President Donald Trump released a pre-taped statement on social media on Friday night shortly after heading to the hospital, where his staff says he will remain for several days "out of an abundance of caution" after being infected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
"I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support. I’m going to Walter Reed hospital. I think I’m doing very well, but we’re going to make sure that things work out," Trump, 74, said in the video, which shows him standing in a suit and addressing the camera.
"The first lady is doing very well," he said, "so thank you very much. I appreciate it. I will never forget it."
He was seen leaving the White House shortly after 6 p.m. local time, wearing a face mask and giving a thumbs-up to reporters.
He did not speak and, until his video released online, had not spoken or been seen publicly since announcing his diagnosis shortly after midnight Friday.
He had traveled to a fundraiser in New Jersey on Thursday and called into Sean Hannity's Fox News show later that night.
The White House spent much of Friday ignoring questions about the president's treatment and condition, beyond saying he had "mild symptoms" and remained focus on running the country.
Then, without notice, they announced he would head to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in what his aides said was a precautionary move.
The decision came less than 24 hours after he announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump had been infected. (It remains unclear how they got sick, though a close adviser was confirmed to have coronavirus on Thursday.)
"President Trump remains in good spirts, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day. Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement on Friday afternoon. "President Trump appreciates the outpouring of support for both he and the First Lady."
White House physician Sean Conley said in a memo released to reporters on Friday afternoon that the president had “received a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail" and was also taking "zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin an a daily aspirin."
"As of this afternoon the President remains fatigued but in good spirits," Conley's memo read. "He's being evaluated by a team of experts, and together we'll be making recommendations to the President and First Lady in regards to next best steps."
The first lady, 50, was suffering from just "a mild cough and a headache," Conley said.
Conley said earlier Friday that the first couple had been expected "to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence."
Mrs. Trump tweeted separately on Friday: "Thank you for the love you are sending our way. I have mild symptoms but overall feeling good. I am looking forward to a speedy recovery."
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