President Donald Trump released a new hospital video Saturday night in which he says he’s starting to feel better and hopes to “be back soon.”
He added that "over the next period of a few days I guess that’s the real test. We’ll be seeing what happens over those next couple of days."
In the four-minute video, Trump says he “wasn’t feeling so well” when he was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday after testing positive for the coronavirus.
But he says that “I feel much better now” and that “We’re working hard to get me all the way back.”
Trump sounds a little raspy in the video, but he appears to be in good spirits as he says he’s fighting for the millions of people who have had the virus across the world.
He said that, while he could have stayed locked in the White House to protect himself from the virus, as president he couldn’t be “locked up in a room upstairs.”
He also thanked the doctors and nurses treating him as well as well as the world leaders and Americans who have sent their well wishes.
But earlier Saturday, a person familiar with President Trump's medical situation told reporters the president is not yet on a clear path to recovery from COVID-19 and some of his vital signs over the past 24 hours were very concerning.
The source, who asked not to be identified, said the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of Trump's care. The assessment seemed at odds with that of Trump's doctor during a brief press conference.
Later press reports identified the source as White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
On Saturday evening, the president told his longtime friend and sometimes lawyer Rudy Giuliani that he’s “going to beat” the coronavirus, The New York Post reported.
Trump called Giuliani on Saturday to assure him he’s doing fine following a sobering assessment from the White House chief of staff.
Trump reportedly told Giuliani on the call: “I feel I could get out of here right now. But they’re telling me there can always be a backstep with this disease. But I feel I could go out and do a rally."
Trump also reportedly explained that he continued to engage in high-risk activity despite the pandemic because he’s the “president of the United States. I can’t lock myself in a room. … I had to confront (the virus) so the American people stopped being afraid of it so we could deal with it responsibly.”
He also said he hopes that by beating the virus he “will be able to show people we can deal with this disease responsibly, but we shouldn’t be afraid of it.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Saturday afternoon that he had also spoken with Trump and that he sounds well.
"Just had another great call with @POTUS. He sounds well and says he’s feeling good," McConnell said on Twitter.
"We talked about the people’s business — fighting the pandemic, confirming Judge Barrett, and strengthening the economy for American families," he added.
Earlier Saturday, Trump's physician provided an update on the president's health, saying he has been "fever free for 24 hours" and has not needed oxygen.
"This morning the president is doing very well," Dr. Sean Conley, physician to the president, announced in an update on the president's condition at Walter Reed Medical Center on Saturday.
The president told his team, per the doctors: "I feel like I could walk out of here today."
Trump tweeted about 1½ hours later:
"Doctors, Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed Medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING!!! Tremendous progress has been made over the last 6 months in fighting this PLAGUE. With their help, I am feeling well!"
Dr. Conley said the president's medical team is "extremely happy" with he president's progress.
The vital organs are all functioning normally and he is not oxygen with an oxygen saturation level of 96%, which is normal, according to Dr. Conley.
The president has been encouraged to get "up and out of bed" and has been "fever free for 24 hours."
"Right now all indicators are he will not need oxygen going forward," Dr. Conley said.
He has not experienced difficulty breathing, he added.
Doctors said Saturday that Trump was not on supplemental oxygen, and while he had fatigue, nasal congestion, and coughing, his symptoms are now resolving and improving.
Dr. Conley, Trump’s physician, refused to say whether Trump had been on supplemental oxygen at any point during his illness, saying he was not on it Saturday or Thursday or Friday while he was with the medical team from Walter Reed Medical Center.
Trump was transferred to the military hospital on Friday afternoon in what doctors say was a precaution after he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19. He has not transferred powers.
Conley says the president has "a lot of work to do" and is doing it.
"He's in exceptionally good spirits," said another doctor, Sean Dooley.
In a memo released shortly before midnight, Conley did report Trump had been treated at the hospital with remdesivir, an antiviral medication that has been promoted by many in the administration, after taking another experimental drug at the White House.
The White House said Trump was expected to stay at the hospital for "a few days" and he would continue to work from the hospital's presidential suite, which is equipped to allow him to keep up his official duties. In addition to accessibility to tests and equipment, the decision was made, at least in part, with the understanding that moving him later, if he took a turn for the worse, could send a worrying signal.
With Trump off the campaign trail indefinitely, his campaign announced "Operation MAGA," based on his slogan "Make America Great Again," which will see high-profile allies including Vice President Mike Pence and Trump's elder sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, take over in-person campaigning this week.
Pence, who tested negative on Friday, is scheduled to debate Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris on Wednesday.
Biden, who largely avoided direct criticism of Trump during a campaign trip to Michigan on Friday, took a more aggressive tone on Saturday while speaking to a transit workers' union, even as he wished the president well.
"I'm in a little bit of a spot here, because I don't want to be attacking the president and the first lady now," Biden said, adding he hoped Trump and his wife Melania, who also has the illness, make a full recovery.
But he quickly turned to Trump's response to the pandemic, calling it "unconscionable" and blasting Trump's comment in an interview this summer that "it is what it is" when asked about the death toll.
"I find this one of the most despicable things that I've encountered in my whole career," Biden said.
Trump has repeatedly played down the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, even as it has killed more than 208,000 Americans and hammered the U.S. economy.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself was seriously ill with COVID-19 earlier this year, said on Sunday he was sure Trump would be fine.
"He's got the best possible care... He just needs, I mean, the most important thing to do is to follow his doctors' advice, he's got superb medical advice," Johnson said during an interview on BBC television.
Biden, who tested negative on Friday, told reporters he would next be tested on Sunday. His campaign will begin releasing the results of each test, a spokesman said.
Conley said Trump had received the first two doses of a five-day course of Remdesivir, an intravenous antiviral drug sold by Gilead Sciences Inc that has been shown to shorten hospital stays.
He is also taking an experimental treatment, Regeneron's REGN-COV2, as well as zinc, Vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and aspirin, Conley has said.
A number of other prominent Republicans have also tested positive for coronavirus since Trump's announcement, including Republican senators Mike Lee, Thom Tillis and Ron Johnson, former White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Information from The Associated Press and Reuters has been used in this report.
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