Washington – US President Donald Trump has been criticised by the medical community for a protocol breaking visit to his supporters outside the hospital where he is being treated for the highly-infectious, potentially deadly new coronavirus.
Trump was masked when he waved from inside his bulletproof vehicle during the short trip outside Walter Reed military medical centre near Washington, which appeared designed to take back the narrative on his improving health after a weekend of muddled messaging from his doctors.
The last-minute outing came with his medical team satisfied enough about his progress to suggest that he might be discharged on Monday.
However, experts complained that the outing broke his own government’s public health guidelines requiring patients to isolate while they are in treatment and still shedding virus – and endangered his Secret Service protection.
In a video posted on Twitter just before the outing, Trump said that he had “learned a lot about Covid” by “really going to school” as he has battled the virus.
But health experts said the outing demonstrated that he had learnt nothing at all.
“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days,” said James Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University.