October 4 Trump Covid-19 news

By Ben Westcott, Brett McKeehan, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt, Fernando Alfonso III, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 1:15 p.m. ET, October 5, 2020
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6:25 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

The White House press pool was not notified about Trump's movement outside of Walter Reed 

From CNN's Gregory Clary

President Donald Trump waves to supporters outside of Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on October 4.
President Donald Trump waves to supporters outside of Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on October 4. Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

The White House press pool was not notified about President Trump’s movement outside of Walter Reed medical center, according to the latest pool report.

There was a travel photo lid issued by the White House earlier today, indicating the President would not be seen in public.

It is highly irregular for the press pool not to accompany the President during a movement. 

Watch CNN coverage:

6:08 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

Trump is back at the Walter Reed medical center

From CNN’s Allie Malloy

President Trump has returned to Walter Reed medical center, according to a statement from White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere, provided to the pool.

“President Trump took a short, last-minute motorcade ride to wave to his supporters outside and has now returned to the Presidential Suite inside Walter Reed,” Deere said.

 

5:48 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

Trump in Twitter video: "It's been a very interesting journey"

From CNN’s Allie Malloy

President Trump also announced in a new video that he is getting “great reports” from his doctors and said it’s “been a very interesting journey” since getting Covid-19.

“So it’s been a very interesting journey. I learned a lot about Covid,” Trump said in the video released on his Twitter page. 

“I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school. This isn’t the let’s read the book school and I get it. And I understand it. And it’s a very interesting thing. I’m gonna be letting you know about it. In the meantime, we love the USA and we love what’s happening," he said.

Trump said while in the hospital he was also able to meet “some of the soldiers and great responders.” He didn’t explain further on those meetings.

On his surprise visit passing supporters in a motorcade outside Walter Reed medical center, Trump said: “I’m not telling anybody but you but I’m about to make a little surprise visit. So perhaps I’ll get there before you get to see me. But I just, when I look at the enthusiasm- and we have enthusiasm like probably nobody’s ever had.”

 

6:17 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

Trump passes supporters in motorcade outside Walter Reed

From CNN’s Allie Malloy and Maeve Reston

President Donald Trump waves to supporters outside Walter Reed Medical Center on Sunday, October 4 in Bethesda, Maryland.
President Donald Trump waves to supporters outside Walter Reed Medical Center on Sunday, October 4 in Bethesda, Maryland. CNN

President Trump just rode past supporters in front of Walter Reed medical center.

CNN captured the President waving from inside a SUV.

"We just saw the President drive by in the motorcade to wave to supporters. It was a stunning scene. We didn't get any notification, of course. Initially they started to block off a part of the street right here in front of Walter Reed national military medical center. And then the President's motorcade proceeded to drive down one side of the street where you have several dozen of the President's supporters," CNN's Jeremy Diamond, who is on the scene outside Walter Reed, said. 

"The motorcade drove by at a pretty slow pace and the supporters here for the President went wild as they saw this happen," Diamond added.

The image of Trump, wearing a mask but in close contact with others, only raised more questions about how seriously the President is taking the virus.

Watch:

6:12 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

Trump says in video on Twitter he's going to make a "surprise visit"

From CNN’s Allie Malloy

President Donald Trump shares a video from Walter Reed Medical Center on Sunday, October 4.
President Donald Trump shares a video from Walter Reed Medical Center on Sunday, October 4. Donald J. Trump/Twitter

President Trump said in a video posted on his Twitter account that he's going to make a "surprise visit" after talking about supporters outside of Walter Reed medical center.

Watch here:

1:15 p.m. ET, October 5, 2020

US diplomatic posts have not received guidance on how to discuss Trump's condition

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

A State Department official said that as of Sunday afternoon US diplomatic posts had not received guidance on how to talk about President Trump’s condition.

The official said typically when something important happens, the posts will receive guidance but sometimes it takes time. They also noted that the President having a major medical situation is not typical. They expected that the posts would get guidance in the coming days, but did not know for sure.

This official noted the diplomatic importance of the administration providing clear and accurate information. 

“If there were straightforward information put out that would be helpful,” they said. 

“Governments look to us for some stability so they will be eager for information that allows them to assess where things stand,” they said, adding that there’s not a sense of confidence currently.  

However, they also noted that “there’s a lot of experience among most of our government contacts at dealing with a very unconventional chaotic approach to information” over the past four years.

CNN on Monday obtained a diplomatic cable sent to posts Saturday about what America’s diplomats abroad could say about President Trump being diagnosed with Covid-19, but it gave no guidance about the health status of the president who was at Walter Reed hospital by the time the cable was sent.

The guidance makes it clear that America’s diplomats are not expected to discuss the specifics about Trump’s health status or the fact that he had been brought to the hospital on Friday night, after receiving additional oxygen after his oxygen levels had rapidly dropped.

One State Department official who received the cable told CNN that some diplomats were only forwarded the guidance from their bosses who received it on Monday when they got to work. 

This post has been updated with additional reporting. 

4:45 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

Trump is taking a steroid drug for coronavirus. That could be serious, doctors say

From CNN's Maggie Fox and Shelby Lin Erdman

Dr. Brian Garibaldi speaks with reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 4 in Bethesda, Maryland.
Dr. Brian Garibaldi speaks with reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 4 in Bethesda, Maryland. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

One of the physicians treating President Trump, Dr. Brian Garibaldi, said Sunday the President is being given the steroid drug dexamethasone as part of his Covid-19 treatment.

It's an indication that Trump's condition is worrying, as the drug should not be given to anyone who is not ill enough to justify the downsides of taking steroids -- including that it suppresses the immune system.

"We decided that in this case the potential benefits, early on in the course, probably outweighed the risks at this time," White House physician Dr. Sean Conley told reporters outside Walter Reed medical center Sunday.

Some more background on this drug: At least one large, randomized study has shown coronavirus patients do better if they are given dexamethasone, a cheap and widely available corticosteroid drug that tamps down dangerous inflammation. 

The National Institutes of Health says in its guidelines on treating coronavirus infections that "patients with severe Covid-19 can develop a systemic (all-of-body) inflammatory response that can lead to lung injury and multisystem organ dysfunction." Based on the results of the one trial, the NIH panel of experts recommended giving dexamethasone to Covid-19 patients who need oxygen. 

"The panel recommends against using dexamethasone for the treatment of Covid-19 in patients who do not require supplemental oxygen," the NIH guidelines read.

In the study on dexamethasone, which was conducted in Britain, about 23% of patients who got dexamethasone died, compared to about 26% of those who did not.

Read more here.

4:03 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

White House communications aide commits to sharing West Wing Covid-19 numbers

From CNN's Allie Malloy

White House communications aide Alyssa Farah speaks with a reporter at the White House on October 4 in Washington, DC.
White House communications aide Alyssa Farah speaks with a reporter at the White House on October 4 in Washington, DC. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

White House communications aide Alyssa Farah told reporters that the White House will share the number of positive Covid-19 tests in the West Wing going forward.

“We’re giving updates as we have them about numbers within the West Wing and initiating contact tracing,” Farah said while speaking to reporters on the north lawn Sunday.

When asked whether those numbers could be shared with reporters, Farah said: “Okay let me make sure I have the most accurate information and I’ll circle up and get it to the pool.”

Farah wouldn’t comment on the New York Times reporting that two members of the residence staff tested positive for the coronavirus roughly three weeks ago, saying she wouldn’t comment on private citizens.

3:30 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

White House pushes back against allegations of mixed messaging around the President's health  

From CNN's Sam Fossum

White House Director of Strategic Communications Alyssa Farah waits to speak on FOX News outside the White House on October 4 in Washington, DC.
White House Director of Strategic Communications Alyssa Farah waits to speak on FOX News outside the White House on October 4 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The White House has pushed back against allegations of mixed messaging after two briefings from the President's physicians at Walter Reed medical center have left the public with more questions than answers on the status of President Trump's health.  

"Just candidly we've provided three letter updates from Dr. Conley who's given two on camera briefings, the President has spoken directly on camera twice. We've had Chief of Staff Meadows and Kayleigh give briefings, we're going to continue to do this you have my commitment you'll get regular updates," White House spokesperson Alyssa Farah told reporters after an interview on Fox News. 

Farah also tried to explain the discrepancy between what White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and the President's doctors told reporters on Saturday as a "snapshot in time."

"It's kind of a snapshot in time. Saturday the President was doing extremely well, Friday was a little bit more concerning, but he continues to trend upward," Farah said Sunday. "So, Dr. Conley was giving an update from that morning. The other point I would make, which was what Conley alluded to, is when you're treating a patient, you want to project confidence, you want to lift their spirits and that was the intent, but of course Chief of Staff Meadows came out to give you guys more information just to try to be as transparent as you can be throughout this." 

However, when Meadows first approached reporters on Saturday his comments to the press pool at Walter Reed were on background, not on the record. 

"We can trust the information he's giving but if we later have supplementary information you have my commitment, we'll get that to you," Farah said of Dr. Conley. 

When asked on Fox News about Conley's acknowledgement today that he wasn't as forthcoming yesterday with information about the President's health, she said the White House is "committed" to transparency but wanted to be careful with the information they share. 

"We're committed to being transparent with the public, but what I've learned in these moments is that accuracy is more important than speed," Farah said. 

On reports that Meadows is in the doghouse with Trump following the confusing messages coming from the administration on Saturday, she emphatically denied them. 

"No, absolutely not, Mark Meadows has barely left the President's side," Farah said. "He has been at Walter Reed, hours a day working with him, bringing him different documents he's had to sign, briefing him on giving him Hill updates. Honestly, if anything, I think the chief of staff's comments reflect how close their relationship is that he's so close to this individual when he sees him in, you know not feeling well not his tough strong self that we all know, that he wanted to make sure to convey that to the public."