US President Donald Trump will leave hospital this morning (NZT) after a fourth injection of the experimental drug remdesivir, his doctors say.
But he returns to a White House in the grip of Covid, with another of his inner-circle, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, testing positive - and serious questions as to whether his health is up to leaving fulltime medical care.
While he "may not be out of the woods yet", his vital signs and clinical status supported the release of the president back to the White House, his physician Dr Sean Conley said today.
He will continue to receive "world-class" medical care at the White House, including a fifth and final injection of remdesivir. He would also continue to receive the steroid drug dexamethasone.
Conley said it was more than 72 hours since Trump's last fever. His temperature was 98.1 degrees, blood-oxygen level 97, blood pressure 134 over 78, and his heart rate was 68 beats per minute.
He would not reveal details of lung scans.
Earlier, Trump said he was leaving hospital at 11.30am (NZT) today after a three-day stay to treat his Covid-19 symptoms.
The President tweeted: "I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30pm. Feeling really good! Don't be afraid of Covid. 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!"
The virus has killed nearly 210,000 Americans.
Trump's nonchalant message about not fearing the virus comes as his own administration has encouraged Americans to be very careful and take precautions to avoid contracting and spreading the disease as cases continue to spike across the country.
For more than eight months, Trump's efforts to play down the threat of the virus in hopes of propping up the economy ahead of the election have drawn bipartisan criticism.
Only a day earlier, Trump suggested he had finally grasped the true nature of the virus, saying in a video, "I get it."
Trump has been treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center since Friday afternoon.
His planned release comes as one of his most recognised and trusted inner-circle officials, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, has revealed she has also tested positive for Covid-19.
Meanwhile, ignoring criticism of his earlier decision to leave the hospital to pay crowds a "surprise visit", Trump took to Twitter in a barrage of political posts overnight.
In the space of just one hour, Trump tweeted a total of 18 times - using capital letters to push his case for law and order, tax cuts and the military among many other issues. But he made no mention of his stunt just hours earlier which saw him leave the Walter Reed military hospital to greet Republican Party supporters.
Trump ventured out while contagious, disregarding precautions meant to contain the virus.
The scale of the outbreak within the White House itself was still being uncovered as McEnany announced she tested positive for the virus earlier today (NZT) and was entering quarantine.
McEnany said in a statement that she tested positive on Monday morning and was experiencing no symptoms at this time. She spoke briefly with reporters on Sunday evening, but says that no members of the White House press corps spent enough time around her to be considered close contacts.
She says that she is beginning the quarantine process and "will continue working on behalf of the American People remotely".
White House officials said Trump was anxious to be released today after three nights at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where doctors revealed on Sunday that his blood oxygen level had 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 was improving.
Trump "is ready to get back to a normal work schedule" and was optimistic about a release, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told Fox News.
"Spoke to the President this morning. He continued to improve overnight and is ready to get back to a normal working schedule. He will meet with his doctors and nurses this morning to make further assessments of his progress," Meadows said.
"We are still optimistic that he will be able to return to the White House later today."
The developments cap a weekend of contradictions that fuelled confusion about Trump's health, which has imperilled the leadership of the US government and upended the final stages of the presidential campaign.
While Trump's physician Dr Sean Conley offered a rosy prognosis on his condition, his briefings lacked basic information, including the findings of lung scans, or were quickly muddled by more serious assessments of the president's health by other officials.
In a short video released by the White House on Sunday, Trump, 74, insisted he understood the gravity of the moment. But his actions moments later, by leaving the hospital and sitting inside the SUV with others, suggested otherwise.
The outing sparked an outcry from Dr James Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed.
The President has been criticised for putting at risk the safety of his security officers sitting with him in the vehicle for the sake of a photo opp.
"That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack," Dr Phillips tweeted.
"The risk of Covid-19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. "The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play."
Dr Phillips noted that "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. They may die. For political theatre. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theatre. This is insanity."
Former Director of Global Engagement at the White House under Barack Obama, Brett Bruen, said he was "alarmed" when he saw the images of President Trump.
"All for what? So the President could create a photo opp? It just seemed rather ridiculous and, quite frankly, rather appalling," he told the BBC.
White House employees who develop potential coronavirus symptoms have been asked to "please stay home" in an email obtained by New York Magazine's Olivia Nuzzi.
"As a reminder, if you are experiencing any symptoms such as sore throat, cough, fever, headache, new loss of taste or smell, muscle aches, chills, diarrhoea, or difficulty breathing, please stay home and do not come to work until you are free of any symptoms," the email reads.
"Affected staff should inform their supervisors and seek care from their primary care provider."
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's campaign says he tested negative for coronavirus on Sunday.
The results come five days after Biden spent more than 90 minutes on the debate stage with President Donald Trump. The president was diagnosed with Covid-19 days after the debate, and he remains hospitalised.
Biden had two negative tests on Friday, as well.
- with news.com