Donald Trump has claimed he has a “protective glow” after being given the all-clear from coronavirus by White House medical staff.
The US president also declared himself immune to the virus, despite official guidance from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention warning that recovering from COVID-19 does not make a patient immune to the virus.
His comments come a day before a scheduled rally in Sanford, Florida, followed by another in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Iowa on Wednesday, with campaigning continuing ahead of election day on 3 November.
“I beat this crazy, horrible China virus,” the president told Fox News in a phone call on Sunday, 10 days after his diagnosis was confirmed by the White House.
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He said he had passed “the highest test” and “the highest standards”, adding: “I have to tell you, I feel fantastically. I really feel good.
“I even feel good by the fact that, you know, the word ‘immunity’ means something – having really a protective glow means something. I think it’s very important to have that, to have that is a very important thing,” he added.
“The doctors, the White House doctors, as you know are the best, and they said – totally free of spreading. There’s no spread,” he said.
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White House physician Sean Conley said Mr Trump took a COVID-19 test on Saturday which showed that he is no longer a “transmission risk to others”.
The president’s interview came as Twitter labelled another of his posts for “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19”.
Mr Trump said he had received a “total and complete sign off” from the White House doctors, and added: “This means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!”
Scientists are concerned that when patients overcome a coronavirus infection they may not necessarily be immune from different strains of the virus, and that the antibodies they have for the strain they contracted may not last more than a few months.
Official guidance from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that overcoming the virus does not confer immunity.
In his call with Fox News he offered varying timescales for how long his “immunity” might last.
“It looks like I’m immune for, I don’t know, maybe a long time, maybe a short time. It could be a lifetime. Nobody really knows, but I’m immune. Once you do recover, you’re immune.”
He previously stated the US would “defeat this terrible China virus” and claimed a vaccine was imminent, and would be distributed rapidly by the military.
“We’re producing powerful therapies and drugs, and we’re healing the sick… and the vaccine is coming out very, very quickly and record time as you know – it’s coming out very, very soon,” he said.
A number of vaccines are at an advanced testing stage following encouraging results, but it’s unclear when any might be signed off and available for more widespread use.
He said despite “flare-ups” in different countries, COVID-19 “is disappearing, vaccines are going to help, therapeutics are going to help a lot”.