Donald Trump paid a 'surprise visit' to supporters outside Walter Reed Medical Centre after sharing a video update of his condition on Sunday.
The president said it has been an interesting journey taught him a lot about Covid, by going to "real school", not the "let's read the book school".
The photo-op sparked outrage among some observers. The White House Correspondents Association upset they weren't given advance notice to cover the event, while an attending physician at Walter Reed called it "insanity" to expose Secret Service agents for political theatre.
The drive-by came after his condition continued to improve, with doctors saying he could return to the White House as early as Monday.
That would be at least three nights in hospital for treatment, which has included oxygen, a second dose of remdesivir, and a first dose of the steroid, dexamethasone. His medical team has said Mr Trump isn’t showing any side effects “that we can tell”.
Dr Sean Conley, Mr Trump’s physician, also defended his decision to withhold the president’s need for supplemental oxygen in the past two days, saying he tried to reflect Mr Trump’s “upbeat attitude”.
While the Trump's campaign ground to a halt in a hospital bed, Joe Biden surged ahead in the polls as the surprise October Covid diagnosis threw the final leg of the 2020 election into uncertainty.
In a new poll conducted after the first presidential debate, but before the president's positive coronavirus test, Mr Biden extended his national lead over Mr Trump by a two to one margin.
Mr Biden’s team confirmed on Sunday that he would be at the next debate, but with confusion over the severity of Mr Trump's condition and symptoms, questions remain over whether it will go ahead in two weeks.