Trump's illness has kept him from crisscrossing the country to rally support in the final weeks before the election. File photo
Republican President Donald Trump on Friday prepared to return to the campaign trail with a pair of weekend rallies after his COVID-19 diagnosis sidelined him for a week in the race against Democratic nominee Joe Biden for the White House.
Trump, who announced he had been infected with the coronavirus on Oct. 2 and spent three nights in a military hospital receiving treatment, said late on Thursday he was feeling "really good" and, with a doctor's blessing, aimed to campaign in Florida on Saturday and in Pennsylvania on Sunday.
Trump's illness has kept him from crisscrossing the country to rally support and raise cash in the final weeks before the Nov. 3 election. A return to in-person events would be aimed at convincing voters he is healthy enough to campaign and to govern.
US President Donald Trump prepares to return to the campaign trail. File photo
While Trump has released several videos on Twitter, he has not appeared in public since he returned home from the hospital on Monday. Biden has continued to campaign, with events scheduled on Friday in Las Vegas, Nevada.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines say people who are severely ill with COVID-19 might need to stay home for up to 20 days after symptoms first appear.
Biden, who has sharply criticized Trump's handling of the pandemic, is beating the Republican in national polls, though that lead is narrower in some of the swing states that may determine the election's outcome.
White House physician Sean Conley said in a memo released on Thursday that Trump had completed his course of therapy for COVID-19, remained stable since returning home from the hospital and could resume public engagements on Saturday.
Sounding hoarse and occasionally pausing and clearing his throat, Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity in an interview late on Thursday that he was likely to be tested for the virus on Friday. The White House has declined to say when Trump last tested negative.Reuters
The rally was shaping up to be one of the biggest indoor events in the US since large gatherings were shut down in March because of the coronavirus, and it was scheduled over the protests of local health officials and as COVID-19 cases spike in many states. The event was expected to draw crowds of protesters to the area as well.
"Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery," Biden said as America and the world digested the bombshell news overnight that Trump has contracted the coronavirus.
Biden said business and labor leaders had signalled willingness to work together to bolster the pandemic-battered US economy but stressed COVID-19 first must be brought under control.
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