US President Trump says he is "feeling great" as he makes his first public appearance since contracting coronavirus, even as his aides remain silent on whether he is still contagious.

US President Trump takes off his face mask as he comes out on a White House balcony to speak to supporters in Washington on October 10, 2020.
US President Trump takes off his face mask as he comes out on a White House balcony to speak to supporters in Washington on October 10, 2020. (Reuters)

US President Donald Trump has appeared maskless before hundreds of supporters for his first public event since contracting Covid-19, declaring from the White House balcony: "I am feeling great."

"I want you to know our nation is going to defeat this terrible China virus," Trump told the cheering crowd of hundreds below on Saturday, most wearing masks but with very little social distancing at the outdoor event.

"It's going to disappear, it is disappearing," Trump said of the virus, which has killed more than 210,000 Americans and severely dented his chances of winning a second term on November 3.

"Get out and vote – and I love you," Trump told the crowd –  a sea of red "MAGA" hats – who chanted back "Four more years" throughout his 18-minute, law-and-order themed speech.

Stage set for his first rally 

Pulled off the campaign trail after testing positive for Covid-19 nine days ago, Trump has been counting the days until he can get back out.

Saturday's campaign-style event at the White House set the stage for his first rally Monday in the critical swing state of Florida – an event slammed as "reckless" by Biden, in light of concerns the president might still be contagious. 

Undeterred, the Trump campaign announced two more rallies next week, in battleground Pennsylvania Tuesday and in Iowa on Wednesday. 

Trump's biggest liability – overwhelming public dissatisfaction over his handling of the pandemic – has returned as the headline issue of the campaign thanks to his own infection, with cases again on the rise nationwide.

Trailing his Democratic rival Joe Biden by close to 10 points in national polls, Trump insists the pollsters are wrong and is seeking to reboot his campaign less than four weeks from Election Day.

READ MORE: Trump: Not going to do 'virtual debate' with Biden

Doubts over Trump's health

Doubts linger over Trump's health, with the president's doctor appearing more concerned about pleasing his star patient than communicating transparently with the public.

"Right now I'm medication-free, I'm not taking any medications as of, you know, probably eight hours ago," Trump told Fox News on Friday night, the first on-camera interview since his diagnosis and three-night hospitalisation.

The White House has released videos and Trump has called into television shows since then, but Saturday's was the public's first chance to see the president live.

The White House has not released the results of Trump's latest Covid-19 test and has declined to say when he last tested negative. 

A White House spokeswoman said on Friday that Trump would be tested for Covid-19 and would not go out in public if it was determined he could still spread the virus.

Scott Atlas, the doctor advising Trump, declined to comment on Trump's last test when approached by Reuters outside the event cordon. He was not wearing a mask.

READ MORE: Trump back in Oval Office, says 'I feel great'

Mask guidelines violated 

Some of Trump's fans were masked but many were not.

A similar gathering two weeks ago, to announce the nomination of conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, has been singled out as a likely source of many of the dozens of positive cases since linked to the White House.

Anthony Fauci, the respected director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, has referred to it as a "superspreader event."

Many questions remain unanswered about the White House outbreak, with more than a dozen cases recorded in the president's inner circle, including his spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany.

"When was the president's last negative Covid test?" asked Pete Buttigieg, a former contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, now tipped for a prominent role in a Biden administration should he defeat Trump on November 3.

READ MORE: Trump eyes return to campaign trail as opposition questions his fitness

213,000 Americans are dead

Trump's biggest liability – overwhelming public dissatisfaction over his handling of the pandemic – has returned as the headline issue of the campaign thanks to his own infection, with cases again on the rise nationwide.

The seven-day average of new daily cases recorded between October 3 and 9 – 47,184 – was the highest since the week of August 13 to 19 with an average of 47,530 new cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

"Over 213,000 Americans have died from this virus – and the hard truth is it didn't have to happen this way," Biden tweeted on Saturday.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies