U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday he "learned a lot about COVID" by "really going to school" as he briefly ventured out of the hospital to greet his supporters.
Hours earlier, Trump's medical team reported that his blood oxygen level dropped suddenly twice in recent days and that they gave him a steroid typically only recommended for the very sick. Still, the doctors said Trump's health is improving and that he could be discharged as early as Monday.
"I learned a lot about COVID, I learned it by really going to school," Trump said in a video posted to Twitter. "This is the real school. This isn't the 'let's read the books school,' and I get it, and I understand it, and it's a very interesting thing."
Shortly after sharing the video, Trump left Walter Reed hospital outside Washington for a surprise visit to supporters gathered outside. Video footage showed the president wearing a face mask and waving to crowds as he drove past.
"This is insanity," Dr. James P. Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed who is a critic of Trump and his handling of the pandemic. "Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary presidential 'drive-by' just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick," the doctor added.
"Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater."
White House spokesman Judd Deere said Trump's trip outside the hospital "was cleared by the medical team as safe to do." He added that precautions were taken, including using personal protective equipment, to protect Trump as well as White House officials and Secret Service agents.
Joe Biden's campaign, meanwhile, said the Democratic presidential nominee again tested negative for coronavirus Sunday. The results come five days after Biden spent more than 90 minutes on the debate stage with Trump. Biden, who has taken a far more cautious approach to in-person events, had two negative tests on Friday.