- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 11, 2020

President Trump prepared to launch himself onto the campaign trail Monday in a mad dash to make up ground against Democratic challenger Joseph R. Biden, announcing that he is now immune from COVID-19 after the virus sidelined him for a week.

The president’s doctor cleared him to emerge from quarantine over the weekend after deeming him symptom-free and “no longer considered a transmission risk to others.”

“A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!!” Mr. Trump tweeted Sunday.

Twitter quickly flagged Mr. Trump’s immunity claim as “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”

The extent to which COVID-19 survivors develop immunity is unclear, though scientists agree that survivors develop limited protective immunity.

Medical studies have found that survivors are unlikely to be reinfected with COVID-19 because antibodies remain in the system for roughly three months.

The president has insisted that roughly 10 days after coming down with COVID-19 symptoms, he is immune. He also told Fox News that he is no longer on medication.

“Now you have a president who doesn’t have to hide in a basement,” Mr. Trump said in a jab at Mr. Biden, who until recently was staging almost all of his events remotely from home.

For more than a week, however, Mr. Biden had the campaign trail to himself. He took full advantage by barnstorming across the county in battlegrounds such as Michigan and Arizona.

The president returns to the stump with rallies Monday in Florida, Tuesday in Pennsylvania and Wednesday in Iowa. He has been itching to get back in front of the massive crowds that are the hallmark of his campaign rallies and whip up excitement among the die-hard fans he is counting on for another surprise win on Nov. 3.

The president’s allies cheered the move. They said it’s important for the American people to hear from the candidates in the final weeks before the election.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, told CNN that the events can proceed safely with social distancing.

“They offer masks. They do screenings,” he said.

Mr. Trump made his first in-person appearance in front of supporters Saturday at a White House event. He told a crowd of several hundred mostly minority supporters that Black and Hispanic voters are passing on the Democratic Party’s turn toward socialism in favor of his law-and-order message.

“Black and Latino Americans are rejecting the radical socialist left, and they are embracing our pro-jobs, pro-worker, pro-police … and pro-American agenda,” Mr. Trump said in an 18-minute address from a White House balcony overlooking the gathering on the South Lawn.

Despite the president’s display of good health and clearance from his doctor, the second presidential debate has been canceled ostensibly because he contracted the coronavirus.

The debate had been scheduled for Thursday in Miami and would have been the second Trump-Biden debate. The Commission on Presidential Debates changed the format to a virtual debate, and Mr. Trump refused to attend.

Mr. Biden now will attend a town hall Thursday hosted by ABC News. The next debate is scheduled for Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We had every intention of showing up on the 15th. He — Donald Trump — refused to participate,” Kate Bedingfield, the Biden deputy campaign manager, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We have every intention, we will be there on the 22nd as well.

“We are not going to let him rewrite the rules,” she added.

Dr. Sean P. Conley, the White House physician, told reporters Saturday that the president is no longer contagious, though the debate had been canceled by that time.

“He is no longer considered a transmission risk to others,” Dr. Conley wrote in a memo released by the White House. He said the president now meets “CDC criteria for the safe discontinuation of isolation.”

He said Mr. Trump has been “fever free for well over 24 hours.” The doctor released the report hours after the campaign-style speech from the White House balcony.

The doctor’s memo stops short of saying that Mr. Trump is completely free of the virus and does not say whether he tested negative in the past two days.

He said diagnostic tests show there is “no longer evidence of actively replicating virus” and that testing throughout his illness since Oct. 1 has shown “decreasing viral loads.”

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