October 27, 2020

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Trump says he will leave hospital Monday, urges people not to fear the deadly virus

President Donald Trump said that he will be leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at 6:30 p.m. ET on Monday, just three days after he entered the hospital to be treated for the coronavirus.

Trump, in a tweet, said he is “feeling really good,” and told his nearly 87 million followers, “Don’t be afraid of Covid.”

Nearly 210,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the United States.

In a press briefing following the tweet, Trump’s doctors said that the president’s condition has “continued to improve” over the past 24 hours.

But “he may not entirely be out of the woods yet,” Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, cautioned.

Minutes before announcing his imminent departure, Trump defended his decision Sunday to make a drive-by appearance in front of a group of his supporters outside the hospital. Health experts had condemned the move, noting that the president, who is possibly still infectious, may have put Secret Service members at risk.

“It is reported that the Media is upset because I got into a secure vehicle to say thank you to the many fans and supporters who were standing outside of the hospital for many hours, and even days, to pay their respect to their President,” Trump tweeted Monday afternoon.

“If I didn’t do it, Media would say RUDE!!!”

Trump will be leaving Walter Reed as a growing list of officials in his administration test positive for the virus.

Earlier Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced that she had tested positive for Covid-19 and would begin a “quarantine process.” The same day, it was revealed that two of her deputies also tested positive.

At least 18 people in the White House, or connected to Trump’s reelection campaign or to recent White House events, have tested positive for Covid-19 since late last week.

Trump’s personal battle with the virus came after spending months downplaying the threat of the pandemic and at times questioning, or simply ignoring, the strict social distancing measures that have been recommended by health experts or implemented by state leaders.

The president has even mocked his reelection opponent for taking the precautions extolled by health experts in his own administration.

With less than a month to go until the Nov. 3 election, polls show former Vice President Joe Biden extending his lead over Trump in the wake of the candidates’ brutal first debate last week.

The Biden campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s tweet.

Since announcing his diagnosis early Friday morning, the president has been unable to forge ahead with his heavy campaign schedule, nor has he been able to lead the signature in-person campaign rallies that helped propel him to victory in 2016.

The same day he revealed that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for Covid-19, Trump left the White House for Walter Reed. While officials initially said Trump was experiencing only “mild” symptoms, it was shortly revealed that the president was being treated with numerous drug therapies.

On Sunday, Trump’s doctors said they had begun treating him with the steroid dexamethasone. His physician, Dr. Sean Conley, had already revealed that the president has taken the experimental antiviral therapy remdesivir, along with zinc, vitamin D, melatonin, a daily aspirin and the histamine blocker famotidine. Trump has also taken an experimental antibody cocktail from pharmaceutical giant Regeneron, Conley said.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

— CNBC’s Christina Wilkie contributed to this report.