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President Trump Returns to White House After Spending Three Days in Military Hospital

President Donald Trump gestures as he returns to the White House Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington, after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump pumped his fist as he departed a military hospital after a three-day stay for the coronavirus.

A masked Trump walked out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday evening toward a waiting SUV that carried him to Marine One for the short flight back to the White House. He said, “Thank you very much,” to the assembled reporters.

Even before he walked out the doors, he tweeted that he'd be back on the campaign trail soon.

The 74-year-old Trump was expected to continue his recovery at the White House, where he will be cared for around-the-clock by a team of doctors and nurses. He announced his coronavirus diagnosis early Friday.

His doctor, Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, told reporters earlier Monday that Trump remains contagious.

The President's return comes as the White House is still learning the extent of the outbreak that has sickened over a dozen close contacts of the president over the last week.

Trump tweeted the news earlier Monday that he would be returning to the White House Monday evening. 

"I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M." he wrote. "Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!"

On Sunday, Mr. Trump briefly left the hospital where he's been staying to greet supporters who had gathered outside the facility to wish him well.

Crowds lined the streets outside Walter Reed Medical Center as the president drove by in his car wearing a mask and waving. "God bless our president," yelled one supporter as the president's motorcade passed.

Some have criticized the president's move, saying it may have endangered Secret Service members inside the vehicle. A White House spokesperson insists the trip was cleared by medical staff.

President Donald Trump drives past supporters gathered outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital after contracting COVID-19. (AP Photo/Anthony Peltier)

The president has been at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD since Friday, shortly after announcing that he had tested positive for the virus.

There have been some questions though over the seriousness of the president's illness.

The White House initially said Mr. Trump had only "mild symptoms", but it was later revealed that he was moved to the hospital after registering a fever and taking supplemental oxygen. His blood oxygen levels dipped again on Saturday.

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Pressed about the conflicting information, the president's doctors acknowledged that they wanted to give the public a positive outlook on the president's condition.

"I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, of course, that his course of illness has had," said Dr. Sean Conley, the president's physician. "I didn't want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction. And in doing so, you know, it came off, that we're trying to hide something, which wasn't necessarily true. The fact of the matter is that he's doing really well."

The president posted a video on Twitter saying he's been learning a great deal about the disease.

"It's been a very interesting journey," the president remarked in the video. "I learned a lot about COVID. I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school. This isn't the 'let's read the book' school and I get it and I understand it."

President Donald Trump gives thumbs-up as he leaves the White House to go to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after he tested positive for COVID-19, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Not clear when the president contracted the virus, but several people who attended last week's Rose Garden event where he announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court have now tested positive, as well as several members of his debate preparation team.

Meanwhile, the Senate has postponed all floor activity until October 19 after three GOP Senators tested positive for the virus.

Still, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says confirmation hearings for Judge Barrett will proceed as scheduled on Oct. 12th, with some members attending virtually.

READ  Amy Coney Barrett Tests Negative for COVID, Senate 'Full Steam Ahead' as Confirmation Faith Fight Looms

And despite the president's health situation, the vice presidential debate will go on this week in Salt Lake City.

One change though, the Commission on Presidential Debates has agreed to keep Vice President Mike Pence and his Democratic vice presidential challenger Kamala Harris 12 feet apart, instead of 7 feet when they meet Wednesday.

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