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Donald Trump has called his Covid-19 infection “a blessing from God” as he returned to the Oval Office on Wednesday despite concerns that he should be self-isolating, as the virus continued to spread among senior White House figures.
In a video message posted to Twitter, Trump said that Regeneron, an experimental drug cocktail, was key to recovering from his infection. He said it was his suggestion to be treated with the drug, which has rarely been used outside clinical trials.
“I feel great. I feel, like, perfect,” the president says in the video. “I think this was a blessing from God, that I caught it. This was a blessing in disguise. I caught it, I heard about this drug, I said let me take it. It was my suggestion.”
The president also promised to bring the drug to the American people for free, hawking it – falsely – as a “cure”. There is no cure for Covid-19.
Trump’s latest claims echoed his previous endorsements of unapproved treatments – from hydroxychloroquine to bleach. Even if the drug is effective, it has not yet been granted emergency authorization for use by the general public.
Trump, recently returned from several days at Walter Reed national military medical center, was back in the Oval Office for the first time on Wednesday, where he received a briefing about Hurricane Delta, which has been belting Mexico and is heading for the US later this week, and on economic stimulus prospects.
A coronavirus outbreak among numerous figures in the president’s orbit has created a dramatic situation in the Trump administration. At least 27 people across the White House, election campaign and military leaders have tested positive for the virus. One of Trump’s closest advisers, Stephen Miller, was diagnosed on Tuesday.
Questions were raised about the safety of the president’s decision to return to the Oval Office despite having announced a positive test less than a week ago. Speaking to reporters, the deputy White House press secretary, Brian Morgenstern, cited “CDC guidelines” as being among tools available to make sure his presence in the office was safe.
“Well, we can do it in a safe way, we can disinfect regularly,” said Brian Morgenstern. “We have PPE that we can use. And we can interact with him standing back.”
According to CDC guidelines, it would seem Trump should not be in the Oval Office. The CDC has that anyone “sick or infected” with Covid-19 “should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific ‘sick room’” – meaning they should not go to and from an office in which they interact with others.
The guidelines add that those who test positive for Covid can be with others “at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and after at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and if other symptoms of Covid-19 are improving”.
Access to Trump for White House aides has been extremely limited since his discharge. The White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and senior adviser Dan Scavino were among those with the president in the Oval Office. Those meeting with Trump are required to wear full personal protective gear to minimize their risk.
Trump could have received his briefings elsewhere in the complex, but the president believed it was important that he be seen working from the office, according to a White House official who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Dr Sean Conley, the White House physician, said Trump had declared: “I feel great!”
Conley added in a memo that Trump had been symptom-free for over 24 hours, and that his oxygen saturation level and respiratory rate were normal. The memo also said a blood test Monday showed Trump had coronavirus antibodies. However, some were swift to point out that Trump recently received a large dose of Regeneron, which contains such antibodies.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals says it is not possible for this type of blood test to distinguish between antibodies Trump’s body may be making and those supplied by the company’s drug. Most likely, the ones detected in the Monday test are from the drug, the company said.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Trump calls Covid diagnosis ‘blessing from God’ amid false treatment claims | US news