By JON HAWORTH and MATT ZARRELL, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump’s condition is continuing to improve as he fights a coronavirus infection, doctors say, and he may be able to leave Walter Reed Medical Center as early as Monday — even as details emerge that the president allegedly initially tested positive for COVID-19 earlier than he acknowledged.
Doctors also reported that Trump, over the course of exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, had earlier experienced two episodes of “transient drops” in his oxygen saturation.
Yet the president was feeling well enough Sunday evening to briefly leave Walter Reed for a surprise drive-by, waving to supporters outside the hospital.
Administration member Judd Deere subsequently put out a statement saying that, “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.”
There have been no updates on Trump’s condition from his physicians since earlier in the day, when they told reporters he could be released as early as Monday.
Meanwhile, numerous questions remain about how many people at the highest levels of government had been exposed to the virus after a week of events involving the president where social distancing and mask-wearing were lax in the White House and elsewhere.
Here is how the news is developing Monday. All times Eastern:
Oct 05, 7:18 pm
Trump arrives at the White House, takes off his mask
Marine One landed on the White House South Lawn at 6:53 p.m. Trump, again, did not stop and talk to reporters but made a dramatic return without speaking a word.
He, instead, walked up the steps of White House, faced the cameras and took off his mask — in an apparent effort to project strength and flout public health protocols as he continues to battle COVID-19. Trump also gave a thumbs up and an extended salute to Marine One, before walking inside the residence.
The president is returning to a White House plagued by COVID-19 as 18 people in Trump’s orbit have reported testing positive since last week.
Multiple White House sources told ABC News there is “a full-blown freak-out” in the administration waiting to see who will be next to test positive — with aides not trusting each other and some trying to find ways to avoid coming into work.
Oct 05, 7:11 pm
Trump departing Walter Reed for White House
After spending three nights in the hospital, Trump is departing Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, en route to the White House, despite not having completed his full COVID-19 treatment.
Trump — in a mask — surrounded by Secret Service — walked out of the hospital at 6:38 p.m. ET and waved to reporters as he entered a vehicle to take him to Marine One.
He did not answer shouted questions from the press on the health of his staff.
The president tweeted shortly before his departure that he “Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!!”
Earlier in the day, the president’s physician said he supported Trump’s move to the White House but also acknowledged the president is “not necessarily out of the woods yet” and that he is on “uncharted territory” in terms of his treatment.
Guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention say that transporting a patient “outside of their room should be limited to medically essential purposes.”
Trump arrived on Friday evening after announcing at 12:54 a.m. on Twitter that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Oct 05, 6:27 pm
VP debate will have plexiglass between candidates
After a request from Sen. Kamala Harris’, D-Calif., team, there will be plexiglass between the candidates at Wednesday night’s vice presidential debate, Frank Fahrenkopf, the chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates told ABC News.
Fahrenkopf also told ABC News that any guests who are not wearing a mask will be escorted out of the debate.
“They’ve got to wear a mask, and if they take their mask off they’re gonna be escorted out, and I don’t care who they are, they’ll be escorted out,” Fahrenkopf said.
Vice President Mike Pence’s communications director, Katie Miller, responded to the move with a statement that said, “If Sen. Harris wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it.”
Miller tested positive for COVID-19 in May.
-ABC News’ Averi Harper and Justin Gomez
Oct 05, 5:41 pm
Trump will fly from Walter Reed to White House
The White House issued an updated public schedule that said President Trump would depart the Walter Reed “emergency landing zone” at 6:30 p.m. and arrive on the White House South Lawn at 6:40 p.m.
Oct 05, 5:04 pm
Trump still plans to attend next week’s presidential debate: Campaign
Following the announcement that Trump is planning to leave Walter Reed Medical Center and return to the White House Monday evening, the Trump campaign has confirmed that the president still plans to attend the next presidential debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden, despite his currently battling COVID-19.
“Yes. It is the president’s intention to debate,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told ABC News Monday afternoon.
The debate is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 15 in Miami — two weeks from when the president first reported testing positive for the coronavirus.
Earlier on Monday at a briefing outside Walter Reed, the president’s physician Dr. Sean Conley was asked about Trump’s potential return to the campaign trail.
He said, “As far as travel goes, we will see.”
ABC News’ Will Steakin contributed to this report.
Oct 05, 4:57 pm
White House making workspace changes for Trump’s return
The White House is preparing the Map Room and Diplomatic Reception Room as a remote working space for the president, a senior administration official told ABC News. These rooms are in the residence.
The news was first reported by Politico.
-ABC News’ John Santucci
Oct 05, 3:56 pm
Trump received oxygen treatment twice
Dr. Conley, when questioned, told reporters that Trump had two episodes that required he receive oxygen treatment and “recovered immediately.”
On Sunday Conley would only confirm there was one time where Trump needed oxygen but said he would need to check with the nurses assisting with the president’s treatment.
“He wasn’t short of breath, he wasn’t looking ill. It was more of us trying to anticipate needs and see how he’d respond, and both cases he came right off. He didn’t need it for very long at all,” Conley said.
Oct 05, 3:41 pm
‘In a bit of uncharted territory’ with Trump treatment
Dr. Conley, the president’s physician, was asked about concerns of Trump’s symptoms becoming worse after he is discharged and said the team remains “cautiously optimistic” and “on guard.”
“We are in a bit of uncharted territory when it comes to a patient that received therapies he has so early in the course,” he said. “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.”
Oct 05, 3:35 pm
Trump ‘probably’ met discharge requirements yesterday, doctor says
Trump “probably met most of his discharge requirements” from the hospital yesterday, Dr. Conley said, noting that Trump is returning to the White House medical unit that is staffed 24/7 with doctors and nurses.
Asked about control measures being taken around the president, Dr. Conley said the medical and security staff surrounding Trump are wearing full personal protective equipment.
The Secret Service agents were “in that same level of PPE for a very short period of time” yesterday — likely referencing Trump’s drive-by of supporters outside the hospital on Sunday.
“We’ve worked with our infectious disease experts to make some recommendations for how to keep everything safe, down at the White House, for the president and those around him,” Conley said.
Oct 05, 3:26 pm
Trump still taking remdesivir, dexamethasone
Trump receieved a third dose of remdesivir on Monday morning and he “tolerated that infusion without difficulty,” Dr. Brian Garibaldi told reporters on Monday.
“Our plan is to give the fourth dose of remdesivir this evening before he goes back to the White House and we’ve made arrangements to delvier the fifth and final dose of his treatment course at the White House tomorrow evening,” he said.
Trump also continues to take the steroid dexamethasone.
Oct 05, 3:22 pm
Trump ‘may not entirely be out of the woods yet,’ doctor says
Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s physician, told reporters on Monday that it’s been more than 72 hours since Trump had a fever, his oxygen levels and breathing are all normal.
Conley noted that Trump “may not entirely be out of the woods yet” but the medical team agrees that their evaluations and Trump’s clinical status support his return home where “he’ll be surrounded by world class medical care 24/7.”
Oct 05, 3:16 pm
Trump has met or exceeded all discharge criteria
President Donald Trump will be discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday, the president’s medical team announced.
Over the last 24 hours the president has “continued to improve” and has “met or exceeded all discharge criteria.”
Trump will be given another dose of remdesivir at the hospital and then be discharged back to the White House.
Oct 05, 2:54 pm
More White House staff working remotely Monday, official says
White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern told reporters on Monday that more White House staff are working remotely Monday after a number of staff members, including press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and two other press officials, tested positive for the coronavirus.
“When a case is identified and people are — think they may be potentially exposed, you step up the precautions. That’s exactly what we’ve been advised to do by the health professionals, so that’s what we’re doing,” he said.
Morgenstern would not directly say if the White House was having any second thoughts about how they’ve handled the COVID-19 precautions and claimed the administration has been following health professionals’ recommendations.
“We’ve been in the pandemic now for many months. We know what to do when someone gets sick. It’s we reassess, has anybody been in close contact, do they need to get another test, do they need to work remotely — that’s what we’re seeing. Kayleigh’s carrying it out, really being a perfect example of that right now,” he said.
Asked why White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany hadn’t quarantined after having close contact with Hope Hicks, who tested positive last week, Morgenstern said the White House’s practice was only to quarantine if you were having “any symptoms or a positive test yourself.”
He denied the White House had been flouting COVID recommendations.
“We’ve been taking the precautions that we need to take,” he said. “That’s what we’re doing right now in response to changing circumstances,” he said.
Morgenstern declined to say how many people in the West Wing have tested positive for COVID-19.
– ABC News’ Ben Gittleson
Oct 05, 2:42 pm
Trump says he will leave hospital Monday evening.
President Trump tweeted that he will leave Walter Reed Medical Center at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.
“Don’t be afraid of Covid,” the president said. “Don’t let it dominate your life.”
Oct 05, 2:09 pm
Trump medical team to give update on president
The medical team treating President Trump will hold a press briefing during the 3 p.m. hour at Walter Reed Medical Center, according to White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere.
Oct 05, 1:11 pm
Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Mark Meadows test negative for coronavirus on Monday.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, along with Trump advisers Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, have all tested negative for the coronavirus on Monday.
Oct 05, 1:02 pm
2 others in White House press office also test positive
In addition to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany testing positive for the coronavirus, two other staff members in the press office have also come back positive.
Chad Gilmartin and assistant press secretary Karoline Leavitt have both tested positive, sources told ABC News. Gilmartin’s positive test came back over the weekend, sources said.
Leavitt’s desk is an an open, small central area in the “Lower Press” section of the White House press office, near the briefing room — dozens of reporters, White House staffers and others typically pass through that area daily.
Gilmartin and McEnany sit in the “Upper Press” area — a couple stairs and a ramp from where Leavitt sits.
ABC News’ Ben Gittleson and John Santucci.
Oct 05, 12:28 pm
McEnany spoke repeatedly to reporters in recent days without a mask
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who announced she tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday morning, was speaking with reporters Sunday evening — without a mask on — following an appearance on FOX News at the White House.
Despite her recent interactions with reporters, McEnany says in a statement that “no reporters, producers, or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House Medical Unit.”
As McEnany approached reporters Sunday evening, she removed her mask before taking three questions.
McEnany also held a briefing with reporters indoors on Thursday, prior to the president’s trip to New Jersey — she was one of four aides pulled from the Bedminster trip because of her exposure to Hope Hicks, who tested positive on Wednesday, but did not strictly quarantine. McEnany said she had tested negative that day.
And on Friday, she also spoke with reporters without wearing a mask — she wore one as she approached reporters but then took it off before speaking with them.
There is no indication that McEnany has spent any time at Walter Reed since the president was transferred there Friday.
ABC News’ Jordyn Phelps and Ben Gittleson.
Oct 05, 12:12 pm
Trump ‘ready to get back to work,’ Graham says
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he spoke with President Trump on Monday morning, saying he “sounds terrific,” “very engaged” and is “ready to get back to work.”
Graham, who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee overseeing the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, said Trump is excited about Barrett being confirmed to the high court.
Just spoke with President @realDonaldTrump and he sounds terrific — very engaged and ready to get back to work!
He’s also very excited about Judge Amy Coney Barrett being confirmed to the Supreme Court and focused on a good deal to help stimulate the economy.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 5, 2020
Oct 05, 11:40 am
White House press secretary says she’s positive for COVID-19
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted on Monday that she has tested positive for the coronavirus.
McEnany said she had consistently tested negative every day since Thursday, but the positive result came back on Monday morning.
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) October 5, 2020
She said she is not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms and will begin the quarantine process.
Oct 05, 11:00 am
First lady says she is ‘feeling good’
First lady Melania Trump said she is “feeling good & will continue to rest at home” in a tweet she posted Monday morning.
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.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) October 5, 2020
President Trump announced early Friday morning that he and Melania Trump had both tested positive for the coronavirus.
Melania Trump has stayed at the White House since her positive test, while President Trump has been at Walter Reed Medical Center since Friday afternoon. Doctors are hopeful the president will be discharged later Monday.
Oct 05, 10:32 am
Vice President Pence, wife test negative Monday
Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence both tested negative for the coronavirus on Monday, according to an official in the vice president’s office.
“Both the vice president and second lady are negative again today,” the official said.
Oct 05, 9:56 am
White House urges staff to keep distance if sick days after positive cases
Staff at the White House were urged to stay home if they were sick days after President Trump and some of his advisers tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an email sent to the staff and obtained by ABC News.
One of Trump’s closest advisers Hope Hicks was the first White House official to test positive on Wednesday, sources told ABC News. On Tuesday, she had traveled with the president on Air Force One to and from the debate and was seen in social media posts watching the debate in a “war room.”
Trump and first lady Melania Trump announced they had tested positive for the coronavirus early Friday morning.
In addition to Hicks and the president, three other participants in debate preparations at the White House last Monday have tested positive: Campaign manager Bill Stepien, former adviser Kellyanne Conway and former New Jersey governor and ABC contributor Chris Christie.
The email to White House staff urges them to stay home if “you are experiencing symptoms such as sore throat, cough, fever, headache, new loss of taste or smell, muscle aches, chills, diarrhea, or difficulty breathing.”
-ABC News’ John Santucci
Oct 05, 8:43 am
Meadows ‘optimistic’ Trump will be released from hospital today
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told ABC News the determination whether to release President Trump from Walter Reed Medical Center will be made later on Monday between the president and his medical team.
While a determination has not been made as of yet, Meadows says he’s “optimistic” Trump will be back at the White House later in the day on Monday.
Doctors on Sunday also said at a press briefing that they were hopeful that Trump could be released on Monday.
Oct 05, 8:26 am
Trump appeals to voters in tweets from hospital suite
President Trump, who is still at Walter Reed Medical Center receiving treatment for the coronavirus, fired off a series of voting and election-related tweets on Monday morning.
PRO LIFE! VOTE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2020
SPACE FORCE. VOTE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2020
Trump tweeted about tax cuts and what he says would happen if Democrats were in charge.
IF YOU WANT A MASSIVE TAX INCREASE, THE BIGGEST IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY (AND ONE THAT WILL SHUT OUR ECONOMY AND JOBS DOWN), VOTE DEMOCRAT!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2020
He also appealed to voters in Virginia, where Trump claims the governor is trying to “obliterate your Second Amendment.”
Virginia Voters! Your Governor wants to obliterate your Second Amendment. I have stopped him. I am the only thing between you and your Second Amendment. Working hard in Virginia. It’s IN PLAY. Better Vote for your favorite President, or wave goodbye to low taxes and gun rights!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2020
Oct 05, 8:08 am
Walter Reed physician raises concerns about dangers of Trump’s drive-by outside hospital
Dr. James Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University Hospital and a non-military attending physician at Walter Reed Medical Center, spoke to Amy Robach on ABC News’ Good Morning America on Monday about the potential consequences involved in the president’s SUV ride near Walter Reed in Bethesda, Maryland.
Philips, who is not treating the president, tweeted on Sunday that he thought the event was “insanity” and that it risked the health and lives of the Secret Service agents involved in the spectacle. He expanded on his thought process early Monday morning.
“I have serious concerns that in any automobile, masks or not masks, there’s a very high risk of transmission,” said Philips. “And then add into the mix that that’s not any vehicle. That’s a hermetically-sealed vehicle that is designed to be impenetrable to chemical attacks. Therefore the amount of circulation inside is even poorer than we would expect from a normal vehicle. And as a physician, we look at the decisions we make as risks versus benefits.”
Philips continued: “I don’t know what the benefits of this political stunt were, but I do know what the risks were. And my concern is that perhaps the secret service agents that were inside don’t know the full risk of what they were up against there and what the real threats were. And so far as the military and Johns Hopkins physicians who are taking care of this patient, they’re excellent. But they’re also under undue pressure and a lot of influence outside of that normal physician-patient relationship.”
When Philips was asked about whether or not the American public should be concerned about the information they are receiving about the president’s health, Philips said that the doctors and nurses involved in Trump’s care have the utmost of integrity.
“The president is a patient,” explained Philips. “He has a right to privilege. But it’s difficult whenever the information provided to the constituents is filtered through a lens of trying to paint a rosy picture. And I don’t think that people were being dishonest. I just think that there’s difficulty whenever you’re pressured to say certain things and thrust into a job that these doctors were never expected to be thrust into.”
Oct 05, 4:53 am
President wants to leave hospital as soon as possible
Sources tell ABC News that President Trump was in good spirits Sunday, and was insisting that he wants to leave Walter Reed Medical Center as soon as possible.
Aides are pushing Trump to relax, sources say.
A timetable on Trump’s release was still not finalized as of Sunday night, sources said. Doctors said earlier Sunday that Trump could leave the hospital as early as Monday.
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