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Trump says he'll leave hospital, 'don't be afraid of COVID' as US hits 210,000 deaths: live updates

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 10/5/2020 William Cummings, David Jackson and Sean Rossman, USA TODAY
Donald Trump sitting at a table: President Donald Trump on Oct. 3, 2020, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. © Joyce N. Boghosian, The White House/AFP via Getty Images President Donald Trump on Oct. 3, 2020, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

President Trump tweeted Monday that he will leave Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at 6:30 p.m. ET after being in the hospital since Friday. 

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

His comments came as the U.S. surpassed 210,000 deaths from COVID-19 and the president was administered drugs that are not available to many other Americans, including Regeneron, which has not been approved by the FDA, as well as remdesivir and dexamethasone. Public health officials' recommendations that people wear masks, distance at least six feet and frequently wash hands remain unchanged. 

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At least one Republican senator does not agree with Trump's downplaying of COVID-19.

"I think [Trump] let his guard down and I think in his desire to try to demonstrate that we are somehow coming out of this and that the danger is not still with us, I think he got out over his skis," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. "Frankly, I think it’s a lesson to all of us that we need to exercise self discipline."

The latest: 

📊 What the polls are saying: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's national lead over President Donald Trump widened after last week's chaotic first debate in Cleveland. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted after the debate showed 53% of voters backed Biden, compared to 39% who are supporting Trump. Another poll released Sunday also showed Biden widening his lead over Trump. The Reuters/Ipsos poll taken after Trump contracted COVID-1 found Biden led Trump 51%-41%, a 1-point jump from a Sept. 30 poll. 

📆 29 days until Election Day, two days until the vice presidential debate, 107 days until Inauguration Day, 88 days left in 2020.

🙋Got questions about Trump and COVID? Ask us. You can use this form to submit your own.

🗳️ Voting: See USA TODAY's Voter Guide for information on registering to votewhen your state begins voting and what the candidates think about the issues

We will update this article throughout the day. You can follow all of USA TODAY's politics reporters on Twitter or subscribe to our daily On Politics newsletter

Conley: Trump has 'met or exceeded' hospital discharge requirements

Navy Commander and White House physician Dr. Sean Conley says Donald has "met or exceeded" all standard hospital discharge requirements for patients.

Conley added "though he may not entirely be out of the woods yet," the team of doctors agree that their evaluations support the president's return home. He said the president is returning to the White House, which has a "world-class medical unit" and "top-notch" doctors, nurses and other medical personnel.  

Conley said doctors will remain "cautiously optimistic and on guard because we're in a bit of uncharted territory when it comes to a patient that received the therapies he has so early in the course." 

Pulmonary physician Dr. Brian Garibaldi said the president received his third dose of the antiviral drug remdesivir and will have one more before leaving the hospital. He will receive his fifth and final dose at the White House. Garibaldi added that he continues on the steroid dexamethasone. He also received an experimental antibody cocktail Regeneron, which is still in trials, before he left for the hospital Friday. 

Although the White House has an excellent medical unit, it’s known that people with severe COVID-19 can deteriorate quickly — within a half an hour to an hour, said Bob Wachter, chair of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

“It’s suboptimal,” Wachter said. “You want to be 50 feet from an ICU, not a helicopter ride away.”

Conley said he previously did not disclose that the president received supplemental oxygen because he wanted to reflect the "upbeat attitude of the president," raising questions about the mixed messages the White House has sent about the president's condition throughout the weekend.

Conley on Monday said he was "not at liberty" to discuss what the president's lung scans showed, but doctors for the first time released the president's temperature, which stands at 98.1. 

"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. 

- Courtney Subramanian

Biden hammers need for mask, urges Trump to 'listen to the scientists'

Democratic nominee Joe Biden offered his prayers again Monday for President Donald Trump’s recovery from COVID-19, but said the president should support mask mandates nationwide to slow the spread of the virus.

“I was glad to see the president speaking and recording videos over the weekend,” Biden said at the Jose Marti Gym in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami. “Now that he’s busy tweeting campaign messages, I would ask him to do this: Listen to the scientists. Support masks. Support mask mandates nationwide. Require masks at every building and facility, and (for) interstate travel.”

Biden noted that 100,000 more Americans were diagnosed with coronavirus since Trump entered the hospital Friday. But he cited a University of Washington estimate that 100,000 lives could be saved by the end of the year through widespread mask wearing. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease and Prevention, told Congress that masks could prevent more disease than a vaccine.

“We know it saves lives,” Biden added.

Biden urged a three-month mask mandate in August, but such a general move would rely on governors to issue those orders. But Trump has mocked Biden for wearing a mask unnecessarily more as a prop than a safety measure.

The U.S. Transportation Department rejected a request Friday from transit unions to require passengers to wear masks on buses, trains and planes. The department found the request unnecessary because local governments and private industry could require masks.


Video: ‘He wasn’t paying attention to the rules’: Voters react to Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis (NBC News)

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Biden criticized the decision and said he would adopt the proposed regulation, if elected.

“I believe that was wrong and not very rational,” Biden said.

– Bart Jansen

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tests positive for COVID-19

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tested positive for COVID-19, she announced on Twitter Monday. 

"After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms," she said in a statement. 

McEnany said she will go into quarantine and work remotely although she should have already been quarantining per CDC recommendations which state that a person who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days from last exposure. 

Two other White House press officials have since announced that they have COVID-19.

- Sean Rossman

Want to ride on public transit? Wear a mask, Biden says

Another clash between the Trump administration and Democratic nominee Joe Biden erupted over the weekend over whether passengers on public transit should be required to wear masks.

The Trump administration declined to require passengers' masks while Biden, who again tested negative for COVID-19, said if he elected, the Transportation Department would require passengers on buses, trains and planes to wear masks.

“I promise you: my Department of Transportation will insist on it,” Biden told the Amalgamated Transit Union on Saturday.

His comments came a day after the Transportation Department rejected a July 27 petition from the Transportation Trades Department AFL-CIO for a federal regulation to require passengers on public transportation to wear masks.

Larry Willis, the union president, argued the requirement would be a small imposition on passengers in exchange for protecting workers such as flight attendants and bus drivers.

- Bart Jansen

Melania Trump will 'continue to rest' at the White House

First lady Melania Trump, while isolating due to testing positive for COVID-19, hasn't left and won't leave the White House to visit the president in the hospital.

On Monday, she tweeted a new status report, saying, "I am feeling good and will continue to rest at home."

"My family is grateful for all of the prayers & support! I am feeling good & will continue to rest at home. Thank you to medical staff & caretakers everywhere, & my continued prayers for those who are ill or have a family member impacted by the virus," her post on her official Twitter account read.

NBC News on Sunday and CNN on Monday reported that an unnamed White House official confirmed that the first lady would not break isolation to visit her husband due to concern she would expose the Secret Service agents who would drive her there, and the medical staff who would greet her. 

- Maria Puente

First lady: Melania Trump will 'continue to rest' at White House, thankful for 'prayers & support'

Mike Pence, Karen Pence test negative for COVID-19 

Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence both tested negative Monday for COVID-19, an administration official said.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the virus last week. The president has been at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center since Friday for treatment.

The Pences are scheduled to leave Washington Monday afternoon for Salt Lake City, the site of the vice presidential debate Wednesday.

- David Jackson and Sean Rossman

Former Secret Service officials decry Trump's SUV ride at Walter Reed

After President Donald Trump took a spin around Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in an SUV on Sunday, many decried the decision to risk exposing the Secret Service agents in the vehicle with him to COVID-19.

While agents make safety recommendations that generally are accepted, the bottom line is that the president makes final the call.

"Ultimately, our job is not to say 'no,' it is to protect," Patricia Beckford Acheson, who worked on then-Vice President George H.W. Bush's protective detail in the early 1980s, told USA TODAY.

Former Secret Service Director W. Ralph Basham said the security and health challenge posed by the coronavirus is unprecedented.

“We are in uncharted waters,” said Basham. "We haven’t seen anything like this before."

- John Bacon and Kevin Johnson

Trump's SUV ride: If the president engages in risky behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic, can the Secret Service – or anyone – stop him?

Trump begins Monday with barrage of tweets from the hospital

President Donald Trump spent the early hours of Monday unleashing a barrage of tweets – most of them in all caps – promoting his reelection bid.

"MASSIVE REGULATION CUTS. VOTE!" the president wrote in one of the tweets from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he has been battling a case of COVID-19 since Friday.

In more than 15 tweets before 7:15 a.m. EST, Trump stated various campaign slogans and policy platforms, often ending the messages with "VOTE!"

Political opponents pushed back Trump's hospital-based tweet storm.

"IF YOU WANT A PRESIDENT WHO ACTUALLY PAYS THEIR TAXES VOTE FOR JOE BIDEN," tweeted Joe Lockhart, a press secretary for President Bill Clinton, tweeted.

- David Jackson 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump says he'll leave hospital, 'don't be afraid of COVID' as US hits 210,000 deaths: live updates

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