‘It’s great to be back’: Thousands attend Trump’s first rally since contracting coronavirus

By Jill Colvin and Jonathan Lemire | Associated Press

SANFORD, Florida — Just a week after his release from the hospital, President Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail Monday for the first time since contracting the coronavirus, resuming his effort to stage a late comeback in the election’s final stretch.

“It’s great to be back in my home state, Florida, to make my official return to the campaign trail,” Trump declared in front of a crowd of thousands of supporters, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, mostly without masks, despite the ongoing pandemic.

Trump said that, after being given experimental medication and other VIP treatment, he’s feeling great and glad he no longer needs to be concerned about infection because he’s now “immune.”

“I feel so powerful,” said Trump, displaying no obvious signs of lingering infection. “I’ll walk into that audience. I’ll walk in there, I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women … everybody. I’ll just give ya a big fat kiss.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said Monday on CNN that those who recover from COVID-19 are likely to be immune for a limited period of time, but there are cases emerging of people getting reinfected weeks or months later.

With three weeks to go before Election Day, Trump — whose doctor said Monday for the first time that he had received a negative test for COVID-19 — is pushing to correct a stubborn deficit in national and battleground state polling as he continues to spread misinformation about a virus that he spent months downplaying.

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That includes in Florida, which is seen as critical to his re-election chances. Trump narrowly beat his 2016 rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, in the state by just over 112,000 votes. Some recent polls have suggested a close race in the state, while others have put Democrat Joe Biden ahead.

President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Orlando Sanford International Airport, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in Sanford, Fla. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

Trump’s Sanford rally was his first stop in a busy week that will include events in Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina and Wisconsin. The robust schedule underscored the urgency he is facing to recover from a series of self-inflicted setbacks that have rattled his base of support and triggered alarm among Republicans who fear the White House is on the verge of being lost to Biden.

And it comes amid still-unanswered questions about the impact so much travel so soon could have on the 74-year-old president’s health. The progression of COVID-19 is often unpredictable, and there can be long-term complications.

After Air Force One lifted off from Joint Base Andrews, the president’s doctor released an update on his health that said Trump had tested negative for the virus — and had done so on consecutive days. His doctor, Navy Cmdr. Scott Conley, said that the tests, taking in conjunction with other data, including viral load, have led him to conclude that Trump was not contagious.

For days, the White House had sidestepped questions about whether Trump had tested negative. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

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