Trump makes surprise visit to supporters outside hospital, says he 'learnt a lot about Covid' by 'really going to school'

Seen in a dark face mask, waving to crowds, the president's motorcade rolled past before returning to the Walter Reed military hospital near Washington.
Seen in a dark face mask, waving to crowds, the president's motorcade rolled past before returning to the Walter Reed military hospital near Washington.PHOTOS: REUTERS, JAMIN2G/TWITTER

WASHINGTON (AFP) - United States President Donald Trump drove past supporters on Sunday (Oct 4) outside the hospital where he was being treated for Covid-19, after announcing on Twitter a "surprise visit" to his backers.

Seen in a dark face mask, waving to crowds, the President rolled past in his motorcade before returning to the Walter Reed military hospital near Washington.

"We're going to pay a little surprise to some of the great patriots that we have out on the street," Mr Trump said in a video posted to Twitter shortly before his appearance.

"I'm about to make a little surprise visit."

Mr Trump also said he "learnt a lot about Covid" by "really going to school", as he has battled the virus in hospital.

"This is the real school. This isn't the 'let's read the books school,' and I get it, and I understand it, and it's a very interesting thing," he added.

Mr Trump's doctors said earlier on Sunday that the President has "continued to improve", adding that he could be discharged as early as Monday.

In a briefing outside Walter Reed medical centre, they said Mr Trump's oxygen levels had briefly dropped twice in recent days and that he is being treated with steroids, while continuing to provide an upbeat assessment of the 74-year-old's health and outlook.

"The President has continued to improve," said White House physician Sean Conley. "As with any illness, there are frequent ups and downs over the course."

Dr Conley said the President was flown to Walter Reed last Friday after a "rapid progression" of his illness, with his oxygen levels dropping worryingly low.

He received supplementary oxygen at the White House, where he had been running a high fever, before being admitted.

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Dr Brian Garibaldi, another of Mr Trump's doctors, said the President had been "up and around" and was feeling well.

"Our plan for today is to have him eat and drink, be up out of bed as much as possible, to be mobile," Dr Garibaldi said.

"And, if he continues to look and feel as well as he does today, our hope is that we can plan a discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House, where he can continue his treatment course."

The medical updates have come regularly but questions remain over how bad his fever became, when he last tested negative, the circumstances of his infection - and the longer-term prognosis.