US President Donald Trump has left hospital, three days after being admitted with Covid-19, vowing to be back on the campaign trail soon.
He flew for the short trip back to the White House on the presidential helicopter Marine One.
“Feeling really good!” Mr Trump tweeted earlier. “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”
More than 7.4 million cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the US. The virus has killed nearly 210,000 Americans.
Questions remain over the seriousness of Mr Trump’s illness after a weekend of conflicting statements. The true scale of the outbreak at the White House remains unclear.
Wearing a navy business suit, tie and mask, Mr Trump walked out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the Washington DC suburbs on Monday evening pumping his fist.
“Thank you very much everybody,” he said, ignoring questions from the media, including one reporter who asked: “Are you a super spreader, Mr President?”
Following the short helicopter ride, Mr Trump was pictured alone on the Truman Balcony of the White House. He removed his protective face mask, before giving a thumbs-up and a military-style salute.
Shortly before leaving hospital, the president tweeted: “Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!! The Fake News only shows the Fake Polls.”
Mr Trump’s diagnosis has upended his campaign for a second term in office, less than a month before the Republican president faces Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the White House election.
Telling Americans not to fear the disease in an earlier tweet on Monday, Mr Trump added: “We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!!”
Speaking to reporters on Monday, the president’s doctors avoided specifics of his care, but said he was doing well and would receive another dose of remdesivir before being discharged.
The president’s discharge comes as more new cases have been reported among White House staff.
At least 12 people close to Mr Trump have now tested positive, as have several junior staff members.
Many of the people who have tested positive around President Trump attended a meeting at the White House on 26 September that is being scrutinised as a possible “super-spreader event”.
The White House has not revealed how many staff members have tested positive since Mr Trump’s own diagnosis.
The latest coronavirus case to emerge from that event, at which the president unveiled his nominee for the US Supreme Court, is a Christian minister.
Before attending the White House Rose Garden gathering, Pastor Greg Laurie was also with US Vice-President Mike Pence at a prayer march in central Washington DC.
The Californian minister is said to be experiencing “mild symptoms” of Covid-19, reports the BBC’s US partner CBS News.
What did Trump’s doctors say?
Navy Cdr Sean Conley, the White House physician, said on Monday afternoon that Mr Trump “may not entirely be out of the woods yet”, but that the medical team agreed the president’s status and progress “support his safe return home, where he’ll be surrounded by world-class medical care 24/7”.
He refused to answer questions about when Mr Trump last received a negative test or to go into the specifics of his treatment. He would not offer details regarding the president’s scans to check for pneumonia, citing patient protection laws.
Dr Conley did confirm Mr Trump is still on the steroid dexamethasone and has received three doses of remdesivir. He will receive another before discharge and a fifth at the White House.
When asked about whether Mr Trump was safe to travel for campaign events, Dr Conley said: “We’ll see.”
He also affirmed that he was concerned about his own exposure to the virus while aboard Air Force One.
But Mr Trump’s medical team repeatedly emphasised how well the president was doing, in Monday’s briefing.
“We remain cautiously optimistic,” Dr Conley said, adding that Mr Trump received therapies very early on.
“If we can get through to [next] Monday with him remaining the same or improving, better yet, then we will all take that final deep sigh of relief.”
Donald Trump has gone “home”.
Of course, in this case, home is a secure government compound with top-notch medical facilities. Still, the decision that the president could return to the White House was hailed by him and his medical team as an important indication of his improving condition.
“He’s back,” White House physician Sean Conley said during his Monday afternoon briefing.
Dr Conley and his fellow physicians shared positive details about the president’s condition – a lack of fever, good blood-oxygen levels and “no respiratory complaints”. But he once again refused to disclose when the president last tested negative for the coronavirus – information that would help determine if Mr Trump exposed anyone else to the virus.
And when pressed for more details on the president’s condition, such as evidence of longer-term damage to the his lungs, Dr Conley cited patient privacy.
This patient is the president of the United States, however, and Americans may demand more details about his long-term health and prognosis, particularly as they head to the polls in a month to decide whether to give him another four-year term in office.
Who else around the president has tested positive?
Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany became the latest high-profile figure close to the president to confirm a positive test earlier on Monday.
US media said two other aides to the press secretary had had positive results. Ms McEnany was seen speaking to journalists without wearing a mask on Sunday but said no members of the press had been listed as close contacts by the White House medical unit.
First Lady Melania Trump, senior aides and three Republican senators have also tested positive.
Mrs Trump, who is 50, has been isolating at the White House, reportedly with mild symptoms. In a tweet she said: “I am feeling good [and] will continue to rest at home”.