US President Donald Trump says he will be released from hospital later on Monday, four days after being admitted with Covid-19. Just before a scheduled briefing from his doctors, Mr Trump tweeted he would be leaving at 18:30 (22:30 GMT), adding that he felt “really good”.
But questions remain over the seriousness of Trump’s illness and the true scale of the outbreak at the White House remains unclear.
“Feeling really good!” Trump tweeted. “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!!”
There are more than 7.4 million Covid-19 cases in the US and the virus has killed nearly 210,000 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, the president’s doctors avoided specifics of his care, but said he was doing well and would receive another dose of remdesivir before being discharged.
The president’s discharge comes as more new cases have been reported among White House staff. At least 12 people close to Trump have now tested positive, as have several junior staff members.
Many of the people who have tested positive around President Trump attended a meeting at the White House on September 26 that is being scrutinised as a possible “super-spreader event”.
The White House has not revealed how many staff members have tested positive since Trump’s own diagnosis.
Dr Sean Conley, the White House physician, said Trump “may not entirely be out of the woods yet”, but that the medical team agreed the president’s status and progress “support his safe return home, where he’ll be surrounded by world-class medical care 24/7”.
He refused to answer questions about when Trump last received a negative test or to go into the specifics of his treatment. He would not offer details regarding the president’s scans to check for pneumonia, citing patient protection laws.
Dr Conley did confirm that Trump is still on the steroid dexamethasone and has received three doses of remdesivir. He will receive another before discharge and a fifth at the White House.
When asked about whether Trump was safe to travel for campaign events, Dr Conley said: “We’ll see.”
He also affirmed that he was concerned about his own exposure to the virus while aboard Air Force One.
But Trump’s medical team repeatedly emphasised how well the president was doing, in Monday’s briefing.
“We remain cautiously optimistic,” Dr Conley said, adding that Mr Trump received therapies very early on. “If we can get through to (next) Monday with him remaining the same or improving, better yet, then we will all take that final deep sigh of relief.”