US President Donald Trump has made a dramatic return to the White House to continue his treatment for coronavirus after a three-night hospital stay.
The president removed his mask on the balcony of the White House, where several staff and aides have tested positive for the virus in recent days.
“Feeling really good!” Mr Trump tweeted earlier. “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”
The US has had 7.4 million cases of Covid-19 and 210,000 deaths.
Questions remain over the seriousness of Mr Trump’s illness after a weekend of conflicting statements.
What happened during Trump’s return?
Telling Americans not to fear the disease in a tweet before he left hospital on Monday evening, Mr Trump said: “I feel better than I did 20 years ago!!”
He also tweeted: “Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!!”
Mr Trump’s diagnosis has upended his campaign for a second term in office, less than a month before the Republican president faces Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the White House election.
Wearing a navy business suit, tie and mask, Mr Trump walked out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the Washington DC suburbs pumping his fist.
“Thank you very much everybody,” he said, ignoring questions from the media, including one reporter who asked: “Are you a super spreader, Mr President?”
Following the short helicopter ride, Mr Trump was pictured alone on the Truman Balcony of the White House. He removed his protective face mask, before giving a thumbs-up and a military-style salute.
A couple of hours later, he tweeted a campaign-style clip of his return set to stirring music.
Mr Trump also recorded a video message to the American people, urging them to get back to work.
“You’re going to beat it [coronavirus],” he told them. “We have the best medical equipment, we have the best medicines, all developed recently.”
He added: “We’re going to be out front. As your leader, I had to do that. I knew there’s danger to it, but I had to do it. I stood out front, and led.”
Mr Trump also speculated: “Now I’m better, maybe I’m immune, I don’t know”.
He also promised that vaccines were “coming momentarily”, although the US Centers for Disease Control has said no vaccine is expected to be widely available before the middle of next year.
Following Mr Trump’s return to the White House, his Democratic challenger Joe Biden said he was “glad” the president appeared to be “coming along pretty well”.
But he then criticised Mr Trump, saying: “Anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying masks don’t matter, social distancing doesn’t matter, I think is responsible for what happens to them.”
An almost messianic message
Donald Trump says he has overcome the coronavirus – and you can, too.
In his video message from the White House, a mask-less Trump tells the American public: “Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it.”
And so the president’s message in the final weeks of his re-election campaign takes shape. He contracted the coronavirus because he was an out-front leader and he “had to do that”.
“Nobody that’s a leader would not do what I did,” he said.
It is a message almost messianic in its undertones – one that the rest of his party is amplifying. The president has suffered and overcome, and will lead the nation to a promised land beyond the virus.
New York Post columnist Miranda Devine, quote-tweeted by the president, said Mr Trump would return to the campaign trail as an “invincible hero”. Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler tweeted out a video of Mr Trump tackling a virus-headed antagonist.
There is political and personal risk for the president, of course. He could experience a relapse or long-term medical difficulties. Americans who have lost loved ones to the disease may find his words and actions ill-considered or offensive.
The president, however, seems determined to turn his recent weakness into a strength.
What did Trump’s doctors say?
Navy Cdr Sean Conley, the White House physician, said on Monday afternoon that Mr Trump “may not entirely be out of the woods yet”.
But he said the medical team agreed the president’s status and progress “support his safe return home, where he’ll be surrounded by world-class medical care 24/7”.
Dr Conley refused to answer questions about when Mr Trump last received a negative test or to go into the specifics of his treatment. He would not offer details regarding the president’s scans to check for pneumonia, citing patient protection laws.
The White House physician did confirm Mr Trump is still on the steroid dexamethasone and has received three doses of antiviral drug remdesivir. He was to receive another before discharge and a fifth at the White House.
When asked about whether Mr Trump was safe to travel for campaign events, Dr Conley said: “We’ll see.”
He also affirmed that he was concerned about his own exposure to the virus while aboard Air Force One.
But Mr Trump’s medical team repeatedly emphasised how well the president was doing, in Monday’s briefing.
“We remain cautiously optimistic,” Dr Conley said, adding that Mr Trump received therapies very early on.
“If we can get through to [next] Monday with him remaining the same or improving, better yet, then we will all take that final deep sigh of relief.”
What’s the latest with the White House outbreak?
The president’s discharge comes as more new cases have been reported among White House staff.
Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany became the latest high-profile figure close to the president to confirm a positive test earlier on Monday.
US media said two other aides to the press secretary had had positive results. Ms McEnany was seen speaking to journalists without wearing a mask on Sunday but said no members of the press had been listed as close contacts by the White House medical unit.
First Lady Melania Trump, senior aides and three Republican senators have also tested positive.
Mrs Trump, who is 50, has been isolating at the White House, reportedly with mild symptoms. In a tweet she said: “I am feeling good [and] will continue to rest at home”.
At least 12 people close to Mr Trump have now tested positive, as have several junior staff members.
Many of those attended a gathering at the White House Rose Garden on 26 September that is being scrutinised as a possible “super-spreader event”.
The latest coronavirus case to emerge from that event, at which the president unveiled his nominee for the US Supreme Court, is a Christian minister from California.
Pastor Greg Laurie, who is said to have mild symptoms, was also with US Vice-President Mike Pence earlier in that day at a prayer march in central Washington DC.Pls SUBSCRIBE below to our Youtube channel and mailing list to get fresh updates on money making and inspiring videos and articles.