SINGAPORE – US President Donald Trump returned to the White House on Monday despite still being infected. A move analysts say could provoke "backlash" and shows that it is not taking the virus seriously.
Shortly before leaving the hospital, Trump said he plans to immediately return to campaigning, where he will have less than a month to fight for a second term.
"I think he really faces the possibility of backlash if he does. We have 209,000 Americans who have died," said Todd Eberly, professor of political science at St. Mary's College.
"I think the smarter choice for him would be to come out and say, 'You know I clearly understand the seriousness now,' and try to get some people who show a little more empathy for what he's not known, "Eberly told CNBC on Tuesday.
A growing number of officials in Trump's administration have tested positive for the virus since the president announced he was infected last Friday.
The previous Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced that she and two of her deputies had tested positive for Covid-19. At least 18 people who have either been to the White House or were connected to Trump's re-election campaign or attended recent White House events have tested positive since late last week when Trump announced he was infected.
US President Donald Trump looks over at reporters and photographers as the President leaves Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after a fourth day of treatment for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to travel from the Bethesda, Maryland Hospital to the White House in Return to Washington, United States, October 5, 2020.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
"The president's campaign will be severely hampered, even if he's back in the office in the next few weeks," said Mark Jolley, strategist at CCB International Securities. "He's missing some key employees, and half of his workforce in his campaign is being quarantined."
"I think he won't be able to campaign for a week or two, so he's missing two weeks in the crucial final month leading up to the election," Jolley told CNBC's "Squawk" Box Asia "on Tuesday.
"I think politically it is very important for Mr Biden," he added.
Last Friday, Trump checked into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment after announcing that he had contracted the coronavirus. Just three days later, on Monday, he left the facility to return to the White House.
… If he were to go back one more time to those big rallies surrounded by largely exposed people, it would certainly send a signal that he continues to underestimate the severity of this virus.
Professor of Political Science at St. Mary & # 39; s College
The president remains infected with the virus. His treatment will continue at the White House, his doctors said.
The White House assured Americans that it is "taking all necessary precautions" to protect the president, his family and his staff.
"President Trump will continue to receive 24-hour medical care," the White House said in a statement, adding that physical access to Trump will be "severely restricted" and appropriate personal protective equipment will be worn around him.
Trump has also been criticized by health experts for pulling past the hospital in front of a group of his supporters on the weekend. Health professionals noted that the president, who may still be contagious, may have endangered members of the intelligence community who were in the car with him.
Eberly added, "I'm curious to see how long it will be before he resumes his campaign and if he returns to the big rallies surrounded by largely exposed people it would surely send a signal that he is grave this virus continues to be underestimated. ""
– CNBC's Kevin Breuninger contributed to this story.