Trump has completed treatment for COVID-19, says White House doctor

Trump's vitals are stable, says his physician.

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US President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Oct. 2. Trump and first lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for the coronavirus.

US President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Oct. 2. Trump and first lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for the coronavirus.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Donald Trump "has completed his course of therapy for COVID-19," his lead physician said in a memo Thursday. White House physician Sean Conley estimated Trump will return to public engagements on Saturday but has yet to give any information on the president's most recent negative test. Since leaving the hospital, Trump's physical exam has been "stable" and he's not shown signs of the illness progressing. 

The doctor added Trump has "responded extremely well to treatment, without evidence on examination of adverse therapeutic effects."

Trump departed Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday, after his doctors said Sunday that his health was improving as he responded to treatment for COVID-19. The president would "continue his treatment course" at the White House, Dr. Brian Garibaldi of Johns Hopkins University, who is consulting on the president's medical treatment, said Monday. The president walked unassisted out of the hospital before getting into an armored SUV and heading to the Marine One helicopter.

Trump removed his face mask when he reached the top of the stairs at the White House, where he paused for photographers. He walked inside while still maskless, then filmed a video on the balcony, which he tweeted Monday night.

"I learned so much about coronavirus ," Trump said. "I didn't feel so good, and two days ago ... I felt great, like better than I have in a long time." He added he's done what any leader would've done by getting back to work, adding: "I know there's a risk, there's a danger but that's OK ... now I'm better, and maybe I'm immune, I don't know."

Earlier Monday, Trump tweeted, in part, "Feeling really good! Don't be afraid of Covid. Don't let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge."

Late on Thursday last week, Trump announced he'd tested positive for COVID-19, and on Friday, he was flown to Walter Reed out of what the White House called "an abundance of caution." Over the weekend, Conley confirmed that Trump had at one point been given supplemental oxygen to assist with his breathing.

A multidisciplinary medical team is engaged in "state of the art monitoring" of the president and looking for any evidence of complications from the coronavirus or from therapies being used to treat Trump, Conley's team said during its Saturday press conference. The team said Trump had received a first dose of the experimental drug remdesivir on Friday evening and the plan was to continue a five-day course of that treatment.

The team said that days seven to 10 of COVID infections, the inflammatory phase, can be a concern and that the doctors will proceed carefully. First lady Melania Trump, also infected, is doing well and convalescing at home, the doctors said.

Others in Trump's circle test positive

On Thursday, before confirmation of their own positive tests, the president, 74, revealed that he and the first lady, 50, had entered quarantine after learning that top White House aide Hope Hicks had tested positive

On Friday, following the president's transfer to Walter Reed, Kellyanne Conway, former senior adviser to the president, tweeted that she too had tested positive for the virus. "My symptoms are mild (light cough) and I'm feeling fine," she wrote. "I have begun a quarantine process in consultation with physicians." 

On Saturday, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tweeted that he'd tested positive for the virus. Others in Trump's orbit who've tested positive include Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien; White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany; Director of Oval Office Operations Nick Luna; and Republican Sens. Mike Lee, of Utah; Thom Tillis, of North Carolina; and Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin, CBS News reported.

On Tuesday, nearly all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reportedly were quarantining after attending meetings last week at the Pentagon with Admiral Charles Ray, who's since tested positive. 

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife tested negative Friday, as did Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Wash hands, wear mask, social distance

Two days before the Trumps' diagnoses, the world passed a grim milestone when Johns Hopkins University reported that more than 1 million people have died as a result of the novel coronavirus. Less than a week before that, the number of deaths in the US linked to COVID-19 surpassed 200,000.

As the virus has spread across the world, health care professionals have warned that certain groups of people, including older adults and people with underlying medical conditions, are at a higher risk of developing a serious or even fatal illness if they're infected with COVID-19.

Read more: COVID: When to get tested for the coronavirus and how long it will take to get results

The coronavirus is spread mainly through respiratory vapor, such as when someone sneezes or coughs into the air around you. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that the coronavirus can linger in the air and that this can play a role in transmission, even for those who are further than six feet away.

Health officials continue to encourage people to wash their hands regularly, wear a mask when out in public, practice social distancing and avoid close contact with people who are sick. 

People who've been in contact with someone who's tested positive for COVID-19 should contact their doctor or local health care provider. The CDC recommends getting a coronavirus test for the following reasons: if you're experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, if you've had close contact with someone -- within six feet for at least 15 minutes -- with a positive COVID-19 test, or if you've been asked by your health care provider to get a test.

It's unknown whether patients routinely become immune to the coronavirus; the first confirmed case of reinfection occurred in August.

Read more: Coronavirus symptoms: The full list, according to the CDC

Masks and testing

Hicks, the White House aide, had accompanied Trump on several campaign trips in recent days, including to the presidential debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday, Sept. 29, and a campaign rally in Minnesota on Wednesday. Though the candidates tackled topics including race relations, climate change and the Supreme Court during the debate, the coronavirus dominated much of the debate. Trump defended his decision to often appear in public without a facial covering, explaining that he wears a mask "when needed."

"I think masks are OK," Trump said, when asked by moderator Chris Wallace why he typically appears in public without wearing one. He pulled out a mask from his suit jacket to show he carried it with him.

See also: Face masks: Here are the best and worst materials for protecting against coronavirus

"I put a mask on, you know, when I think I need it. Tonight is an example, everybody has had a test," Trump said. "I wear a mask when needed. When needed, I wear masks."

On Friday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden  said he and his wife had tested negative for COVID-19. Vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and her husband also said they tested negative on Friday. 

Read more: Coronavirus pandemic 7 months later: Everything we know right now

Judd Deere, a White House spokesperson, said Trump "takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously."

"White House Operations collaborates with the physician to the president and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible both on complex and when the president is traveling," Deere continued in a statement sent to CNN.

The Trump campaign on Friday said that previously announced events involving the president would be changed to virtual events or temporarily postponed. 

An experimental antibody cocktail

On Friday, Press Secretary McEnany tweeted a report from the president's doctor revealing that Trump received "a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron's polyclonal antibody cocktail." The president has also been taking vitamin D, zinc, melatonin, aspirin and the antihistamine/antacid famotidine.

According to a Sept. 29 statement from Tarrytown, New York-based Regeneron, the experimental medication "reduced viral load and the time to alleviate symptoms" in non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19" during trials.

The REGN-COV2 cocktail, which combines the two monoclonal antibodies of REGN10933 and REGN10987 and was designed especially to treat SARS-CoV-2, is also being tested for preventing infection in people who've been exposed to coronavirus patients and in treating hospitalized patients.

"The greatest treatment benefit was in patients who had not mounted their own effective immune response, suggesting that REGN-COV2 could provide a therapeutic substitute for the naturally occurring immune response," said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D. and Regeneron chief scientific officer. "These patients were less likely to clear the virus on their own, and were at greater risk for prolonged symptoms."

CNET's Jessica Dolcourt contributed to this report.

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