President Donald Trump returned to the White House after exiting Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda just after 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 5.
After receiving a cocktail of treatment since his hospitalization three days earlier, the president’s doctors said they expected he would receive another dose of the coronavirus drug remdesivir on Oct. 6.
Clearly agitated by his hospital stay, Trump raised the eyebrows and ire of some of the nation’s leaders within the medical community when on Oct. 4, he briefly left Walter Reed for a joyride along Rockville Pike during which he saluted followers. He would face pointed criticism for the ill-advised action – a photo-op that placed Secret Service agents who accompanied him in danger of contracting the virus.
Within hours of the news on Oct. 2 that both the president and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus, well wishes poured in from around the globe including messages from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian President Ram Nath Kovind.
Here in the U.S., Trump’s presidential opponent Joe Biden and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro counted among those who sent notes of encouragement to the president and his wife.
In an early-morning tweet on Oct. 2, Trump declared he had contracted the virus. But some remained skeptical, believing the president might be seeking to sway voters after a disappointing debate performance which now has him trailing Biden by as much as 13 percentage points with about one month to go before Election Day.
“I see some of you don’t believe the Trumps have COVID,” BlackPressUSA’s Entertainment and Culture Reporter Dr. Nsenga Burton tweeted.
“They have it. A reporter broke the story,” Burton assured her followers.
“They didn’t come forward and disclose their status. They knew and carried on, as usual, exposing a ton of people, including Biden, in the process. Debates should be canceled. Vote Nov. 3,” she said.
Reminded by Trump’s earlier efforts to downplay the deadly virus as a hoax – even suggesting that people inject themselves with disinfectant to combat COVID-19, Castro expressed hope that the president has since realized the serious nature of the disease.
In a cautiously worded statement that contained seeds of doubt as to whether Trump has the virus, Castro wrote: “Mr. President – if these reports are confirmed, I wish you and the First Lady well. I hope this is a wakeup call that this virus is not a hoax or something cured by injecting bleach. We need a plan, not the same divisive, dangerous rhetoric.”
The virus has infected more than 34 million worldwide, with over 1 million dying from COVID-19. Nearly 7.5 million in the U.S. have received a positive diagnosis with more than 212,000 fatalities.
In more than a dozen recorded telephone calls between journalist Bob Woodard and Trump and shared in the reporter’s recently published book, the president admitted that he knew as early as January about the deadly virus but did nothing to protect the American public.
The president famously held large rallies where masks were not required with Trump openly speaking against the need to use facial coverings.
Trump supporter and African-American businessman Herman Cain, who died in August from COVID-19, attended a crowded Trump rally in Tulsa in June before shortly thereafter learning that he had been infected by the virus.
Trump’s positive test result comes on the heels of a similar diagnosis of his close aide Hope Hicks and just days after his participation in the presidential debate. His opponent, Biden, was expected to be tested on Oct. 2.
As social media erupted in banter about the president’s positive test results, even his more vocal critics remained unsure on just how to react.
“Not gonna lie,” Dr. Leigh-Ann Webb, a National Newspaper Publishers Association Coronavirus Task Force member, wrote. “As a healthcare provider, there’s something sad about an entire timeline filled with people celebrating Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis.”
“Being angry doesn’t mean you wish ill on the president,” journalist Jemele Hill tweeted. “But the hope is that this will be a big wakeup call for the people who carelessly followed his lead.”
Mocking Trump for his never-ending bravado in which the president portends that everything he does is more remarkable than anyone or anything, journalist Matt Danzico deadpanned: “He tested positive better than anyone in history – probably. I don’t know the guy. But I hear, I hear he tested positive better than anyone in history.”
One Twitter user predicted two weeks earlier that Trump would pretend to have the virus because his poll numbers were so dismal.
In a screen-capture from a Sept. 18 tweet, John Cammo wrote, “Trump’s October surprise would be the announcement of ‘his infection.’ Fake, but quite dramatic.”
Cammo further predicted that for two weeks, Trump would dominate the news cycle because of the virus and then emerge “100 percent cured by hydroxychloroquine.”
With Trump returning to the White House, unanswered questions remained at press time, including whether the two remaining scheduled debates with Biden would proceed; if or when the president could resume campaigning with just weeks before the Nov. 3 election; and whether he would have the stamina to continue his plan to pressure the U.S. Senate into confirming his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.