PRESIDENT Donald Trump shared a video message from hospital on Saturday evening, warning the "next few days will be the real test" in his fight against coronavirus.
The four-minute video follows a day of confusion over his condition with doctors saying he’s doing well, but the White House chief of staff saying his vitals are "very concerning and the next 48 hours is critical."
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"I came here, wasn't feeling so well. I'm feeling much better now," Trump said.
"I’m starting to feel good. You don’t know over the period of a few days – I guess that’s the real test."
"We’ll be seeing what happens over the next couple of days."
He added that he'll "'be back soon" and will "finish the campaign."
Trump was flown to Walter Reed hospital on Friday, just hours after he first revealed he tested positive for COVID-19.
The White House doctor said Trump has been given the experimental drug Remdesivir.
Trump is expected to be in the hospital for a few days, the White House said.
"We’re gonna beat this coronavirus – or whatever you want to call it – and we’re going to beat it soundly,” Trump vowed.
Speaking of experimental treatments for the virus, Trump then said there are some that “look like they’re miracles coming down from God.”
Trump repeatedly asked aides if he was going to die from Covid in the chaotic hours before he was airlifted to hospital on Friday, according to a Saturday report.
According to a Vanity Fair journalist, Trump asked his aides, "Am I going out like Stan Chera? Am I?"
Trump was referencing his New York City friend who died of coronavirus in April.
Earlier, Dr Sean Conley, alongside nine other members of the president's medical team, provided an update from the Walter Reed medical center.
Conley said the president was in "exceptionally good spirits" and that Trump had said, "I feel like I could walk out of here today."
The team also revealed Trump will be on a five-day course of Remdesivir and he has 13 doctors and nurses on hand.
Following the update, Trump tweeted: "Doctors, Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed Medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING!!!
"Tremendous progress has been made over the last 6 months in fighting this PLAGUE. With their help, I am feeling well!"
In his Saturday address, Trump thanked the American people and other world leaders for the support he’s been shown.
“I had no choice because I didn’t want to stay in the White House," Trump said of being hospitalized.
"I had to be out front. This is America, This is the United States. This is the greatest country in the world. This is the most powerful country in the world. I can’t be locked up in a room upstairs and be totally safe and just say ‘Hey, whatever happens, happens.’"
"We have to confront problems," Trump said.
He added: "I’m doing well. I want to thank everybody. Our First Lady is doing very well," he added of wife Melania, who also tested positive for the virus.
"We’re both doing well. Melania is really handling it very nicely," Trump said of his wife, noting at 50 years old she is "slightly younger" than himself at 74.
"We know the disease. We know the situation with age versus younger people, and Melania is handling it statistically like it's supposed to be handled, and that makes me very happy and it makes the country very happy," Trump said.
But I'm also doing well and I think we're gonna have a very good result."
He added: "Again, over the next few days we’re probably going to know for sure."
Sources told ABC that the president rested through Friday evening after experiencing shortness of breath due to the virus.
However, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told a pool of reporters on Saturday morning that the road to recovery is not "clear."
Meadows said: "The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We're still not on a clear path to a full recovery."
A person familiar with Trump's condition also confirmed that the president was given oxygen at the White House after Conley sidestepped the question.
'I’M GOING TO BEAT THIS'
Reacting to the confusion over the president's health, top Republicans and administration aides sent out messages after speaking to Trump on Saturday, insisting he is doing well.
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell posted a tweet, saying Trump "sounds well and says he’s feeling good."
Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani also spoke to the president , saying, “If you can judge by the way he speaks, he sounded like vintage Donald Trump."
The president told Giuliani he was going to "beat this," according to the New York Post.
“You go tell people I’m watching this coverage [reporting his condition is worse than initially thought]," he told the former New York mayor.
“I feel I could get out of here right now. But they’re telling me there can always be a backstep with this disease. But I feel I could go out and do a rally."
Seemingly reacting to criticism over the White House's lax precautions against the virus, Trump said: “I am the president of the United States. I can’t lock myself in a room.
"I had to confront [the coronavirus] so the American people stopped being afraid of it so we could deal with it responsibly."
“We have made tremendous progress on treating this disease. Fatality rates are very low compared to [the beginning].
“I’m going to beat this.
“Then I will be able to show people we can deal with this disease responsibly, but we shouldn’t be afraid of it.
“If I had handled it any other way, I would have created more panic, more fear in the American people.
“We are making great progress on dealing with this disease and making better progress with the economy than anyone had the right to expect.”
RUSHED TO HOSPITAL
In extraordinary scenes at the White House on Friday, Trump, 74, was rushed via helicopter to the medical center near Washington DC after he was struck down with coronavirus symptoms – putting the US election in jeopardy with just weeks to go.
Hours after he was transported to the hospital via Marine One, Trump tweeted: "Going well, I think! Thank you to all. LOVE!!!"
After it was reported Trump was "struggling to breathe," Conley said Trump was given a dose of Remdesivir.
The drug, which is used for the treatment of Ebola, SARS, and hepatitis C, is an antiviral medication that is designed to interfere with the virus’s ability to copy its genetic material.
The drug was approved for emergency use in May amid the outbreak.
Conley said in an update late on Friday that Trump was "doing very well" and "is not requiring any supplemental oxygen."
Earlier on Friday CNN reported after Trump's hospitalization that White House officials "have serious concerns about Trump's condition tonight."
Sources said Trump's "symptoms are worse than those of the First Lady at this point."
One adviser to Trump told CNN: "This is serious."
Trump is reported to be "very tired, very fatigued, and having some trouble breathing."
A White House official insisted Trump is “fatigued," but he's not "deteriorating."
The official told CNN the public shouldn't be worried, and that Trump is taking this "very seriously."
However, contrary to CNN's sources, a senior Trump administration official told Fox News that Trump is not struggling to breathe.
The official said such reports about Trump having a hard time are "downright disgraceful."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, said per Fox News that he's spoken with Trump, and described him as "upbeat."
McCarthy said Trump "told me that he appreciates all the prayers and support from everyone. Our president is strong and will beat the virus!"
Earlier on Friday, Trump was seen for the first time since he confirmed he had the deadly virus, giving a "thumbs up" as he walked across the White House South Lawn to Marine One.
Shortly after he was transported to the military hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, Trump tweeted out a video of himself thanking "everybody for the tremendous support."
"I'm going to Walter Reed hospital. I think I'm doing very well. But we're going to make sure things work out," Trump said.
He said First Lady Melania Trump, 50 – who also tested positive for COVID – "is doing very well."
"So thank you very much. I appreciate it, I will never forget it," the president said. "Thank you."
Once Trump arrived in Maryland, he was seen being driven in an armored car full of masked Secret Service members.
Trump was seen waving from the back seat of the vehicle.
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said earlier on Friday: "President Trump remains in good spirits, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day.
"Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days."
ABC News reports Trump is experiencing a fever, chills, some nasal congestion, and is coughing.
White House spokesperson Alyssa Farah said that Trump "is in charge" and has not transferred any power to his second-in-command, Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence both on Friday tested negative for the virus.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is behind Pence in the presidential line of succession, also tested negative on Friday.
The extraordinary turn of events in Washington is throwing the US presidential election – already historic and notable – into chaos and has plunged America into crisis.
Late on Thursday, it was confirmed that a top aide to Trump, Hope Hicks, had the virus after days of traveling alongside the president to campaign events.
Around 1am on Friday, Trump tweeted that both he and Melania both tested positive, adding: "We will get through this TOGETHER!"
Trump didn't tweet for the majority of Friday after the reveal – which is unusual for the president, who frequently tweets throughout his day, most days.
Following news of his hospitalization, former President Barack Obama said he and wife Michelle hope the Trumps "and all those affected by the coronavirus around the country are getting the care they need and are on the path to a speedy recovery."
"Obviously, we’re in the midst of a big political battle right now, and while there’s a lot at stake, let’s remember that we’re all Americans," Obama tweeted.
"We’re all human beings. And we want everyone to be healthy, no matter our party."
Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of sympathy to Trump in which he and his wife Peng Liyuan wished the presidential couple an early recovery, the state-run Global Times newspaper reports.
Yonhap News Agency, South Korea's state-run media, reported North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un wished Trump a "speedy recovery."
Earlier on Friday, White House doctor Conley said Trump "remains fatigued but in good spirits."
A memo released detailed the mix of vitamins and antioxidants the president is taking for coronavirus symptoms.
Conley, in writing the memo to McEnany, wrote of Trump's health status a day after he tested positive.
"As of this afternoon the President remains fatigued but in good spirits," Conley wrote.
"He's being evaluated by a team of experts, and together we'll be making recommendations to the President and First Lady in regards to next best steps."
Conley wrote that Melania, who is more than 20 years younger than her husband, was doing mildly better than the president.
"First Lady Melania Trump remains well with only a mild cough and headache."
"The remainder of the First Family are well and tested negative for" COVID-19.
Trump's diagnosis sparked concerns about the president's height and weight.
The 74-year-old weight 244 pounds in June, according to results from his physical.
The White House doctor deemed Trump at the time to be in good health and said he showed little change in basic health measurements within the last 16 months.
Several people in Trump's circle have tested positive for the virus after attending a ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett at the White House Rose Garden last Saturday.
Both Trump and Melania, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, and Republican Senators Mike Lee, of Utah, and Thom Tillis, of North Carolina, have tested positive.
Notre Dame President Reverend John Jenkins and a member of the press corps have also tested positive.
Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie also tested positive on Saturday, one week after he was caught on camera giving hugs out at the Rose Garden event.
The ceremony is now coming under scrutiny as a possible “super-spreader event” and has set off a scramble to contact and trace thousands of people in least half a dozen states, Politico reports.
Former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway has also tested positive, according to a video her daughter Claudia posted to TikTok on Friday.
Shortly after Conway confirmed she contracted the virus, it was reported that Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien also tested positive for COVID.
Stepien reportedly sent an email to staff on Friday night confirming the news and saying: "I feel fine and will be back in the office as soon as I am given the green light."
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson then tested positive on Saturday morning, with his office saying that he came in contact with an infected person in Washington DC at some point after September 29.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Dr Jill Biden, both tested negative on Friday for coronavirus.
Trump allegedly knew that Hicks had the virus before he traveled to New Jersey for a fundraiser on Thursday.
On Friday, Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows confirmed Trump knew of his possible COVID-19 exposure before visiting his Bedminster club.
“We discovered that right as Marine One was taking off yesterday," he told reporters. "We actually pulled some of the people that had been traveling and in close contact."
Hicks and Trump traveled together at least two days this week – including to and from the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday and to a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday.
It is unknown why Trump continued to attend the New Jersey event.
During their debate on Tuesday, Trump made fun of Biden for how often he wears a mask.
Experts say masks are a big key in avoiding coronavirus.
"I think masks are OK," Trump said during the debate as he pulled out a mask from his suit jacket pocket.
"I put a mask on, you know, when I think I need it. Tonight is an example, everybody has had a test. I wear a mask when needed. When needed, I wear masks."
But of Biden, Trump said: "I don't wear masks like him. Every time you see him, he's got a mask."
He said Biden "could be speaking 200 feet away" and then "shows up with the biggest mask I've ever seen."
Trump’s shock diagnosis spooked the money markets and dealt a huge blow to his stuttering re-election bid, coming just a month before the vote.
There were also fears he may have been a super-spreader – after attending an indoor event with more than 100 people despite knowing Hicks had caught the disease.
It emerged he took eight flights on Air Force One in the past week alone.
The Dow Jones fell 400 points after the news of his positive test, before recovering slightly.
More than 213,000 Americans have so far died from COVID-19 – the world’s highest toll – and Trump has been repeatedly criticized for his handling of the pandemic.
More to follow…
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