Doctors disturbed after Trump removes his mask upon returning to the White House

“What White House staffer would still wanna go to work tomorrow???” Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and health economist with the Federation of American Scientists, said in a tweet Monday night. “Epidemiologists just wanna vomit.”

Dozens of medical professionals and commentators echoed Feigl-Ding’s concerns Monday night, slamming the president for posing and then reentering the White House without a mask even though he is still suffering symptoms of covid-19.

Some medical experts were not just concerned for White House staff, but for the president himself.

Ilan Schwartz, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta’s division of infectious diseases, said the president appeared to be struggling to breathe in a brief clip that showed him standing outside the White House.

“This is a textbook example of increased work of breathing,” Schwartz tweeted.

A White House spokesman responded to Monday’s widespread criticisms, saying the White House is taking “every precaution necessary” to protect the president, his family and staff.

“Physical access to the President will be significantly limited and appropriate PPE will be worn when near him,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in an email. “President Trump will continue to receive around-the-clock medical care and monitoring from his Physician and a team of dedicated physicians and nurses in the White House Medical Unit who function out of a state-of-the-art clinic, which includes many of the things a person would see in an urgent care clinic and much more, to ensure the Commander-in-Chief makes a full recovery and can continue to discharge his duties.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people diagnosed with covid-19 wait at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms and go at least 24 hours without a fever before having contact with other people. Asymptomatic carriers who test positive for the virus but do not experience symptoms should wait 10 days after their positive test, the CDC says. And those who suffer a severe case of covid-19 may need to isolate longer, up to 20 days after getting sick.

Trump’s maskless moment at the White House and a short drive he took Sunday with several Secret Service agents to greet supporters outside of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center appear to violate those recommendations.

CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta was also among the doctors disturbed by the president’s actions on Monday.

“There is stuff that is pretty reckless, but at some point it’s just becoming absurd,” Gupta said, according to a tweet shared by one of his colleagues at CNN. “A person with known contagious deadly disease — without a mask on — is walking into the residence. Other people are around him.”

The heightened risk of coronavirus for people working within the White House has had many on high-alert as the virus spread quickly among individuals who had close contact with Trump last week. At least 10 people who attended a ceremony in the Rose Garden last week to mark the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett have since tested

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Trump Returns To White House, Removes Mask Despite Infection : Live Updates: Trump Tests Positive For Coronavirus : NPR

President Trump removes his mask as he stands on the Blue Room Balcony upon returning to the White House on Monday after undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md.

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President Trump removes his mask as he stands on the Blue Room Balcony upon returning to the White House on Monday after undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md.

Alex Brandon/AP

President Trump, who spent the weekend in the hospital being treated for COVID-19, made a theatrical return to the White House Monday evening, disembarking Marine One and walking the staircase to the South Portico entrance, where he turned to face the cameras, removed his mask and gave his signature two thumbs up.

Shortly before, a masked Trump had emerged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he was receiving treatment, pumping his fist and giving a thumbs up as he ignored questions from reporters.

In a video recorded at the White House which he tweeted later, the president seemed somewhat more circumspect about a virus that he has often downplayed, along with measures to halt its spread, such as wearing masks.

Trump thanked the staff of Walter Reed and said that during his three-night stay he had “learned so much about coronavirus.”

“One thing that’s for certain – don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it,” he said. “We have the best medical equipment. We have the best medicines. All developed recently. And you’re going to beat it.”

“I went, I didn’t feel so good,” he said, but added that, “And two days ago, I could have left two days ago. Two days ago I felt great, like better than I have in a long time. I said just recently, better than 20 years ago.”

Trump’s physician, Sean Conley, said he is cautiously optimistic about the president’s prognosis, but that medical staff needed to remain on guard for another week.

“Over the past 24 hours, the president’s condition has continued to improve,” Conley told reporters at a news briefing Monday. “He’s met or exceeded all standard hospital discharge criteria.”

“Although he may not be entirely out of the woods yet, the team and I agree that all our evaluations, and most importantly, his clinical status, support the president’s safe return home, where he will be surrounded by world-class medical care, 24/7.”

The president’s treatment has included the steroid dexamethasone and a five-day course of remdesivir. Dr. Brian Garibaldi told reporters on Monday that Trump would get a fifth dose of remdesivir at the White House on Tuesday night and that he continues to receive a steroid.

Asked by a reporter if he had concerns about a possible worsening or reversal of the president’s condition, Conley responded: “You’re absolutely right.”

“That’s why we all remain cautiously optimistic and on guard, because we are in a bit of uncharted territory when it

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Trump returns to White House and removes mask despite having Covid



a passenger seat of a car: US President Trump waves from the back of a car in a motorcade outside of Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on October 4, 2020.


© Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images
US President Trump waves from the back of a car in a motorcade outside of Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on October 4, 2020.

President Donald Trump staged a reckless departure from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday, telling his followers the virus that dangerously deprived him of oxygen and hospitalized him for 72 hours was nothing to fear before posing for a mask-less photo-op on the White House balcony.

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It was a remarkable attempt to convert his still-ongoing disease into a show of strength, even as it underscored his longstanding practice of denying the pandemic’s severity and downplaying its risks despite the more than 200,000 Americans dead.

“Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life,” Trump wrote several hours before walking carefully out of the hospital’s gold front doors, even as his doctors warned he wasn’t yet “out of the woods.”

Wearing a white cloth mask and a navy blue suit, Trump gave several thumbs up and a first bumps as he walked down the hospital’s front steps toward his waiting helicopter. He would not answer when asked how many of his staffers had tested positive.

After a flight over Washington, Trump landed on the South Lawn and proceeded in an unusual route up a set of stairs the first-floor balcony, where aides had positioned a row of American flags.

Peeling off his mask, Trump posed in salute as his helicopter departed before walking inside. The building he’s returning to has become a center for viral contagion — in part because of disregard for mitigation measures.

Then Trump posted a propaganda video after apparently re-doing his White House entrance for effect. He also nonsensically seemed to claim he faced the coronavirus because he “had to” as a “leader” — a deeply misleading message to deliver.

“We’re going back. We’re going back to work. We’re gonna be out front. As your leader I had to do that. I knew there’s danger to it but I had to do it,” Trump says in the video. “I stood out front. I led. Nobody that’s a leader would not do what I did. I know there’s a risk there’s a danger. That’s OK. And now I’m better, and maybe I’m immune? I don’t know. But don’t let it dominate your lives. Get out there, be careful.”

The message was jarring not only because it was irresponsible but that it came from a current coronavirus patient who has experienced serious symptoms of the disease and whose recovery has included experimental treatments unavailable to most Americans.

As more of his aides test positive for the disease and questions emerge about what steps have been taken to curtail the spread, Trump’s physician Dr. Sean Conley offered few details on how staff members would be kept safe upon Trump’s return to the White House, which is equipped with its own medical suite.

He also continued to obfuscate on critical pieces of information, such as

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Trump removes mask upon arrival at White House

President TrumpDonald John TrumpQuestions remain unanswered as White House casts upbeat outlook on Trump’s COVID-19 fight White House staffers get email saying to stay home if they experience coronavirus symptoms White House says ‘appropriate precautions’ were taken for Trump’s outing to see supporters MORE, who is infected with a highly contagious virus, took off his mask upon his return to the White House on Monday as he posed for photos from the balcony above the South Lawn.

The president posed for photos and appeared to be taking part in a video shoot following his return to the executive mansion after spending three days undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. After landing in Marine One, Trump walked up the stairs of the South Portico, removed his mask and looked over the balcony.

The president was near an official photographer, and other staffers could be seen behind him. He did not put his mask back on as he turned to walk back into the White House.

The image reflects how Trump appears largely unchanged in his views toward COVID-19 even after contracting the virus that has killed more than 200,000 people in the U.S. and infected millions. The president earlier in the day tweeted to his followers, “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

Trump revealed Friday that he and the first lady had tested positive for the virus. He was taken to Walter Reed later that day and has been showing symptoms, including fatigue and fever. The president required supplemental oxygen on Friday and Saturday as well.

White House physician Sean Conley told reporters earlier Monday that Trump was healthy enough to leave the hospital, citing his vitals and clinical evaluations. But he acknowledged that the president, who is 74 and overweight and thus at risk for severe complications, was not out of the woods yet.

“If we can get through to Monday with him remaining the same or improving better yet, then we will all take that final deep sigh of relief,” Conley said. 

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