President Donald Trump is reportedly having trouble breathing and is very fatigued, a senior White House official has said.
According to reports, the US president’s condition seemed to be “serious” as he spent his first night in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus.
CNN reported an official saying there is “reason for concern” about his health and that the situation was “serious”.
But the aide also reassured the public that they should not be alarmed and has said Trump is taking the situation “very seriously”.
Trump himself tweeted late last night: “Going well, I think! Thank you to all. LOVE!!!”
While White House doctor Sean P. Conley said that the president “was doing very well”, did not need supplemental oxygen, and had received a first dose of Remdesivir, an intravenous antiviral drug sold by Gilead Sciences Inc that has been shown to shorten hospital stays.
Just hours earlier, the White House sought to project an air of business as usual despite Trump’s diagnosis, but aides privately expressed concern about the presidential election and showed signs of rising worry about coronavirus.
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Trump, 74, flew by helicopter to Walter Reed Medical Center for treatment on Friday evening but staff members said he would continue working from a special suite there and that he had remained engaged in governing throughout the day.
He has not transferred power to Vice President Mike Pence.
Going welI, I think! Thank you to all. LOVE!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 3, 2020
In a video statement published on his Twitter account shortly after his departure, President Trump said: “I want to thank everyone for their tremendous support. I’m going to Walter Reed hospital. I think I’m doing very well, but we’re going to make sure things work out. The First Lady is doing very well.
“So thank you very much. I appreciate it. I will never forget it. Thankyou.”
The President was diagnosed with Covid-19 early on Friday morning, and has been suffering “mild symptoms”, including cold-like symptoms, fatigue and a mild fever, according to officials.
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said: “President Trump remains in good spirits, 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.
“President Trump appreciates the outpouring of support for both he and the First Lady.”
After Marine One sat waiting on the White House south lawn for more than an hour, President Trump walked out to the helicopter wearing a suit and a mask.
He waved and gave a thumbs-up gesture to reporters but did not stop to talk. He was accompanied by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who was also wearing a mask.
He saluted a waiting Marine before boarding the helicopter, and tapped on the handrail as he climbed the steps.
President Trump’s son Eric Tweeted: “Donald Trump is a true warrior.
“He will fight through this with the same strength and conviction that he uses to fight for America each and every day.
“I ask you to join me in praying for his recovery. I have never been more proud of someone and what they have had to endure.”
Earlier, the President’s physician, Navy Commander Sean P Conley, said in a statement: “Following PCR-confirmation of the President’s diagnosis, as a precautionary measure he received a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail. He completed the infusion without incident.
“In addition to the polyclonal antibodies, the President has been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine and a daily aspirin.”
He added: “As of this afternoon, the President remains fatigued but in good spirits. He’s being evaluated by a team of experts, and together we’ll be making recommendations to the President and First Lady.
“First Lady Melania Trump remains well with only a mild cough and headache, and the remainder of the First Family are well and tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 today.”
The US president, who is in a high risk category due to his age and because he is considered overweight, tweeted in the early hours of Friday: “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19.
“We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”
The president’s upcoming election events were postponed or moved online.
Trump had been scheduled to hold a “Make America Great Again” rally in Florida on Friday night, two in Wisconsin on Saturday and another in Arizona on Monday.
On Friday, the sight of more White House staff than usual donning masks, including press secretary McEnany in the evening, was taken as a sign that coronavirus risks were being taken more seriously.
Communications adviser Hope Hicks and first lady Melania Trump also tested positive.
Some in Washington speculated that Trump’s events on Saturday to announce Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court may have spread the virus.
Besides Trump and his wife, attendees Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chair, Mike Lee, a Republican senator, and the University of Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John Jenkins, have all tested positive for the coronavirus.