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Trump stays out of sight; White House offers few details about his recovery

President Donald Trump remained out of sight for a second day on Wednesday as he recovers from COVID-19, with the White House offering scant details about his health and activities.

Donald Trump | White House

AP  |  Washington 

Donald trump
US President Donald trump removes mask as he returns to White House. (Reuters)

President remained out of sight for a second day on Wednesday as he recovers from COVID-19, with the offering scant details about his health and activities.

Lashing out on Twitter, the president remains largely isolated in residence, where aides were instructed to take extensive precautions to prevent themselves from catching the from the contagious president.

Trump's physicians have not provided a substantive update on his health since Monday afternoon, including his medications and potential long term health impacts from the virus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans and reached into the upper echelons of the U.S. government.

As Trump convalesced, he again publicly played down the virus on Twitter after his return from a three-day hospitalization, though even more aides tested positive, including one of his closest advisers, Stephen Miller. All told more than a dozen staffers have tested positive.

In one significant national action, Trump declared there would be no action before the election on economic-stimulus legislation an announcement that came not long after the Federal Reserve chairman said such help was essential for recovery with the nation reeling from the human and economic cost of the pandemic.

Stocks fell on the White House news. He later tweeted his support for a range of piecemeal stimulus proposals that appear to be a political non-starter before Election Day.

As for Trump's own recovery, his doctor, Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, said in a brief Tuesday letter that the president had a restful Monday night at the White House and reports no symptoms.

Meanwhile, Trump was grappling with next political steps exactly four weeks from Election Day.

Anxious to project strength, Trump, who is still contagious with the virus, tweeted Tuesday that he was planning to attend next week's debate with Democrat Joe Biden in Miami and "It will be great!

Biden, for his part, said he and Trump shouldn't have a debate as long as the president remains COVID positive.

Biden told reporters in Pennsylvania that he was looking forward to being able to debate him but said we're going to have to follow very strict guidelines.

Elsewhere in the government, the scope of the outbreak was still being uncovered. On Tuesday, the nation's top military leaders including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, and the vice chairman, Gen. John Hyten, were in quarantine after exposure to Adm. Charles W. Ray, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard.

It was not known how Ray contracted the virus, but he attended an event for military families at the White House on September 27. The Coast Guard said in a statement that Ray felt mild symptoms over the weekend and was tested on Monday.

Also testing positive Tuesday was Miller, a top policy adviser and Trump speechwriter, who has been an architect of the president's restrictive immigration measures."

Miller's wife, Katie Miller, who serves as communications director to Vice President Mike Pence, had the virus earlier this year. She had been in Salt Lake City with Pence where he is preparing to debate Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, but she left as soon as she found out about her husband's diagnosis, officials said. She tested negative on Tuesday.

Trump on Monday made clear that he has little intention of abiding by best containment practices when he removed his mask before entering the White House after his discharge from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Waiting aides were visible when he entered the Blue Room without a face covering.

Trump's attitude alarmed infectious disease experts. And it suggested his own illness had not caused him to rethink his often-cavalier attitude toward the disease.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins said Tuesday, When I saw him on the balcony of the White House, taking off his mask, I couldn't help but think that he sent the wrong signal, given that he's infected with COVID-19 and that there are many people in his immediate circle who have the virus."

Trump, for his part, falsely suggested that the virus was akin to the seasonal flu.

Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu, he tweeted. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!

In fact, COVID-19 has already proven to be a more potent killer, particularly among older populations, than seasonal flu, and has shown indications of having long-term impacts on the health of younger people it infects.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that influenza has resulted in far fewer yearly deaths than Trump said between 12,000 and 61,000 annually since 2010.

Trump was working out of makeshift office space on the ground floor of the White House residence, in close proximity to the White House Medical Unit's office suite, with only a few aides granted a face-to-face audience.

The West Wing was largely vacant, as a number of Trump's aides were either sick or quarantining after exposure to people infected with the virus, or otherwise working remotely as a precaution.

First lady Melania Trump was isolating upstairs in the White House.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Wed, October 07 2020. 23:19 IST