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Trump back at White House after being discharged from Walter Reed

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Special Report: Trump returns to the White House after testing positive for coronavirus 29:57

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Washington — President Trump left Walter Reed Medical Center just after 6:30 p.m. ET on Monday, hours after the medical team treating him for COVID-19 cautioned that he's "not out of the woods yet." He got back to the White House shortly before 7 p.m., where he gave a thumbs up before walking inside and taking off his mask.

He soon tweeted a minute-long video from the balcony, saying he'd "learned so much about coronavirus" and believes he might be immune to it. "One thing that's for certain: Don't let it dominate you," he said of COVID-19. "Don't be afraid of it. You're going to beat it."

The president's attitude alarmed many infectious disease experts, who said he should have stressed precautions Americans should take to try to avoid getting the coronavirus.

Earlier Monday, Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, told reporters Mr. Trump will be "surrounded by world-class medical care, 24/7" at the White House.

He's being treated with dexamethasone, a powerful steroid recommended for use in severe cases of COVID-19. The drug can carry serious psychological side effects, but Conley said the president hasn't exhibited any of them. He repeatedly declined to provide specifics about the president's lung condition or the last time Mr. Trump tested negative for the virus, citing federal privacy laws.

Meanwhile, the outbreak at the White House continued as more staff members tested positive. Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Monday that she'd tested positive for COVID-19, and sources with knowledge of the matter confirmed to CBS News that one of her deputies had tested positive, as well.

Latest updates

APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Trump
President Donald Trump stands on the balcony outside of the Blue Room as returns to the White House Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington, after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md. Trump announced he tested positive for COVID-19 on October 2. Alex Brandon / AP

Disease experts alarmed by Trump's message

Mr. Trump immediately ignited a new controversy when he got back to the White House after being discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center Monday evening by declaring that, despite his illness, the nation shouldn't fear COVID-19.

Mr. Trump's message alarmed infectious disease experts and suggested his own illness hadn't caused him to rethink his often-cavalier attitude toward the disease.

"Don't be afraid of it," Mr. Trump said of the virus. "You're going to beat it. We have the best medical equipment, we have the best medicines."

"We have to be realistic in this: COVID is a complete threat to the American population," Dr. David Nace of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said of Mr. Trump's comment. "Most of the people aren't so lucky as the president," with an in-house medical unit and access to experimental treatments, added Nace, an expert on infections in older adults.

"It's an unconscionable message," agreed Dr. Sadiya Khan of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "I would go so far as to say that it may precipitate or worsen spread."

Likewise, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who spent more than 90 minutes on the debate stage with Mr. Trump last week, said during an NBC town hall Monday night that he was glad Mr. Trump seemed to be recovering well, "but there's a lot to be concerned about — 210,000 people have died. I hope no one walks away with the message that it's not a problem." Biden tested negative for the virus on Sunday.

By The Associated Press

Trump tweet angers pandemic survivors

Some survivors of COVID-19 and people who have lost loved ones to the pandemic are angry over President Trump's advice not to fear the disease. 

The world's most prominent coronavirus patient tweeted Monday that he's feeling great and that people shouldn't let COVID-19 dominate them. 

Seneca Nation member and New York resident Marc Papaj lost his mother, grandmother and aunt to the virus. He was finding it tough to follow the president's advice not to let the virus "dominate your life." On the contrary, he says his loss will forever dominate the rest of his life. 

At least 210,000 Americans have died from the virus since March. 

By The Associated Press

Trump and Biden campaigns take different approaches following president's diagnosis

Trump and Biden campaigns take different approaches following president's diagnosis 01:29

At Miami town hall, Biden says "I wasn't surprised" by Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis

President Trump's Democratic rival Joe Biden participated in a town hall in Miami on Monday night where he addressed the president's coronavirus diagnosis and the importance of wearing a face covering to help curb the spread of the virus.

"Quite frankly, I wasn't surprised," Biden said when asked about his initial reaction to Mr. Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis. He then went on to say, "Anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying masks don't matter ... social distance doesn't matter ... are responsible for what happens to them."

When asked about masks, Biden replied, "What is this macho thing, 'I'm not going to wear a mask?' What's the deal here? Big deal, does it hurt you? Be patriotic for God's sake! Take care of yourself, but take care of your neighbors."

Biden and Mr. Trump faced off in their first presidential debate in late September, during which the president mocked Biden for wearing a mask. The debate was widely described at the time as exhausting and chaotic.

Biden said earlier Monday that he is open to next week's debate with Mr. Trump — if it is deemed safe to do so.

"If the scientists say that it's safe and the distances are safe, then I think that's fine," Biden told reporters before leaving for Florida. "I'll do whatever the experts say is the appropriate thing to do."

— Bo Erickson contributed to this report.

By Peter Martinez

"Don't let it dominate you": Trump posts video from White House about COVID-19

President Trump tweeted a one-minute long video from the White House balcony, saying he "learned so much about coronavirus," and believes that he is possibly immune to the disease.

"One thing that's for certain: Don't let it dominate you," he said of COVID-19. "Don't be afraid of it. You're going to beat it. We have the best medical equipment, we have the best medicines, all developed recently. And you're going to beat it."

Mr. Trump said he "didn't feel so good," and then two days ago, he felt better than he did 20 years ago. 

"We're going back, we're going back to work," Mr. Trump said. "We're going to be out front. As your leader, I had to do that. I knew there's danger to it, but I had to do it. I stood out front, and led. Nobody's that's a leader would not do what I did. And I know there's a risk, there's a danger, but that's OK."

Mr. Trump speculated "now I'm better, maybe I'm immune, I don't know." He also said "the vaccines are coming momentarily." However, the director of the Centers for Disease Control said there won't be a vaccine widely available until mid-2021.

By Caroline Linton

Trump is back at the White House

Marine One landed at the White House shortly before 7 p.m. ET. Mr. Trump entered by the Blue Room, pausing to take off his mask and give two thumbs up.

APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Trump
President Donald Trump arrives back at the White House aboard Marine One, Monday evening, Oct. 5, 2020 in Washington, after being treated for COVID-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The president's personal physician, Dr. Sean Conley, told reporters on Monday afternoon that Trump is not out of the woods yet, but that there is no care at the hospital that the president cannot get at the White House. J. Scott Applewhite / AP
By Caroline Linton

Trump discharged from Walter Reed and headed back to White House

President Trump left Walter Reed Medical Center just after 6:30 p.m. ET on Monday. 

Mr. Trump walked out to an SUV and pumped his fist to the White House reporters, but he did not say anything. The SUV will take Mr. Trump to Marine One, which will fly him back to the White House. 

APTOPIX Trump Virus Outbreak
President Trump walks out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to return to the White House after receiving treatments for coronavirus, on Monday, October 5, 2020, in Bethesda, Maryland. Evan Vucci / AP
By Caroline Linton

Vice presidential debate will have plexiglass barriers

A source within the Biden campaign confirmed on Monday that the Commission on Presidential Debates had approved plexiglass barriers at the vice presidential debate on Wednesday. 

The news was first reported by Politico. Katie Miller, a spokeswoman for Vice President Mike Pence, told Politico "if Senator Harris wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it."

Tim Perry and Nicole Sganga 


Trump campaign says he intends to debate on October 15

Trump 2020 communications director Tim Murtaugh told CBS News that "it's the president's intention to debate" on October 15. Spokesperson Hogan Gidley also told Fox News that he "hopes" the debate will happen, but "doctors will dictate a lot of the president's movements going forward."

The White House has said Mr. Trump first tested positive for COVID-19 on October 1, two days after the last debate. His physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said Monday that Mr. Trump is being monitored to determine when he will no longer be infectious. 

"Routinely we talk about a 10-day window, you know CDC guidelines, but we're checking him more routinely than just waiting 10 days," Conley said. "There's a possibility it's earlier than that. There's a chance that it's a little bit later, but we will know as soon as possible. And then, we will look at him clinically, how are you feeling, how are you doing?"

Joe Biden, meanwhile, said he will debate Mr. Trump "if the scientists say that it's safe and the distances are safe."

Nicole Sganga and Caroline Linton 


Doctors defend decision to clear Trump's return to White House

Special Report: Doctors give update as Trump prepares to leave hospital 22:10

At the briefing outside Walter Reed, Conley and the rest of the president's medical team said Mr. Trump has "continued to improve" and "met or exceeded all standard hospital discharge criteria," allowing him to return to the White House after just three days in the hospital.

"We try to get patients out of the hospital as quickly as it is safe and reasonable," Conley said. "Every day that a patient stays in the hospital unnecessarily is a risk to themselves."

The doctors said the president was not complaining of any respiratory issues and last had a fever more than 72 hours ago. Mr. Trump will receive the fourth of five doses of the drug remdesivir before leaving Walter Reed later Monday, and continues to be treated with dexamethasone, a steroid.

"We send patients home with medicines all the time," Conley said. "He's returning to a facility, the White House medical unit, that's staffed 24/7, top-notch physicians, nurses, PAs, logisticians."

Conley faced repeated questions about the safety of discharging the president to the White House when he remains infectious, as well as the decision to allow him to ride in an SUV to wave to supporters on Sunday. Conley said those around the president have taken the necessary precautions to avoid contracting the virus.

"The president has been surrounded by medical and security staff for days, wearing full PPE," he said. "Yesterday the U.S. Secret Service agents were in the same level of PPE for a very short period of time."

Conley declined to answer questions about the president's lung scans and testing history, citing federal privacy laws. He added that the possibility of returning to the campaign trail remains uncertain.

"The big first thing that we need to do is [see] that there is no evidence of live virus still present that he could possibly transmit to others," he said.

By Stefan Becket

New Jersey governor says 184 of 206 attendees of "reckless" Trump fundraiser have been contacted

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said Monday that 184 of the 206 people who attended the fundraiser on October 1 at Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster have been contacted. Of the 206 attendees, Murphy said early numbers indicate about half were from New Jersey — and some attendees came as far away as Texas and Arizona.

At a press conference in Trenton, Murphy called the responses from attendees a "mixed bag," with some demanding to know how the state got their name. "The Republican National Committee, that's how we got your name," he said. 

Murphy slammed the federal response, saying that New Jersey "is taking the lead on this, even for folks not from New Jersey." Murphy said state officials got the list of attendees from the Republican National Committee on Friday afternoon, and the state contacted the White House on Friday. He said he heard about Mr. Trump's positive diagnosis when he saw news reports when he woke up on Friday. 

"We needed that trip not to happen and, number 2, we need more" from the federal government, Murphy said. 

Some White House staffers were informed that top Trump aide Hope Hicks tested positive on Thursday before the Bedminster trip and Hicks was prevented from traveling. Murphy called the fundraiser "reckless."

"We already have challenges, we don't need folks coming in knowing they've been exposed to a COVID-positive individual and be in the midst of a couple of hundred of people in New Jersey," Murphy said.

The state health department is in the process of contacting 19 staff members who worked the event, all of whom live in New Jersey. 

Murphy said the attorney general is investigating if the gathering violated the state's COVID-19 restrictions. He said early reports indicate that the event violated rules governing the amount of people allowed to be indoors and also food service rules, since buffets are not allowed. 

Murphy wouldn't say specifically what action will be taken if the event was found in violation of the restrictions.

New Jersey governor calls Trump fundraiser "completely reckless" 01:11
By Caroline Linton

White House press aide tests positive

Chad Gilmartin, principal assistant press secretary at the White House, tested positive for COVID-19 this weekend, sources with knowledge of the matter confirmed to CBS News. 

Gilmartin is one of McEnany's deputies and was in the briefing room last Thursday when McEnany briefed reporters.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany Holds Briefing
Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary, and aide Chad Gilmartin arrive for a news conference in the briefing room at the White House on Thursday, October 1, 2020. Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Fin Gómez

New Jersey contact tracers "frustrated" with RNC info on Trump fundraiser

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on President Trump's Bedminster event and mitigating crisis 05:54

Less than 24 hours after attending President Trump's fundraiser in Bedminster, New Jersey, Thursday, over 200 donors to the president's reelection bid found an alert in their email inboxes from the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee. The subject line of the email, sent at about 11 a.m. Friday was "Trump Victory."

"Dear Supporter," the letter read. "We cannot thank you enough for all you do for our president," the email read. "We unfortunately write today to notify you that, as you have probably seen, President Trump confirmed late last night that he and the First Lady were tested for COVID-19 and produced positive results." 

The four-paragraph email reminded supporters that "no attendees were allowed within 6 ft of President Trump at the event," but encouraged them to "please contact your medical provider if you or any of your loved ones is ill or develops a fever, shortness of breath, or other respiratory symptoms," all the same.

Mr. Trump's announcement early Friday morning that he had tested positive for COVID-19 left supporters at his last crowded public event at risk of potential exposure to the virus.

Around the same time Friday morning, GOP communications staff also received an email alert: a request from George Helmy, chief of staff to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, for a list of attendees and their contact information so that contact tracing could begin, officials on both sides confirmed. 

The governor's office told CBS News that it received 206 names from the RNC shortly afterward on Friday afternoon, but an official briefed on New Jersey's contact tracing project noted the GOP's disclosure was incomplete. According to the official, the only contact information provided by the RNC were the names and emails of attendees — no states, towns or telephone numbers were shared, despite the fact that donors had come from multiple states. 

Read more here.

By Nicole Sganga

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows tests negative

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was last tested for the coronavirus Monday morning and was negative, White House senior communications adviser Ben Williamson said.

In response to a tweet from a BuzzFeed News reporter asking when Meadows was last tested, Williamson said "this morning. Tested negative."

Meadows has been at Walter Reed while Mr. Trump is hospitalized there. He spoke with Fox News by telephone for an interview earlier Monday.

By Melissa Quinn

McEnany tests positive for COVID-19

Virus Outbreak Trump
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, talks to the media on Sunday, October 4, 2020, outside the White House in Washington. Jacquelyn Martin / AP

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany revealed she tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday morning.

"After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms," she said in a statement on Twitter. "No reporters, producers or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House Medical Unit."

McEnany said she did not know of Hope Hicks' diagnosis before she held a White House press briefing Thursday. She said she will quarantine and work remotely.

"As an essential worker, I have worked diligently to provide needed information to the American people at this time," she said.

The virus often takes several days to incubate. Other White House officials who have tested positive in the last several days include White House counselor Hope Hicks and Trump bodyguard Nick Luna, as well as other top figures in Trump's orbit.

McEnany last spoke with reporters in person Sunday after appearing on Fox News from the White House.

Read more here.

By Melissa Quinn

First lady says she's "feeling good" and continuing to rest

In a tweet, first lady Melania Trump thanked well-wishers for their support and said she would continue to remain at the White House after testing positive last week:

By Stefan Becket

Pence again tests negative for coronavirus

Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus again Monday. Pence is scheduled to travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday afternoon to prepare for Wednesday's debate against Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.

By Melissa Quinn

Fauci says he has not been involved in Trump's care

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday he has not been involved in the president's care as he is treated for COVID-19.

"I think it's obvious, John, that I have not been involved," Fauci said in an interview CNN's John Berman, adding that he does not want to talk about Mr. Trump's case because he has not been cleared to do so. "Personally, I have not been involved in the direct care of the president."

Fauci, however, praised the doctors treating Mr. Trump, including White House physician Dr. Sean Conley, calling them "very good physicians" who are "very qualified."

A leading expert on infectious diseases and member of the White House coronavirus task force, Fauci declined to comment on Mr. Trump's drive past supporters outside of Walter Reed.

By Melissa Quinn

Meadows says doctors to decide whether to discharge Trump later today

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told Fox News in an interview that the medical team at Walter Reed has yet to determine whether Mr. Trump will be discharged Monday.

"The doctors will actually have an evaluation some time late morning and then the president, in consultation with the doctors, will make a decision on whether to discharge him later today," he said.

Meadows said Mr. Trump's health continues to improve and the White House is "optimistic" the president will be discharged today.

By Melissa Quinn

"This is insanity," one expert says of Trump ride

Infected and contagious, President Trump briefly ventured outside the hospital in a motorcade Sunday to salute cheering supporters, a move that disregarded precautions meant to contain COVID-19.

With a month until Election Day, Mr. Trump was eager to project strength despite his illness. The still-infectious president surprised backers who'd gathered outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, driving by in a black SUV with the windows rolled up. Secret Service agents inside the vehicle could be seen in masks and other protective gear. 

The move capped a weekend of contradictions that fueled confusion about Mr. Trump's health.

In a short video released by the White House Sunday, the president insisted he understood the gravity of the moment. But his actions moments later, by leaving the hospital and sitting inside the SUV with others, suggested otherwise. 

"This is insanity," Dr. James P. Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed who is a critic of Mr. Trump and his handling of the pandemic. "Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary presidential 'drive-by' just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die." 

"For political theater," the doctor added. "Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater." 

By The Associated Press

How Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis affects the election

How Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis could impact his campaign and the 2020 election 02:46

Assessing the president's health after COVID-19 diagnosis

Assessing the president’s health after COVID-19 diagnosis 02:26
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