WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump told Americans "to get out there" and not fear COVID-19 as he returned to the White House on Monday (Oct 5) after checking out of hospital where he was treated for the disease.
"Don't let it dominate you. Don't be afraid of it," Trump said in a video shortly after he returned to the White House from Walter Reed Medical Center.
"We're going back, we're going back to work. We're going to be out front ... Don't let it dominate your lives. Get out there, be careful."
The Republican president, running for re-election against Democrat Joe Biden in the Nov 3 US election, was admitted to hospital on Friday after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
The disease has killed more than 1 million people worldwide and more than 209,000 in the United States alone - the highest death toll of any country.
Trump said in the video that he "didn't feel so good" when was admitted to hospital for COVID-19, and has since learned so much about the coronavirus.
He said that he had to be "out front" to lead despite the risks.
"I stood out front, I led. Nobody's that's a leader would not do what I did. And I know there's a risk, there's a danger, but that's ok," said Trump.
"Now I'm better and maybe I'm immune. I don't know," he added.
NOT OUT OF THE WOODS
Trump's doctors have said that the president, who received supplemental oxygen twice in recent days, was not "out of the woods".
"He may not entirely be out of the woods yet," Dr Sean Conley, the White House physician, said. "If we can get through to Monday with him remaining the same or improving, better yet, then we will all take that final, deep sigh of relief."
But Conley said the medical team believed Trump was ready to leave the hospital, stressing he would have world-class medical care around the clock at the White House.
The severity of Trump's illness has been the subject of intense speculation, with some medical experts noting that, as an overweight, elderly man, he was in a category more likely to develop severe complications or die from the disease.
Doctors also have been treating him with a steroid, dexmethasone, that is normally used only in the most severe cases.
READ: US vice presidential debate to include plexiglass barrier after COVID-19 outbreak in White House
BIDEN CRITICISES TRUMP'S REMARKS
Biden on Monday castigated Donald Trump for saying Americans should not be afraid of COVID-19 or let it "dominate your life".
"I saw a tweet he did, they showed me, he said 'don't let COVID control your life,'" Biden told Florida news station Local 10 as he campaigned in the key battleground state.
"Tell that to the 205,000 families who lost somebody."
The former vice president added to his comments later Monday at an outdoor town hall event in Miami, where he criticised Trump for ignoring the importance of masks.
"I would hope that the president, having gone through what he went through - and I'm glad he seems to be coming along pretty well - would communicate the right lesson to the American people: masks matter," Biden said.
"These masks, they matter. It matters, it saves lives, it prevents the spread of the disease."
Biden's remarks came just minutes after Trump returned to the White House from hospital, and removed his face mask as he stood on the mansion's balcony.
"It's a great concern," Biden said. "I hope no one walks away with the message thinking that it's not a problem."