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Trump's bout with Covid-19, Biden's national lead jumps to 14 points and the Nobel Prize for Medicine

Medical experts say Trump's steroid treatment might be a "red flag" about his condition.
Image: President Donald Trump gives thumbs up to supporters as he rides by in the presidential motorcade in front of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he is being treated for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bethesda, Maryland
President Donald Trump gives thumbs up to supporters as he rides by in the presidential motorcade in front of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday.Cheriss May / Reuters

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump spent another night at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Here's what we know about his condition with the election just 29 days away.


Trump criticized by medical experts for leaving hospital to drive by supporters

President Donald Trump on Sunday briefly left his hospital room at Walter Reed, where he is being treated for Covid-19, to drive past a group of supporters — a move medical experts and Democrats immediately questioned.

A few minutes after Trump posted a video on Twitter announcing that he would "pay a little surprise to some of the great patriots that we have out on the street," the presidential motorcade slowly drove by the perimeter of the hospital where a crowd had been gathering since Friday night.

Trump was seen through the window of an SUV waving and wearing what appeared to be a cloth mask, as opposed to a more protective N95 mask.

The unannounced trip sparked backlash from several prominent Democratic lawmakers and some doctors not involved in his care, who accused Trump of unnecessarily putting Secret Service agents at risk.

"Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential 'drive-by' just now has to be quarantined for 14 days," Dr. James Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed, tweeted. "They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity."

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the move in an interview with Fox News, saying Trump "wanted to thank his supporters" and "give confidence to the American people that their Commander in Chief can get through this."

Meantime, the president's medical team said Sunday that Trump's condition was improving after multiple "episodes" over the weekend and that he could be discharged from Walter Reed as soon as today.

Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, also disclosed that Trump had been given a steroid typically administered to the sickest Covid-19 patients, raising alarm bells for some medical experts.

Dexamethasone has been shown to be beneficial in those with severe Covid-19, but the drug is not recommended for more mild cases of the disease.

"The fact that they started him on dexamethasone, to me is a big red flag that there's a little bit more going on here than we're hearing about," NBC News senior medical correspondent Dr. John Torres said. "I think they might be painting a little bit of a rosy picture for everyone."

Over the weekend it emerged that former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway also tested positive for Covid-19. Here's what we know about the Covid-19 status of people in Trump's inner circle.

Follow our live blog for all the latest updates on Trump's Covid-19 diagnosis throughout the day.


Biden's national lead over Trump jumps to 14 points after debate, according NBC News/WSJ poll

While the president's Covid-19 diagnosis has pulled Trump off the campaign trail, the race to win the White House is still churning away with just over four weeks until Election Day. And Democratic nominee Joe Biden got a big bump after last Tuesday's chaotic debate, according to the latest NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.

Biden's national lead over Trump nearly doubled after Tuesday's debate, with voters saying by 2-to-1 that the former vice-president has the better temperament to be president, according to the NBC News/ WSJ poll.

The poll was conducted in the two days after the unruly and insult-filled event Tuesday but before Trump tested positive for Covid-19 and was hospitalized.

Biden is now ahead of Trump by 14 points among registered voters, 53 percent to 39 percent — up from his 8-point lead in the previous poll, before the debate.

And the stakes just got a lot higher for the usually ho-hum vice presidential debate this week.

Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris are expected to take the debate stage Wednesday night against an extraordinary backdrop. No vice president has debated while the president is known to be sick and possibly still in the hospital.

The Trump campaign is grappling with the "nightmare scenario" of having the president off the re-election trail at the worst time, writes NBC News' Sahil Kapur. If it wasn't clear enough, it is now: The election will be about the coronavirus.

Tune in tonight: NBC News’ Lester Holt will anchor a live town hall discussion with Biden in Miami at 8 p.m. ET.


Supreme Court begins new term that will decide the fate of Obamacare — and maybe the election

The future of the Affordable Care Act and the sweep of religious freedom are among the high-profile issues coming before the U.S. Supreme Court in its new term that begins today, NBC News' Pete Williams writes. The court could also be dragged into disputes over the presidential election before the year is over.

How soon the Senate acts on Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg could make a difference when the court hears one of the biggest cases of the term — the challenge to Obamacare.

And while Republicans may have a real shot at overturning Roe v. Wade, some lawmakers facing tough re-election fights may no longer want to.


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Plus


THINK about it

Trump's Covid drive by proves downplaying illness isn't manly — it’s dangerous, author Liz Plank writes in an opinion piece.


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One fun thing

"Saturday Night Live" kicked off its 46th season by jumping right into the political fray and tackling Trump's Covid-19 diagnosis.

The show opened with Tuesday's contentious and chaotic debate between Trump, played by Alec Baldwin, and election challenger Joe Biden, played by Jim Carrey.

Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, made an appearance at one point to chastise the men.

"If there’s one thing we learned tonight it's that America needs a woman as president," said the California Democrat, played by SNL alum Maya Rudolph.


Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — send me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra