Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Updated at 6:48 p.m. ET
President Trump made an unannounced trip to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. On Friday after testing positive for the coronavirus.
In a short video message posted on Twitter about his trip to the hospital, Trump thanked his well-wishers for their support and said he felt “very good” despite his positive test.
“I want to thank everyone for their tremendous support. I am going to Walter Reed Hospital. I think I am very well, but we will make sure that everything goes well. The First Lady is very well. Thank you very much, I appreciate that. I will never forget. Thank you, “said Trump in the 18-second video.
The news was the first tweet from Trump, who uses the platform frequently in general, since his announcement early Friday morning that he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive.
Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the president would be “working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days,” “out of caution and on the recommendation of his doctor and medical experts.”
Trump “remains in a good mood, has mild symptoms and has been working all day,” said McEnany.
Although the White House characterized Trump’s symptoms as “mild”, The New York Times On Friday the president reported he had developed a fever, nasal congestion and cough.
The White House also gave a brief update on Trump’s treatment on Friday. Sean Conley, the president’s doctor, said Trump received an experimental drug from Regeneron that contains two antibodies to the coronavirus.
The drug is currently in clinical trials and has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. How the President’s medical team got into medicine was not disclosed in the statement.
In response to NPR’s request for Trump’s access to treatment, Regeneron declined to expressly comment, citing patient confidentiality. However, Regeneron said it may make the drug available outside of a clinical trial through a compassionate use program, subject to approval by a review committee.
The drug called REGN-COV2 is given as a single dose by injection (infusion). The president received the high dose – 8 grams – that the company was testing.
The company released preliminary results of a test this week on patients treated outside of hospitals. The study found that in patients whose bodies had not produced their own antibodies to the coronavirus, the medicine improved symptoms and decreased the amount of virus over time compared to a placebo.
The president also takes some supplements – zinc, vitamin D, and melatonin. He takes a heartburn medication – famotidine (brand name Pepcid) – and aspirin every day.
Trump has for months downplayed the severity of the virus and made unsubstantiated claims about experimental treatments, at times defying his own administration’s public health guidelines.
The president has often refused to wear masks in public and has cited the frequency of tests on himself and those around him. The habit has contributed to the politicization of masks and is apparently due to its supporters, many of whom have opposed wearing masks at the crowded outdoor events at recent rallies.
A poll by August Gallup found that Republicans are significantly less likely than Democrats and Political Independents to wear masks both indoors and outdoors.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said face covering is “one of the most powerful weapons we need to slow down and stop the spread of the virus”.
It is still unclear when or how the president contracted the virus. Others recently in contact with the president also tested positive – including the first lady, aide Hope Hicks, and Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah.
However, Vice President Pence has tested negative and is continuing normal activities, the White House doctor said.