A timeline of Trump’s battle with Covid-19President Donald Trump leaves the White House on Friday, October 2, on his way to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He announced earlier in the day that he had tested positive for Covid-19. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump announced Friday, October 2, that he and the first lady had tested positive for coronavirus, a stunning development that threw the country's leadership in turmoil and lent new uncertainty to the unfolding presidential race.
Later that day, Trump was transferred to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he spent the weekend and received various treatments. He returned to the White House on Monday, October 5.
More than a dozen members of Trump’s circle also tested positive, including press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, senior adviser Stephen Miller, campaign manager Bill Stepien and assistant to the President Nicholas Luna.
Monday, October 12
White House physician Sean Conley said Monday that the President has tested negative for Covid-19 on consecutive days and that he is “not infectious to others.”
The doctor’s assessment came moments after Trump was seen boarding Air Force One without a mask on his way to Sanford, Florida, where he held a rally with a large group of supporters, many of whom were not wearing masks.
Saturday, October 10
Trump, in his first public event since he was diagnosed with the coronavirus, gave a brief campaign-style speech from the balcony of the White House.
The President invited some 2,000 people for the speech.
The large gathering followed Trump’s acknowledgment during a televised interview Friday that he may have contracted the virus at one of the recent events at the White House.
Wednesday, October 7
Trump returned to the Oval Office, leaving his private quarters where he had been isolating. The White House said he was being briefed on stimulus talks and a looming hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.
In a memo released midday, Trump's doctor reported that the President had been symptom-free for 24 hours. But the memo declined to provide critical information such as when Trump last tested negative, what his lung scans show and whether he is still on the steroid dexamethasone or any other medications that could be masking his symptoms.
In a taped video message made by the White House and released Wednesday evening, Trump talked about his stay at Walter Reed and said he is feeling much better. He said he would work to ensure the experimental combination of drugs he was administered — including a high dose of an experimental antibody cocktail from the drugmaker Regeneron — was made available at no cost to other Americans.
“It was like, unbelievable,” he said of the Regeneron cocktail. “I felt good immediately. I felt as good three days ago as I do now.”
Trump has ties to the drugmaker. He and Regeneron CEO Dr. Leonard Schleifer are acquainted: The CEO has been a member at Trump's golf club in Westchester, New York, and his company also received $450 million in government funding in July as part of the President's Operation Warp Speed plan to quickly develop a vaccine and other treatments for Covid-19.
Tuesday, October 6
The President was isolating in the White House residence, where temporary office facilities were set up adjacent to the building’s basement medical suite. Doctors were continuing to monitor his vital signs, and he was expected to receive an intravenous dose of the antiviral remdesivir on Tuesday night.
At least three additional staff members, including senior adviser Stephen Miller, were revealed to have tested positive on Tuesday. The atmosphere inside the White House was described by one official as "chaotic," largely because many people were working remotely and the President was calling the shots. The West Wing remained largely vacant.
Monday, October 5
Trump returned to the White House after spending three nights at Walter Reed.
"Though 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'll be surrounded by world-class medical care," White House physician Sean Conley said.
Conley said it had been more than 72 hours since Trump’s last fever, and he said Trump’s oxygen levels and breathing “are all normal.” He confirmed that Trump needed supplemental oxygen twice.
Trump tweeted that he was “feeling really good” as he announced he would be leaving the hospital.
“Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life,” he said. “We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
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.
Sunday, October 4
In the midst of his treatment, Trump briefly left the hospital with his security detail so he could ride past supporters cheering him on outside.
From the back of his SUV, Trump waved to his supporters through the window while wearing a mask.
Also on Sunday, Conley held a briefing that raised more questions than answers about the President's condition.
The White House physician failed to answer basic questions about the President's condition, and he admitted that in his news conference Saturday he had omitted alarming drops in the President's oxygen levels. Conley said it was because he wanted to "reflect the upbeat attitude" that the team and the President had about his condition.
Conley said the President was “doing really well” and responding to treatment.
Saturday, October 3
In a video message from Walter Reed, Trump said he was "starting to feel good" and that he was receiving therapeutics he said are like "miracles coming down from God."
Conley told the media that the President had been "fever-free" for 24 hours and that his symptoms — which included an "extremely mild cough," nasal congestion and fatigue — "are resolving and improving."
A memo from Conley late Saturday said Trump has "made substantial progress since diagnosis" but "is not yet out of the woods.”
Friday, October 2
Trump emerged from the White House at 6:16 p.m. ET for his first public appearance since his diagnosis was announced. He walked under his own power to his waiting helicopter, which took him to Walter Reed.
After his arrival, the President posted an 18-second video to his Twitter account, seeking to reassure the American people he is doing "very well" after his coronavirus diagnosis.
"I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support,” he said. “I’m going to Walter Reed Hospital. I think I'm doing very well. We're going to make sure that things work out. The first lady is doing very well. So thank you very much, I appreciate it. I will never forget it. Thank you.”