[Read our live updates on President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis.]
President Trump returned to the White House on Monday evening, walking up the steps of the South Portico and removing his mask to pose for photos, after three days of hospitalization for Covid-19.
President Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley, said earlier Monday that the president’s health had improved after three days of treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and that he would return to the White House. The announcement came after doctors and senior White House staff members had given conflicting updates about the president’s condition, treatments and when he learned he was infected with the coronavirus.
A timeline of events about the president’s illness is drawn from his tweets, news conferences, statements from the White House and reporting from The New York Times.
Mr. Trump and his team traveled to Minnesota for a rally that lasted about 45 minutes — about half the length of his typical campaign speeches.
During the event, one of Mr. Trump’s closest advisers, Hope Hicks, started to have symptoms related to the virus.
On the return trip, Mr. Trump slept as some of his advisers spoke about the condition of Ms. Hicks, who was isolated in the back of the plane.
At the event, Mr. Trump appeared before hundreds of supporters, both indoors and outdoors. One person who saw the president there said he was in contact with about 100 people and appeared lethargic.
On a call with Iowa voters and in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Mr. Trump sounded raspy.
Later that night, Mr. Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said.
The president had a mild cough, nasal congestion and fatigue.
Close to 1 a.m., Mr. Trump said on Twitter that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The doctor recommended that Mr. Trump be given supplemental oxygen.
“He was fairly adamant that he didn’t need it,” Dr. Conley said. “He was not short of breath. He was tired, had the fever, but that was about it.”
After about a minute on two liters of supplemental oxygen, Mr. Trump’s saturation levels were back over 95 percent, Dr. Conley said. The president stayed on the supplemental oxygen for about an hour at the White House.
That evening, Mr. Trump was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for a more thorough evaluation and monitoring.
Mr. Trump received an 8-gram dose of an experimental polyclonal antibody cocktail. He also took zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and aspirin.
The president also was given his first dose of remdesivir, an antiviral drug that has an emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration as a Covid-19 therapy.
Mr. Trump has mild heart disease, similar to many men in their 70s. He also takes a statin drug to treat high cholesterol and aspirin to prevent heart attacks. His health summary, released in June, showed that he crossed the line into obesity at 244 pounds.
The president’s blood oxygen level dropped for a second time to about 93 percent, which some experts describe as a potential indicator of severe Covid-19, though it was unclear if the president received any supplemental oxygen.
He was given the steroid dexamethasone, which has been used to treat diseases like lupus, arthritis and cancer. A study conducted by scientists at the University of Oxford showed the drug reduced deaths of Covid-19 patients on oxygen by one-fifth.
Trump Tests Positive
Mr. Trump was given a second dose of remdesivir and did not exhibit any known side effects, doctors said.
Dr. Conley said that, as of that night, Mr. Trump remained “fever-free and off supplemental oxygen.”
“While not yet out of the woods, the team remains cautiously optimistic,” he added.
Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, offered a more somber description of the president’s health, generating skepticism over Dr. Conley’s initial news conference.
“The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning, and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care,” Mr. Meadows told reporters. “We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”
In a video shared on Twitter, Mr. Trump said he was “starting to feel good” and thanked supporters and well-wishers.
The president’s blood oxygen level improved to 98 percent, Dr. Conley said at a news conference.
Doctors wanted him to eat, drink and be out of bed as much as possible.
The president’s medical team hinted at the possibility that Mr. Trump might be discharged to the White House as early as Monday.
Doctors were tracking any damage to his lungs for signs of pneumonia.
“There’s some expected findings, but nothing of any major clinical concern,” Dr. Conley said.
In a video posted to Twitter on Sunday from the Walter Reed medical center, Mr. Trump thanked nurses and doctors.
“I learned a lot about Covid,” he said, looking straight into the camera. “I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school. This isn’t the lets-read-the-books-school and I get it, I understand it.”
He later embarked on a surprise outing from the hospital in his armored Chevrolet Suburban to ride past supporters holding Trump flags gathered outside the building. Wearing a suit jacket and face mask but no tie, Mr. Trump waved at the crowd through a closed window as his motorcade slowly cruised by before returning him to the hospital.
More than a day after the last update on the president’s health, Mr. Trump’s medical team offered an optimistic outlook and confirmed that he would be returning to the White House on Monday afternoon.
“Over the past 24 hours, the president has continued to improve,” Dr. Conley said. “He’s met or exceeded all standard hospital discharge criteria.”
The doctors said that it had been 72 hours since his last fever and that his oxygen levels, including ambulatory saturations and breathing, were normal. The president’s blood pressure was 134 over 78, his temperature was 98.1, his heart rate was 68 beats a minute and his last oxygen saturation was 97 percent.
“Though he may not be entirely out of the woods yet, the team and I agree that all our evaluations, and most importantly, his clinical status, support the president’s safe return home where he’ll be surrounded by world-class medical care 24/7,” Dr. Conley said.
The president had been given a third dose of remdesivir Sunday evening and would receive a fourth before leaving for the White House, the doctors said. He was to receive his fifth dose at the White House. He has also continued use of the steroid dexamethasone.
The medical team declined to comment on specifics about the president’s lung scans or whether he would be quarantined in the White House for the duration of his illness. They also did not offer a definitive date of the last negative test.
Dr. Conley said on Monday that the team was “cautiously optimistic and on guard” for a worsening of the president’s conditions through this week, given the therapies he had received.
He said that if the president could get through until next Monday with him remaining the same or improving, “then we will all take that final deep sigh of relief.”
The medical update came shortly after Mr. Trump tweeted Monday afternoon that he would be leaving the hospital.
“Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid,” the tweet said. “Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
Lew Serviss contributed reporting.