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Trump returns to White House after COVID treatment

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President Donald Trump returned to the White House Monday evening after being treated for COVID-19 for three days at the hospital, and removed his mask to pose for photos on a balcony before walking into the residence.

Trump didn’t speak to reporters at the White House and only said “thank you very much” to those gathered at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center before boarding the presidential helicopter. Back at the White House, he walked up the South Portico stairs to the balcony, where he removed his mask, flashed thumbs-up with both hands and saluted for several seconds.

He did not appear to put his mask back on before walking into the residence. The show of defiance toward both the virus and public health measures to combat its spread was in keeping with the president’s tone earlier when he announced he would leave the Bethesda, Maryland, hospital.

In a video released shortly afterward, Trump said of the virus: “Don’t let it dominate you.”

“I knew there’s danger to it. But I had to do it. I stood out front. I led. Nobody that’s a leader would not do what I did. I know there’s a risk. I know there’s a danger. But that’s O.K. And now I’m better. Maybe I’m immune, I don’t know,” he said.

“Get out there, be careful,” Trump added. “The vaccines are coming momentarily.”

The president has received medical care unavailable to most people, including three powerful medicines and an airlift to and from the hospital. The virus has infected more than 7.4 million Americans and has killed more than 210,000 since February, including 475 on Sunday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The president’s aides hope to keep him at the White House residence and away from the Oval Office but are uncertain how long that will last, according to people familiar with the matter.“We’ll be back on the campaign trail soon!!!” Trump tweeted before leaving the hospital.

“Over the past 24 hours, the president has continued to improve. He’s met or exceeded all hospital discharge criteria,” White House physician Sean Conley said at a briefing after Trump’s announcement.

Trump “may not entirely be out of the woods” but the rest of his care can safely be performed at the White House, Conley said.

The race to determine who would be the next US president is well underway. Here’s a look at the developments along the way that lead to the election day on November 3, 2020.

The president received a fourth dose of an antiviral drug, Remdesivir, at Walter Reed before he was discharged and will get a fifth dose at the White House, his medical team said.

“He’s returning to a facility, the White House medical unit, that’s staffed 24-7,” Conley said, adding, “Every day a patient stays in the hospital unnecessarily is a risk to themselves.”

Conley said coronavirus patients could stop shedding the virus in as few as five days after diagnosis, and that Trump would be monitored to determine when he is no longer infectious. The White House plans for Trump to stay in the residence for a few days before returning to normal, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

The White House is creating additional room for Trump to work in the residence, and avoid heading into the Oval Office, by converting the Map Room and Diplomatic Reception Room into office space, according to a person familiar with the matter.

All aides who will see Trump over the next few days will be required to be in full personal protective equipment and maintain physical distance from the president, that person said, asking not to be identified discussing internal preparations.

Conley conceded that the course of Trump’s illness could still take a turn. “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,” he said.

“We’re looking to this weekend,” Conley added. “If we can get through to Monday with him remaining the same or improving, better yet, then we will all take that final deep sigh of relief.”

Trump has received doses of two other medicines, including an experimental “antibody cocktail” and a steroid, dexamethasone, usually used to combat inflammation in people with more severe cases of Covid-19.

During the news conference, one of Trump’s doctors read off a list of the president’s vital signs as of this morning, including his temperature, blood pressure, respiratory rate, heart rate and blood-oxygen saturation level. His medical team has not previously released that data to the public.

But Conley declined to discuss the results of scans of Trump’s lungs, citing federal health privacy law.

Trump went to the hospital Friday evening, after announcing early that morning he’d tested positive for the virus. He was briefly administered supplemental oxygen at the White House before traveling to Walter Reed, Conley said Sunday.

The White House did not provide any update on Trump’s health in more than 24 hours between Sunday and Monday. Before he suddenly announced he would leave the hospital, he had not said anything about his condition on Twitter since shortly after 5 pm Sunday.

With less than a month until Election Day, Trump’s hospitalization has jolted the presidential campaign, forcing him to scrap rallies and other events as polls show him trailing Joe Biden nationally and in swing states. His campaign has launched “Operation MAGA,” referring to his Make America Great Again slogan, to flood the campaign trail with top surrogates like Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s family and others.

Among the aides who were with the president Monday evening as he was preparing to leave Max Miller, the deputy campaign manager for presidential operations, and Bobby Peede, the White House director of advance. They arrived at the hospital just before 3pm, heading to presidential suite.

Peede had the coronavirus earlier this year, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Trump’s release comes after a weekend of mixed signals from Conley, who on Sunday disclosed for the first time that the president had been given supplemental oxygen and received a medication that’s typically used in more severe Covid-19 patients.

Asked why he didn’t disclose during Saturday’s briefing that Trump had received oxygen despite repeated questions about it, Conley said, “I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude” of the team and the president.

Trump was diagnosed with the disease late Thursday, after a close aide, Hope Hicks, also tested positive for the virus.

The president first tested positive after he returned from a fundraiser at his New Jersey golf resort on Thursday, McEnany told reporters on Sunday evening. Trump made an appearance on Fox News on Thursday night before disclosing on Twitter shortly after midnight on Friday that he had tested positive.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Monday criticized Trump’s travel to the fundraiser at his Bedminster golf resort in the state, saying it ought to have been canceled. The president went to the event despite knowing Hicks had tested positive.

“I hope it’s a lesson that now we’ve all learned,” Murphy said on CBS’s “This Morning.”

Biden, speaking in Miami, wished Trump and the first lady well and said he hoped the president would take mask-wearing seriously.

“I was glad to see the president speaking and recording videos over the weekend,” Biden said. “Now that he’s busy tweeting campaign messages, I would ask him to do this: Listen to the scientists, support masks.”

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Obasanjo worries about depreciating economy, govt appointments based on favouritism

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed concern about the current state of affairs in the country, especially the continued drop in living standard.

He lamented that government’s appointments were based on “favouritism” and not merit or competence.

The former president said this in a statement while felicitating the Federal Government College, Kaduna, on its 50th anniversary.

He said the economic situation in the country had increased hardship, insecurity, and affected the quality of leadership.

According to him, leaders are more concerned about their selfish interests than the country’s survival, adding that the religious tensions in the country have been intentionally instigated by politicians.

“Once again, our nation is dancing on the precipice and some of us are truly worried about the state of affairs today. I expressed that worry in my open letter to Nigerians and Nigerian youths on New Year’s Day,” he said.

“As I stated in the letter; ‘If we fall prey again, we will have ourselves to blame and no one can say how many more knocks Nigeria can take before it tips over. To be forewarned is to be fore-armed.’ Of course, I pray that Nigeria will never tip over. We must constantly work at it and pray.

“My worry is premised on a number of issues. First, I am concerned that the current state of our nation’s economy has widened the gulf of inequality and left many people in despair. Inflation is on the rise; poverty and hardship have returned to many households. The last decade has reversed many of the economic gains that were made in the first decade of the century. There is a general sense of hopelessness across the nation with seemingly uncontrollable insecurity.

“In addition to the economic hardship is political mischief. Never have we been so politically divided along religious, ethnic and other fault lines and deliberately so. Appointments in government are skewed and lopsided on basis of nepotism and mediocrity and disregard of merit and competence.

“Elections are here and may compound the problem. Political parties and politicians have now been emboldened to discard some of the things that were put in place to give all groups a sense of belonging. Exclusion is being taken as normal. Disunity stares us in the face and many of our leaders are more concerned about their selfish interests than the survival and health of our nation.”

Speaking further, Obasanjo urged Nigerians to change the political course of the country by participating actively in the forthcoming elections.

The former president said the concerns raised about the presidential candidates are real, adding that Nigerians would have themselves to blame if they do nothing about the situation.

The statement read, “Let me reiterate that the concerns being raised about the nature of the options before us in the presidential elections for instance are real and should not be trifled with.

“Nigeria belongs to us all and no part of the country should be left in doubt about their place in this union on any basis whatsoever; ethnic, religious, language, region, culture or social standing.

“The beauty of democracy is that the options before us cannot be imposed on us if we all do what we need to do to send a message to those who have had the audacity to present those options to us with little or no interest for the 225 million Nigerians.

“If we choose to do nothing, we will only have ourselves to blame. If we choose to do the right thing, we will by so doing return this country on the right track; one which gives all our people a sense of belonging and a sense of unity of purpose and a stake in the project Nigeria; a project that will give all of us peace, security, stability, shared prosperity, hope and progress and a place within the comity of nations.”

 

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Updated: Postpone visit to Kano, Ganduje advises Buhari over fuel, new naira anger

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Abdullahi Ganduje and Muhammadu Buhari

Governor of Kano State, Abdulahi Ganduje, has made a request to President Muhammadu Buhari to put on hold his planned visit to the state.
Ganduje’s reason, according to a statement by his media aide, Abba Anwar, is to avert possible embarrassing breakdown of law and order by the ordinary citizens over the complications arising from the fuel scarcity and scarcity of the newly redesigned naira.

Ganduje was quoted to have stated this before some professionals who visited him at the Government House on Friday.

He was quoted as telling his visitors, “As we are waiting for this important visit, we find ourselves in this situation, which puts citizens into untold hardship. For security purposes, we wrote to the Presidency that President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Kano be postponed.

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“We got an acknowledgement copy of the letter. People are really suffering because of this policy.”

Among the visitors were said to be two serving senators from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Barau Jibrin and Kabiru Gaya, 20 members of the House of Representatives and 30 legislators from the State House of Assembly.

The governor quoted as saying that it has become difficult to transact businesses even with the Point of Sale (POS).
The situation is said to have led to many traders closing their businesses.

“This problem affects all of us.Therefore, our voice must be heard in all nooks and crannies. We are a commercial hub. As such, our position must be loud and clear,” Ganduje said.

The governor also reportedly called for an extension of the deadline for returning old naira notes.

“There are no banks in most of our rural communities. How these people get new naira notes is of great concern. Just look at what is happening in our urban areas; people go and spend hours upon hours in banks without any assurances of getting the new notes,” Ganduje lamented.

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I’m alive by God’s grace, I saw many colleagues during civil war fall before me – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has recounted a part of experience during the civil war in which he saw many people including his colleagues die right before him.

He also revealed how he ran away from home to join the Nigerian army to escape family pressure of getting married.

The President revealed this during a visit to the Emir of Daura, Faruk Faruk, after inaugurating two roads in Katsina State.

A presidential aide, Femi Adesina, highlighted Buhari’s narrative of his battle during the Nigerian Civil War and some personal challenges faced as told by the President duy the visit.

The statement read, “President Buhari said that he secured his first job early after school to manage a co-operative in Daura, but had to escape and join the army when there was pressure that he should get married.

“I told Governor Aminu Masari the story of how I left Daura to join the army. That was how God planned it. We make choices in life, but eventually destiny is before God.

“I was at the war front during the civil war, and saw how many died. Some fell right beside me. God kept me.

“Many bridges were blown just before we arrived at some places, and after we crossed. I arrived at some places to see bodies of my own colleagues that we were fighting together. I am alive today only by God’s grace.

“This opportunity to serve the nation comes from God. All over the world, Nigeria is known for its diversity, with different religions and cultures.

“We are also known because we have a huge population of millions of people. For the President of Nigeria, at this time, to come from Daura is the grace and mercy of God.”

Buhari also told the emirate that he would return and settle in Daura after handing over on May 29, 2023.

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