US President Donald Trump was airlifted to hospital 24 hours after announcing that he had been infected with the Corona virus, which causes Covid-19 disease.
The White House said the decision to transfer Trump to Walter Reed Military Medical Center was taken “out of a lot of caution.”
And early Friday, Trump announced that he and his wife Melania had contracted the Coronavirus.
The White House said Trump was “exhausted but in good spirits,” and that he was suffering from mild symptoms.
This comes nearly a month before the presidential election, in which Trump faces Democratic rival Joe Biden.
How did the president look on Friday?
Wearing a muzzle and a suit, Trump set out across the White House lawn on Friday afternoon to take his helicopter, Marine One, on a short trip to the hospital.
Trump waved to reporters and raised his thumb indicating that everything was fine, except that he said nothing before boarding the plane.
In a video posted on the US President’s Twitter account, Trump said: “I want to thank everyone for the tremendous support. I will go to Walter Reed Hospital.
He added, “But we will make sure that things are going well. The condition of the first lady is very good. So thank you very much, and I appreciate your interest, and I will never forget it – thank you.”
Upon arrival at Walter Reed, the president did not go to the emergency room to receive treatment, but went straight to the hospital’s presidential suite, according to CBS News, the BBC’s US news partner.
What does the white house say?
A White House spokesman said in a statement: “President Trump is still in good spirits, with minor symptoms, and has been working all day.”
The statement added: “For the sake of extra caution, and based on the recommendations of his doctor and health experts, the president will continue working from Walter Reed Medical Center for a few days.”
“President Trump appreciates the torrent of support for him and the first lady.”
Trump’s symptoms include a low-grade fever, according to CBS.
Walter Reed Hospital, in a suburb of Washington, DC, is one of the largest and most well-known military medical centers in the United States. This is where US presidents usually go to get their annual checks.
White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah said the president had not transferred his powers to Vice President Mike Pence.
She added, “The president is someone who is in charge.”
But he withdrew from a video call that was scheduled for Friday with a group of elderly people, who are more threatened by the Corona virus, leaving Pence to chair the meeting.
Under the US Constitution, if the president becomes too ill to carry out his duties, he can hand over his powers to the vice president temporarily. This means that Mike Pence will become acting president until Trump recovers and he can resume work.
Fundamentally modified competition
Anthony Zorker’s analysis
BBC North America correspondent
The US presidential election has been turned upside down.
This sentence could have been written for any moment in a turbulent year in American politics, but nothing like this happened this year, this decade, this century.
Just 32 days before the presidential election, Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19. Given his age, 74, he is in a high risk group for complications from the disease. At the very least, he will have to remain in quarantine while he is being treated, which means that the US presidential competition – at least his part of it – has fundamentally changed.
The initial effects are evident. The president’s strict campaign schedule – which has included visits to Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Georgia, Florida and North Carolina over the past week alone – has been suspended indefinitely.
To be sure, Trump will have alternatives in the path, but given that he has relied heavily on his family and senior administration and campaign officials for such tasks in the past, and many of them may be forced into quarantine due to their exposure to the virus, the campaign’s operations will be disrupted as well.
What treatment did the president receive?
Earlier on Friday, Trump’s physician, Sean Connelly, said in a statement that the president had received “as a precaution an 8-gram dose of Regeneron antibody mixture” at the White House.
This medication is taken to help reduce virus levels and speed up recovery.
Conley said Trump also takes zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and aspirin.
He added, “As of this afternoon, he was still exhausted, but his spirits were good.” The 50-year-old first lady was “in good condition with a slight cough and headache”.
Melania said Friday afternoon that she was experiencing minor symptoms but “feeling better” and “looking forward to a speedy recovery.”
The rest of the Trump family has been tested, including the couple’s son, Barron, who also lives in the White House. The results proved that they were free of the virus.
How did the Democrats react?
Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, and his wife, Jill, tested negative on Friday.
After the result was released, the White House candidate said in a tweet: “I hope this is a reminder. Wear a face mask, socialize, and wash your hands.”
The Biden campaign said it was temporarily removing all negative Trump ads.
Biden’s team said it would travel to Michigan as planned as part of the campaign’s activities. Biden and his wife wished the presidential couple a speedy recovery.
Speaking during an election event via the Internet, as part of the Biden campaign, former President Barack Obama also expressed his good wishes to Trump and his wife.
“We are all Americans, we are all human, and we want to make sure everyone is healthy,” Obama said.
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that her prayers for Trump “intensified” after learning of his infection with the Coronavirus, and that she hoped that his diagnosis would be a “learning experience” for the country.
Pelosi, who ranks third in the presidential succession hierarchy, had not been notified in advance that the president would be hospitalized, according to CBS.
How did the president contract the virus?
It is not known exactly how Trump and his wife became infected. On Thursday, the couple said they intend to self-isolate after Hope Hicks, a close aide to Trump, tested positive for the virus. Soon after, tests confirmed their infection.
There was criticism of Trump’s decision to go to a fundraising campaign, attended by dozens of people in New Jersey on Thursday, as Trump campaign officials were aware of Hicks’ apparently symptoms and the possibility of her being infected with the virus.
The process of tracking all the people the president has had contact with in recent days continues, officials said, adding that on Friday, Trump was considering how to address the nation or reach out to the American people.
Since the start of the epidemic, the president has violated basic health guidelines, such as social distancing and wearing face coverings in public places. Trump also continued to organize large rallies for his campaign, rallying thousands of supporters, often without any masks.
Several senior White House aides have already tested positive for the virus, including Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and one of Trump’s personal companions.