United States President Donald Trump angered the medical community on Monday after he defied safety measures by greeting his supporters outside the hospital in Maryland where he was rushed on Friday after testing positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
He went out of the hospital onboard a bullet-proof SUV and waved from the inside. Trump was seen wearing a facemask.
While his ride outside the hospital was after doctors expressed satisfaction over his progress in fighting Covid-19, Trump was criticized for violating government rules requiring patients stricken with the virus to isolate. Such a move could also endanger the lives of the Secret Service personnel assigned to him.
“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.”They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity,” he added.
However, White House spokesman Judd Deere said “appropriate” precautions were implemented to protect Trump and his support staff, including wearing protective gear.
“The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do,” he added.
But television personality Zeke Emanuel, also the chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and regular TV pundit, described Trump’s going out of the hospital as “shameful,” calling it a “PR stunt.”
“Making his Secret Service agents drive with a Covid-19 patient, with windows up no less, put them needlessly at risk for infection. And for what? A PR stunt,” he tweeted.
Showing signs of high fever and fatigue on Friday after attending a fund-raising event, Trump was flown to Walter Reed in Maryland.
His wife, First Lady Melania, also contracted Covid-19 but stayed at the White House. Trump is already 74 years old and is clinically obese, while his wife is 24 years younger. A close aide and a number of White House staff were also tested positive for Covid-19.