Donald Trump has released a video on Twitter, apparently from the hospital where he is being treated for COVID-19, in which he says “I’m starting to feel good, what happens over the next period of a few days, that’s the real test.”
The US President was taken to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, after revealing he and the first lady Melania had tested positive for coronavirus on Friday.
“I’ll be back, I think I’ll be back soon,” he said in the video posted late on Saturday, which followed changing and sometimes contradictory accounts about the condition of the president, from doctors and his staff.
Earlier on Saturday his chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters “we’re still not on a clear path yet to a full recovery,” saying Trump had a “very concerning” period on Friday and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care.
In an update on Saturday night, Trump’s chief doctor expressed cautious optimism but added that the president was “not yet out of the woods.”
At a briefing earlier on Saturday, Dr Sean Conley repeatedly refused to say whether the president ever needed supplemental oxygen, despite repeated questioning, and declined to share key details including how high a fever Trump had been running before it came back down to a normal range.
Conley also revealed that Trump had begun exhibiting “clinical indications” of COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon, earlier than previously known.
Conley spent much of the briefing dodging reporters’ questions, as he was pressed for details.
“Thursday no oxygen. None at this moment. And yesterday with the team, while we were all here, he was not on oxygen,” Conley said.
According to a person familiar with Trump’s condition, Trump was administered oxygen at the White House on Friday morning, well before he was taken to the military hospital by helicopter that evening.
The person was not authorised to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press only on condition of anonymity.
The timing of the announcement of Trump’s diagnosis has been called into question.
When Conley said that it had been 72 hours since the diagnosis, the White House had only informed the public about the diagnosis 36 hours earlier, leading to speculation that it had withheld the news.
White House aide Hope Hicks tested positive for the virus on Thursday, after travelling with the president on Air Force One the previous day.
That same day Trump flew to New Jersey for a private fundraiser, with White House officials saying they learned of Hicks’ positive test soon after Trump boarded his flight to New Jersey.
In an evening interview on Fox News, Trump says he and the first lady are being tested for the coronavirus, later tweeting that they will “begin our quarantine process!”
Late on Friday he reveals on Twitter he and the first lady tested positive for the virus and “will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately.”
Trump was then transported to a military hospital on the advice of his doctors out of an “abundance of caution” after testing positive for COVID-19 on Friday.
Coronavirus in the White House
A flurry of close Trump staffers and allies have been diagnosed with COVID-19 over the past couple of days, a number of which had attended an event at the White House introducing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee last Saturday, where attendees were hugging and shaking hands, with most of them not wearing masks.
Those who have tested positive who were at the event include former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, the president of the University of Notre Dame, and at least two Republican Senators, Mike Lee and Thom Tillis.
The president’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, the head of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, and Senator Ron Johnson have also tested positive.