Back at White House, Trump says don't fear COVID

President Donald Trump departed Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday and was flown back to the White House, where he walked up the stairs of the South Portico and removed his mask, after a three-day stay at a military hospital, where a team of doctors treated him for COVID-19.

The photo op at the White House drew heavy criticism on social media. So too did a tweet Trump sent earlier in the day from the hospital that said "Don't be afraid of Covid."

Trump reiterated the comments at the White House.

COVID-19 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.

CONLEY: "Though he may not entirely be out of the woods yet, the team and I agree that all of our evaluations and, most importantly, his clinical status, support the President's safe return home..."

While Dr. Sean Conley said Trump was not out of the woods, he told reporters the 74-year-old president will continue to receive world-class medical care around the clock at the White House.

CONLEY: We all remain cautiously optimistic and on guard because we're in a bit of uncharted territory when it comes to a patient that received the therapies he has so early in the course. So we're looking to this weekend, if we can get through to Monday with him remaining the same or improving better yet, then we will all take that final sigh of relief."

Trump's medical team said he was given the steroid dexamethasone, which is normally used only in the most severe cases of the illness and comes with risks of serious side effects, including mood swings, aggression and confusion.

The Infectious Disease Society of America says dexamethasone is beneficial to people with critical or severe COVID-19 who require extra oxygen. But studies show the drug may be harmful in people with a milder case because it can suppress their natural immune response.

On Monday morning, Trump unleashed a stream of more than a dozen abrupt, all-caps Twitter messages urging his followers to vote for him.

Trump returns to a White House hit by a wave of infections - an outbreak that grew on Monday when Trump's press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she had tested positive for the virus.

Trump also returns to a campaign overshadowed by the pandemic with voters in many states already casting their ballots just four weeks to go until Election Day.