Donald Trump returns to White House, pulls off mask despite still being contagious

United States President Donald Trump has left hospital, four days after he checked in for emergency treatment of COVID-19. Trump returned to the White House, pulling off his mask as soon as he entered despite still being contagious. 

Exiting alone from the gold-coloured doors of the Walter Reed military hospital where he was admitted last Friday, Trump walked, wearing a mask, to a limousine. 

He gave the watching media the thumb’s up before boarding the Marine One helicopter to the White House. 

After landing, he walked up the steps onto the South Portico's balcony and removed his mask as he saluted the departing Marine One.

Most media reports stated that the president’s return to the White House was a media spectacle aimed at showing that Trump is physically fit and that no one needs to fear the virus. In fact, just prior to leaving the Walter Reed hospital, Trump had tweeted to say that Americans have nothing to fear.

There is less than a month to go before the November 3 presidential elections and various polls have shown Democratic contendor Joe Biden ahead of Trump. 

Many believe that Trump’s campaign strategy after having tested positive for COVID-19 will now focus on him personally beating the coronavirus and leading the country out of a health crisis that has seen a death toll of nearly 210,000. 

Trump’s tweets seem to suggest exactly this. 

"Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!!" he said in one tweet.

"Don't be afraid of Covid," he said in another.

The White House has seen a big outbreak of the virus with Trump’s Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany the latest to test positive. Others close to Trump who have tested COVID+ include First Lady Melania, his close aide Hope Hicks, his campaign manager Bill Stepien, two of McEnany's assistants and more than half a dozen others from the president's circle both inside and outside the White House.