After President Trump had annoyed a “little surprise visit” via video on Twitter, he left the hospital on Sunday afternoon to wave to the supporters from the back seat of an SUV.
“It was a very interesting trip. I learned a lot about COVID, “said Trump, who still suffers from the coronavirus, in the video. “I learned by really going to school. This is the right school. This is not the school where we read the book. I understand and I understand,” he added.
Then, contrary to his own words and the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the president left the presidential suite of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to wave at the supporters from a car ̵
The CDC website explicitly states that a person suffering from COVID-19 should stay home except for medical care. The CDC language is stricter in its guidelines for health care workers. “In general, the transport and movement of a patient with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection outside of their room should be restricted to medically essential purposes,” says the FAQ page.
White House spokesman Judd Deere defended the stunt. “In carrying out this movement, reasonable precautions were taken to protect the President and all supporters, including the PSA. The move has been approved as safe by the medical team, ”he told The Daily Beast.
But medical experts questioned the wisdom of the excursion.
“Generally when someone is sick enough [with the coronavirus] needing to be in hospital for observation, it is probably not advisable to send them on [non-essential care] Travel, “said Dr. Timothy Brewer, an epidemiologist at the UCLA School of Public Health and a former advisor to WHO, NIH and CDC, told The Daily Beast. “The main focus for any patient sick enough to be hospitalized from COVID-19 should be recovery.”
Regarding the possibility of the president passing the virus on to the agents in his vehicle, Brewer said, “Being in a vehicle means you are close to each other even with all the windows open. They’re essentially indoors, even if you have air conditioning or ventilation. “
Dr. Irwin Redlener, a Columbia University expert on pandemic preparedness, said it was a terrible spectacle.
“If I were his doctor, I wouldn’t have approved of that. If I were the secret service agents’ doctors, I wouldn’t have approved of that either, ”he said.
“The President and his entourage have potentially launched superspreader events almost every day,” added Redlener. “It is really troubling and a terrible example for the country.”
About James, Dr. James P. Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed, said the president’s choice of promotion was his own problem.
“This president’s SUV is not only bulletproof, but also hermetically sealed against chemical attack,” Phillips wrote. “The risk of COVID-19 transmission inside is as high as outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is amazing. “
Phillips wrote in a previous tweet that agents in the car must now be quarantined for 14 days after being exposed to the risk of serious illness or death “for political theater”.
The jaunt was the latest sign of how the White House has been trying to get a grip on the optics of the president’s illness.
Trump’s doctor, Dr. Sean Conley admitted Sunday that he was hiding from the public how high the president’s fever was and that he needed supplemental oxygen before being hospitalized because he wanted to show an “optimistic attitude”.
After initially insisting that the trip to Walter Reed on Friday was just a precautionary measure, Conley announced on Sunday that it was actually the combination of spike fever and the oxygen crisis that triggered the move.