WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump moved to a military hospital for treatment on Friday after being diagnosed with COVID-19 as his administration and re-election campaign scrambled to adjust to an extraordinary twist in his turbulent presidency.
Roughly 17 hours after he announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus, Trump walked slowly from the White House to a waiting helicopter to be taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He wore a mask and business suit and did not speak to reporters.
“I think I’m doing very well, but we’re going to make sure that things work out,” Trump said in a brief video posted to Twitter.
Trump will work in a special hospital suite for the next few days as a precautionary measure, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said. Online video showed a small group of Trump supporters outside Walter Reed on Friday evening waving Trump 2020 flags, most not wearing masks.
Trump, 74, has a mild fever, according to a source familiar with the matter. White House doctor Sean P. Conley said he is being treated with an experimental drug cocktail and is “fatigued but in good spirits.”
It was the latest setback for the Republican president, who is trailing Democratic rival Joe Biden in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Trump, who has played down the threat of the coronavirus pandemic from the outset, wrote on Twitter earlier on Friday that he and his wife Melania were going into quarantine after testing positive for the virus, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans and severely damaged the U.S. economy.
A number of other prominent Republicans also tested positive on Friday, including former White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway and Republican senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis.
Vice President Mike Pence, who would take over presidential duties if Trump became severely ill, tested negative, a spokesman said. The former Indiana governor, 61, is working from his own residence several miles from the White House.