October 27, 2020

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White House rally: Trump holds first public event since Covid diagnosis

Image caption

Donald Trump took off his mask as he prepared to address his supporters on the lawn below

A maskless Donald Trump has delivered a speech in front of cheering supporters at the White House in his first public appearance since being hospitalised.

The event was officially a “peaceful protest” for law and order, but looked much like a Trump campaign rally.

The president, who says he is no longer taking medicines against Covid-19, told the crowd he was “feeling great”.

The White House has not provided an update on the president’s health since Thursday.

It is unclear whether the president remains contagious following his three-day hospital stay with Covid-19.

Joe Biden’s campaign said the Democratic candidate had tested negative for the coronavirus on Saturday, ahead of a planned campaign trip to Pennsylvania.

What did Mr Trump say at the White House event?

Saturday’s White House gathering was partly organised by a foundation called “Blexit”, which aims to get black and Latino voters to support the Republican party.

The president railed against Mr Biden, describing the Democrat’s programme as “beyond socialism – Communist, that’s about right”. Mr Biden is generally considered to be a moderate Democrat.

Mr Trump repeated his previous assertion that he had done more for the black community than any president since Abraham Lincoln –
a claim the BBC has previously fact-checked
.

He also said a vaccine against coronavirus would be ready “very, very soon”, which is contrary to what the director of the US Centers for Disease Control told senators last month.

Polling suggests Mr Biden has a single-digit lead over Mr Trump and an ABC News/Ipsos poll found that just 35% of Americans approved of how Mr Trump has handled the coronavirus crisis.

However, US presidential elections are in practice determined in key states where both candidates stand a chance of winning, rather than by the total number of votes won, as Hillary Clinton found to her cost in 2016.

The president says he is planning to attend a “big rally” in Florida – a battleground state in next month’s presidential election – on Monday.

What is the latest on the president’s health?

Mr Trump told Fox News that he was feeling “really, really strong” and was no longer on medication, having had his “final doses of just about everything”.

On Thursday
the president’s doctor Sean Conley said that it would be safe for him to return to public engagements on Saturday
[10 October] as that would mark “day 10” since his diagnosis on Thursday 1 October.

Following his diagnosis, Mr Trump spent three nights in hospital and was treated with the steroid dexamethasone, the antiviral drug remdesivir and a cocktail of manufactured antibodies made by the company Regeneron.

The
CDC recommends self-isolation for at least 10 days after coronavirus symptoms first appear
, with more severe illness, such as that requiring hospital treatment, potentially needing up to 20 days.


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