to release the names or number of staffers who have become infected, but at least two members of the housekeeping staff have tested positive, according to the New York Times.
Trump has been given Regeneron’s experimental antibody cocktail; dexamethasone, a steroid typically given to severely ill patients; and remdesivir, an antiviral drug. The president was also given supplemental oxygen last Friday before he was admitted to Walter Reed.
Over the weekend, Conley did not initially disclose that Trump had received supplemental oxygen and was prescribed dexamethasone and, instead, said he withheld that information because he “didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction.”
During Monday’s briefing with reporters, the same day Trump was discharged from Walter Reed, Conley also repeatedly refused to disclose when the president last tested negative for COVID-19 or what his lung scans showed, citing HIPAA regulations. (The White House has said that Trump gets tested “multiple times a day.”)
The president first announced that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19 in an early Friday morning tweet. Trump was then flown to the Walter Reed Medical Center later that afternoon for treatment while the first lady remained at the White House.
Since the announcement of Trump’s diagnosis, a number of prominent Republicans also tested positive, including White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, former presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien and RNC chair Ronna McDaniel. Top Trump aide Hope Hicks also tested positive for COVID-19 prior to Trump’s diagnosis.
Lawrence Yee contributed to this report.
BREAKING: Pres. Trump arrives back at the White House, and removes his mask, following several nights at Walter Reed Medical Center. The president left Walter Reed this evening despite not having completed his full COVID-19 treatment. https://t.co/XCER5YMh2e pic.twitter.com/rTfKo35d4G
— ABC News (@ABC) October 5, 2020