Trump fired off a string of tweets from his hospital bed at Walter Reed on Monday, reminding people to vote for him in the upcoming election, as he prepares to leave the hospital and continue his COVID-19 treatment at the White House after a nerve-wracking weekend of speculation over the President’s health.
In a flurry of tweets starting at 6.30am on Monday, Trump boasted about the stock markets, promised to deliver more tax cuts and listed ‘pro life’, ‘space force’, ‘religious liberty’ and ‘law and order’ as among reasons why he should win again.
Trump is due to leave the hospital on Monday to continue his COVID-19 treatment. Over the weekend, he released several video addresses where he promised to be in good health despite his diagnosis, and the White House shared photographs of him working at the hospital.
He claims to have been meeting some of the wounded veterans who are also being treated in the hospital.
On Sunday night, he made a surprise appearance outside the hospital to thank fans who had turned out with signs, flags and banners wishing him a speedy recovery. Trump said he was touched by the outpouring of support and wanted to show his appreciation.
But doctors – including one from Walter Reed – say it was irresponsible of him to get into the Presidential SUV with Secret Service agents and risk infecting them.
Dr James Phillips, a Walter Reed attending doctor, condemned the president’s Sunday afternoon drive, which violated Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
He said it was dangerous and reckless, in comments which quickly went viral.
In an interview with Good Morning America on Monday morning, he doubled down on his claims.
‘I don’t know what the benefits of this political stunt were, but I do know what the risks were.
‘My concern is that perhaps the Secret Service agents were inside don’t know the full risk of what they were up against.
‘So far as the military and Johns Hopkins physicians who are taking care of this patient, they’re excellent. But they are also under undue pressure and a lot of influence outside of that normal physician-patient relationship.
‘Influence weighs heavy and when we’re dealing with a highly unusual environment like what we’re in right now, the question is – and I’d love to hear the answer from some military physician folks – where does that line between that physician patient relationship come into contact with the commanding officer and subordinate relationship?’
The White House insists that the journey was safe.
On Monday morning, Corey Lewandowski – Trump’s former campaign manager said that the Secret Service agents volunteered to drive him and that plexiglass was installed in the vehicle to make it safe.
Doctors said the president’s treatment with dexamethasone – a steroid used for patients who require extra oxygen – is the clearest sign yet that Trump may have a severe case of Covid-19.
Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University’s Emergency Medicine division, and a COVID-19 consultant specializing on how to reopen safely, said that the design of the presidential vehicle, specifically modified to protect the passengers from attacks, made the drive even more dangerous.
‘That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack,’ he continued.
‘The risk of COVID19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures.
‘The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play.
‘Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days,’ Phillips pointed out.
‘They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.’
The CDC website explicitly states that COVID patients should stay at home except to get medical care.
Trump was driven by his supporters where he waved at them from the SUV and he wore a face mask during the short trip
President Trump briefly left his hospital room at Walter Reed Medical Center to thank supporters lined up outside the hospital
Trump supporters waved American flags and Make America Great Again campaign signs outside of Walter Reed hospital
One supporter waved a ‘we [heart] Trump’ sign
The crowds have gathered outside the hospital to cheer and shout their support to Trump
While Trump is in hospital, empty chairs were put on display near the White House to represent the 200,000 people who have died of coronavirus in the United States, by far the highest tally in the world
Dr James Phillips, a Walter Reed doctor, was angered by Trump’s Sunday drive-by to wave at his supporters
In their section advising healthcare workers, the CDC states: ‘In general, transport and movement of a patient with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection outside of their room should be limited to medically essential purposes.’
Other doctors took issue with Trump’s medical team’s rosy picture of his health.
In particular, they were surprised at the suggestion that he could be discharged from Walter Reed on Monday and return to the White House.
‘People can be doing OK, but it can get rocky very quickly,’ said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security.
The experts told the Washington Post that Trump’s medical team has withheld key information about his condition, and that he was on a ‘kitchen sink’ regimen of monoclonal antibodies, the anti-viral remdesivir, and steroids.
‘For someone sick enough to have required remdesivir and dexamethasone, I can’t think of a situation in which a patient would be OK to leave on day three, even with the White House’s medical capacity,’ Robert Wachter, chairman of the University of California at San Francisco’s department of medicine, told the paper.
President Donald Trump on Sunday made a last-minute, surprise visit to his supporters outside Walter Reed Medical Center, briefing leaving his hospital room to thank the cheering loyalists.
The president was in a suit, but no protective equipment beyond his face mask.In the front passenger seat was a person wearing a gown, face mask and face shield.
It was unclear whether the driver was similarly protected.
The president went into the hospital Friday evening after testing positive for the coronavirus.
A second doctor, Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, echoed Dr Phillips’ condemnation.
‘By taking a joy ride outside Walter Reed the president is placing his Secret Service detail at grave risk,’ he said.
‘In the hospital when we go into close contact with a COVID patient we dress in full PPE: Gown, gloves, N95, eye protection, hat. This is the height of irresponsibility.’
And Dr Craig Spencer, an ER doctor who survived Ebola and is currently director of global health in emergency medicine at Columbia University, was shocked at the president’s ‘joyride’.
‘Moments after stating ‘I learned a lot about COVID’, the President takes a joyride in an enclosed space with presumably #COVID19 negative people, all while on experimental medications,’ he said.
Dr Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, was equally unimpressed
NBC News’ Peter Alexander said on Sunday night that he had asked why Melania Trump was not visiting her husband, and was told it was because she did not want anyone else to become infected.
‘Reminder: A White House official, on Saturday, told me the First Lady would not be visiting Trump at Walter Reed because ‘she has COVID and that would expose the agents who would drive her there,” he tweeted.
Dr Craig Spencer, an ER doctor in New York and director of global health in emergency medicine at Columbia, was shocked
The White House said the president made a short trip and then returned to the presidential suite inside the hospital.
‘President Trump took a short, last-minute motorcade ride to wave to his supporters outside and has now returned to the Presidential Suite inside Walter Reed,’ White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement.
‘Appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the President and all those supporting it, including PPE. The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.’
The White House press corps issued a statement, condemning the Trump administration for not keeping them informed of his whereabouts.
They had not been warned that the president was about to leave the hospital, breaking the usual protocol of keeping the pool reporters informed.
‘It is outrageous for the president to have left the hospital — even briefly — amid a health crisis without a protective pool present to ensure that the American people know where their president is and how he is doing,’ the White House Correspondents’ Association said in a statement.
‘Now more than ever, the American public deserves independent coverage of the president so they can be reliably informed about his health.’
The White House released a photo of Trump on Sunday night taking part in a phone call with his Chief of Staff, Vice President Mike Pence and the Joint Chiefs from his conference room at Walter Reed
A crowd Trump’s supporters gathered outside the Bethesda, Maryland, hospital – and many were not wearing face masks.
People wore ‘Make America Great Again’ paraphernalia, waved campaign signs and hoisted Americans flags.
One woman waved a ‘we [heart] u Mr. Trump sign’ while another man waved a ‘We [heart] Trump’ sign.
The president posted a video to his Twitter account shortly before his visit outside, indicating he was about to make the trip.
He also said he’s been visiting soldiers at the military hospital and has learned a lot about COVID, which has infected more than seven million Americans.
Trump supporters waving US flags and wearing Make America Great Again caps rally in Los Angeles on Sunday, one fo them holding an ‘All Lives Matter’ – a slogan seen as a provocative riposte to the Black Lives Matter movement
Donald Trump’s supporters gathered outside the Walter Reed hospital on Sunday
Trump surprised them Sunday night with a brief visit, waving from the SUV as it drove past
Many of the supporters did not wear face masks
TRUMP’S INNER CIRCLE WHO HAVE TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID
President Donald Trump
First Lady Melania Trump
Counselor to the President Hope Hicks
Former White House Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway
Trump’s Campaign Manager Bill Stepien
Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee Ronna McDaniel
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Chief of Oval Office Operations and ‘body man’ Nicholas Luna
Republican Utah Senator Mike Lee
Republican North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis
Republican Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson
President of the University of Notre Dame John Jenkins
Unnamed White House Press staffer
He started his short remarks by thanking the medical personnel taking care of him and added he has ‘gotten to meet some of the soldiers.’
The president did not say what precautions were taken for his meetings.
‘I also think we’re going to pay a little surprise to some of the great patriots,’ he said, hinting to his outside visit.
‘They’ve got Trump flags and they love our country so I’m not telling anybody but you but I’m about to make a little surprise visit so perhaps I’ll get there before you get to see me.’
He said he had learned a lot about the coronavirus since he was flown by helicopter to hospital on Friday.
‘It’s been a very interesting journey. I learned a lot about COVID. I learned by really going to school. This is the real school,’ he said.
‘In the meantime, we love the USA and we love what’s happening. Thank you.’
The president’s doctors said Sunday that he could be discharged from Walter Reed as early as Monday.
Trump’s top physician said he was given a steroid and put on oxygen, as a treatment for COVID-19.
‘Our plan for today is to have him to eat and drink, be up out of bed as much as possible, to be mobile,’ Dr. Brian Garibaldi, one of the doctor’s on Trump’s team, said.
‘And if he continues to look and feel as well as he does today, our hope is that we can plan for a discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House where he can continue his treatment course.’
He also revealed that Trump would continue taking doses of Remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral medication, and dexamethasone, a steroid, whether he remains at Walter Reed or is transferred to the White House.
Pressed about the conflicting information he and the White House released the previous day, the president’s top doctor, Navy Commander Sean Conley, acknowledged that he had tried to present a rosy description of of the president’s condition.
‘I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude of the team, that the president, that his course of illness has had. Didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction,’ Conley said.
‘And in doing so, came off like we’re trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true. The fact of the matter is that he’s doing really well.’
Yet medical experts on Sunday evening took issue with Conley and his team’s rosy update – in particular with the suggestion that Trump could be discharged on Monday.
‘If he continues to look and feel as well as he does today, our hope is that we can plan for a discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House where he can continue his treatment course,’ Garibaldi said
Physician to the President Dr. Sean Conley, a Navy Commander, was forced to explain during the briefing Sunday that there was some confusion over Trump’s condition because Chief of Staff Mark Meadow’s comments were ‘misconstrued’
Meadows v. Conley: Meadows rubbed his forehead Sunday (left) as Conley spoke to reporters outside Walter Reed. ‘The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery,’ Meadows told reporters anonymously and it was later revealed he was the source of the remarks
WHAT IS DEXAMETHASONE?
Oxford University researchers in June announced steroid drug dexamethasone — which costs just over $3 for a course of treatment — cut the risk of death by up to 35 per cent for infected patients on ventilators and by a fifth for anyone needing oxygen at any point.
Following the news World Health Organization (WHO) bosses said they will update its Covid-19 treatment guidance to include dexamethasone.
The WHO wrote: ‘It was tested in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in the United Kingdom’s national clinical trial RECOVERY and was found to have benefits for critically ill patients.
‘According to preliminary findings shared with WHO (and now available as a preprint), for patients on ventilators, the treatment was shown to reduce mortality by about one third, and for patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was cut by about one fifth.’
It did not appear to help less ill patients.
Researchers estimated that the drug would prevent one death for every eight patients treated while on breathing machines and one for every 25 patients on extra oxygen alone.
The steroid drug is a type of anti-inflammatory medicine used to treat a wide-range of conditions.
It is given via an injection or once-a-day tablet and is sold under the brand names Ozurdex and Baycadron.
In coronavirus patients, the steroid reduces inflammation in the lungs triggered by an overreaction by the immune system.
One in 10 symptomatic Covid-19 patients are thought to suffer from the nasty symptom, known as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
ARDS causes the immune system to become overactive and attack healthy cells in the lungs.
This makes breathing difficult and the body eventually struggles to get enough oxygen to vital organs.
Dexamethasone was first made in 1957 and was approved for medical use in 1961.
The steroid is also used to treat conditions that cause inflammation, conditions related to immune system activity, and hormone deficiency.
- allergic reactions
- rheumatoid arthritis
- flare-ups of intestinal disease, such as ulcerative colitis
- multiple sclerosis
- pre-treatment for chemotherapy to reduce inflammation and side effects from cancer medications
- adrenal insufficiency (a condition where the adrenal glands don’t produce enough hormones)
Dexamethasone is known to cause a number of mild to moderate side effects, including vomiting, heartburn, anxiety, high blood pressure, muscle weakness and insomnia.
Conley, a Navy Commander and physician to the president, revealed during the briefing on Sunday that Trump was treated with the steroid dexamethasone after a drop in oxygen levels on Saturday.
Dexamethasone is recommended only in patients who are extremely ill, according to many guidelines, but a number of hospitals routinely give the drug to any patient who requires supplemental oxygen, if only for a few hours.
It has not been shown to benefit those with milder forms of the disease.
A recent study found it tends to reduce deaths from the virus among those with severe cases, but nearly a quarter of infected patients getting it with supplemental oxygen — as Trump has — still died.
Steroids in high doses and over long periods of time also can lead to serious changes in mental status that include delirium, hallucinations and confusion.
‘Over the course of his illness, the president has experienced two episodes of transient drops in his oxygen saturation. We debated the reasons for this and whether we’d even intervene,’ he said.
‘As a determination of the team, based predominantly on the timeline for the diagnosis, that we initiate dexamethasone.’
Doctors told the New York Times they were puzzled by the drug’s use.
‘The dexamethasone is the most mystifying of the drugs we’re seeing him being given at this point,’ said Dr Thomas McGinn, physician-in-chief at Northwell Health, the largest health care provider in New York State.
The drug is normally not used unless the patient’s condition seems to be deteriorating, he added.
‘Suddenly, they’re throwing the kitchen sink at him,’ Dr McGinn said.
‘It raises the question: Is he sicker than we’re hearing, or are they being overly aggressive because he is the president, in a way that could be potentially harmful?’
Dr Esther Choo, a professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, said of the doctors’ statements on Sunday: ‘This is no longer aspirationally positive. And it’s much more than just an ‘abundance of caution’ kind of thing.’
Some thought that the president may be directing his own care, and demanding intense treatment despite risks he may not fully understand – something which is termed V.I.P. syndrome.
‘You think you’re helping,’ said Dr Celine Gounder, a clinical assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the N.Y.U. Grossman School of Medicine.
‘But this is really a data-free zone, and you just don’t know that.’
Asked whether CT scans showed any signs of pneumonia or lung damage, Conley replied: ‘Yeah, so we’re tracking all of that. There’s some expected findings, but nothing of any major clinical concern.’ He declined to elaborate.
At another point, Sean Dooley, a pulmonary critical care doctor, said the president’s ‘cardiac, liver and kidney function demonstrates continued normal findings, or improving findings.’ He did not disclose which of those had been subpar.
William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University’s medical school, was asked by the Washington Post about the idea of sending Trump back to the White House on Monday.
‘Absolutely not,’ he said.
‘I will bet dollars to doughnuts it’s the president and his political aides who are talking about discharge, not his doctors.’
All pointed out that the president was being given an unusual combination of three strong treatments, with a handful of supplements and an over-the-counter drug sprinkled in. That made his quick release even more improbable, they said.
Several doctors expressed worry there is no data indicating how these treatments might react with each other, especially in an overweight 74-year-old man with a mild heart condition who is in the high risk group for severe coronavirus disease.
Lewis Kaplan, a critical care doctor at the University of Pennsylvania and the Veteran’s Administration, said this type of untested combination therapy is typically only applied as a desperate measure — when a patient is seriously ill and probably in the intensive care unit.
On the other hand, he told the Post, giving this cocktail to a sitting head of state as a preventive measure as a way to reduce the risk of a more severe course could be construed as ‘reasonable.’
‘And we just don’t know which one reflects reality,’ Kaplan said.
Hydroxychloroquine – an anti-malaria drug which Trump promoted in his press conferences as warding off COVID-19, and then said he was taking – is not on the list of medications his doctors said Trump is taking at Walter Reed.
Another treatment missing from Trump’s regimen arsenal is a blood thinner which is given as a standard practice these days to any hospitalized patient with COVID-19 to reduce the risk of clots.
In the spring, many doctors were surprised to find that microclots that appear in the lungs and heart appeared to be killing some patients.
Doctors speculated the president may have declined the treatment after what happened to his younger brother, Robert, who died in August due to brain bleeds. He had been taking blood thinners.
The doctors gave their second update in two days on Trump’s condition as questions emerged over conflicting statements
Donald Trump’s doctors revealed Sunday that they treated the president with a steroid and put him on oxygen Saturday as they were concerned over the rapid progression of the virus
Conley on Sunday detailed the timeline of Trump’s treatment and the decision Friday to move him to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center just hours after the president announced that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus.
‘Thursday night into Friday morning when I left the bedside, the president was doing well with only mild symptoms and his oxygen was in the high 90’s.
‘Late Friday morning when I returned to the bedside, president had a high fever and his oxygen level was transiently dipping below 94 per cent,’ Conley said.
‘Given these two developments, I was concerned for possible rapid progression of the illness,’ he continued. ‘I recommended the president try some supplemental oxygen.’
Conley said Trump was ‘very adamant that he didn’t need it. Was not short of breath. He was tired, had the fever, and that was about it.’
He said after a minute of oxygen, Trump’s levels were back up above 95 per cent – but said that he kept the president’s on the measure for about an hour.
Conley explained that the president’s oxygen level did not dip into the 80’s and reiterated that he was up and about shortly after the ‘transient’ episode.
Meadows received backlash Saturday after it appeared his comments on Trump’s condition contradicted others’ assessments, including the president’s.
‘The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery,’ Meadows told reporters anonymously and it was later revealed he was the source of the remarks.
Meadows’ comments came just after a White House team of doctors said that Trump’s condition was improving and that he was already talking about returning to the White House.
One doctor said Trump told them, ‘I feel like I could walk out of here today.’
In an update on Saturday, Conley wrote: ‘This evening he completed his second dose of Remdesivir without complication.
‘He remains fever-free and off supplemental oxygen with a saturation level between 96% and 98% all day.
‘He spent most of the afternoon conducting business, and has been up and moving about the medical suite without difficulty.
‘While not yet out of the woods, the team remains cautiously optimistic.
‘The plan for tomorrow is to continue observation in between doses of remdesivir, closely monitoring his clinical status while fully supporting his conduct of Presidential duties.’
Several hours later, Deputy White House Press Secretary Judd Deere posted a picture showing Trump working into the night from the hospital.
The new comments from the president’s medical team on Sunday comes as Trump’s campaign advisers Stephen Miller and Steve Cortes claimed Sunday the president is eager to get back to campaigning even after Conley said Saturday he is not yet ‘out of the woods.’
Miller, the campaign’s senior adviser, said he spoke to Trump recently and said the president told him ‘he’s going to defeat this virus… and our campaign is going to defeat this virus.’
‘Once he gets out of the hospital, he’s ready to get back to the campaign trail,’ Miller told NBC’s Chuck Todd during an interview on ‘Meet the Press’ Sunday morning. ‘He sounded pretty energetic.’
‘But he said something else that I thought that was important too,’ Miller said, ‘and that was to be careful, and that was to remind folks to wash their hands, use hand sanitizer, make sure that if you can’t socially distance, distance to wear a mask. And I thought that was a pretty important message to send and a reminder to the rest of the country.’
Cortes, another senior campaign adviser, reiterated the president’s fitness during an interview with Chris Wallace on ‘Fox News Sunday.’
‘He’s doing well,’ Cortes attested.
‘We spoke to the president yesterday, we meaning senior campaign staff,’ Cortes said. ‘He was as upbeat and assertive as he’s ever been.’
He added: ‘This president is going to recover, we are highly confident of that.’
How Mark Meadows infuriated Trump by telling reporters that his ‘vitals are very concerning’ in off-the-record health update
Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ revelation to reporters that Donald Trump’s ‘vitals are very concerning’ reportedly angered the president and prompted him to post an upbeat video update on his condition Saturday.
The New York Times claimed that people close to the situation said that Trump was infuriated by the comments and acted to counteract the perception that he was very sick.
The president uploaded the four-minute video to his Twitter page on Saturday night in which he said he was ‘much better’ and fighting coronavirus, as his physician gave a optimistic update on his symptoms.
Yet earlier in the day, Meadows was caught asking to go off the record with White House reporters as an ‘anonymous’ source revealed the true extent of the president’s condition.
‘The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery,’ Meadows told reporters on the initial condition that he not be identified.
He was later named as the source of the quote.
Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ revelation to reporters that Donald Trump’s ‘vitals are very concerning’ reportedly angered the president and prompted him to post an upbeat video update on his condition Saturday
Meadows’ comments came just after a White House team of doctors said that Trump’s condition was improving and that he was already talking about returning to the White House.
One doctor said Trump told them: ‘I feel like I could walk out of here today.’
Meadows did not clarify the discrepancy in his comments.
A Trump adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity said the president was not happy to learn of Meadows’ initial remarks, according to Reuters.
Hours later, the president posted a video from the hospital where he is battling Covid-19, saying he was improving and would be ‘back soon’ – but acknowledging the crucial coming days would be ‘the real test.
Trump attempted to reassure the public that he was not suffering severe coronavirus symptoms and called his treatment ‘miracles from God’ as he worked to counteract Meadows’ comments.
‘I came here, wasn’t feeling so well. I feel much better now,’ he said from his business suite at Walter Reed military medical center. ‘We’re working hard to get me all the way back… I think I’ll be back soon and I look forward to finishing up the campaign the way it was started.’
Appearing relaxed in an open-collar blue suit and jacket, Trump acknowledged that there was uncertainty about the course of the disease, which can hit recovering patients hard with no warning.
‘I’m starting to feel good. You don’t know over the next period of a few days, I guess that’s the real test, so we’ll be seeing what happens over those next couple of days.’
Several hours later, Deputy White House Press Secretary Judd Deere posted a picture showing Trump working into the night from the hospital.
The video came after Meadows’ earlier comments spread and led to concern about how ill the president is, despite the optimistic updates from his personal physician.
Meadows quickly tried to step back his words as the news spread, telling Reuters shortly afterward that Trump was doing ‘very well’ and that doctors were in fact pleased with his vital signs.
‘The president is doing very well. He is up and about and asking for documents to review. The doctors are very pleased with his vital signs. I have met with him on multiple occasions today on a variety of issues,’ Meadows said.
He made a third comment on the president’s condition to Fox News on Saturday night in which the Chief of Staff confirmed that there had been a cause for concern when the president was hospitalized on Friday evening.
The White House had said that Trump was traveling to Walter Reed Military Medical Center out of an ‘abundance of caution’ and would continue to work from they for a ‘few days’ as he underwent tests.
‘Yesterday morning he was real concerned with that. He had a fever and his blood oxygen level had dropped rapidly,’ Meadows said to Fox’s Judge Jeanie.
Yet, he added that Trump’s condition had improved.
‘He is doing extremely well. I am very, very optimistic based on the current result,’ Meadows added.
‘He’s made unbelievable improvement from yesterday’ Meadows continued after again saying the doctors were ‘very concerned’.
‘We are still not on a clear path to a full recovery,’ he added.
Full transcript from Sunday’s medical briefing on Trump
SEAN CONLEY: Good morning.
Since we spoke last, the president has continued to improve. As with any illness, there are frequent ups and downs over the course, particularly when a patient is being so closely watched 24 hours a day. We review and debate every finding, compared to existing science and literature, weighing the risks and benefits of every intervention, the timing as well as impacts a delay may have.
Over the course of his illness the president has experienced two episodes of transient drops in his oxygen saturation. We debated the reasons for this and whether we would even intervene. As a determination of the team based on the timeline from the initial diagnosis that we initiated dexamethasone.
I would like to take this opportunity, given speculation over the course of the illness, the last couple days, update you on the course of his illness. Thursday night into Friday morning when I left the bedside the president was doing well. With only mild symptoms and his oxygen was in the high 90s.
Late Friday morning, when I returned to the bedside, the president had a high fever and his oxygen saturation was transiently dipping below 94%. Given these two developments, I was concerned for possible rapid progression of the illness. I recommended the president would try supplemental oxygen, see how he would respond. He was fairly adamant that he didn’t need it. He was not short of breath. He was tired, had the fever and that was about it. After about a minute, on only two liters, his saturation levels were over 95%. He stayed on that for about an hour, maybe, and was off and gone.
Later that day, by the time the team here was at the bedside, the president had been up out of bed, moving about the residence, with only mild symptoms. Despite this, everyone agreed the best course of action was to move to Walter reed for more thorough evaluation and monitoring. I would like to invite up Dr. Dr. Dooley to discuss the corn plans.
SEAN DOOLEY: Thank you, Dr. Conley. A brief clinical update on the president’s condition, I want to reiterate my comments from yesterday regarding how proud I am to be part of this multi-disciplinary team of clinical professionals behind me and what an honor it it to care for the president here at Walter reed national military medical center.
The president continues to improve. He has remained without fever since Friday morning. His vital signs are stable. From a pulmonary standpoint, he remains on room air this morning and a is not complaining of shortness of breath or other significant respiratory symptoms, is ambulating himself, walking around the White House medical unit without limitation or disability.
‘Our continued monitoring of his cardiac, liver and kidney function demonstrates continued normal findings or improving findings. I’ll now turn it over to Dr. Garabaldi from Johns Hopkins to talk about therapeutics and our plan for today.
BRIAN GARIBALDI: Thank you, Dr. Dooley. I wanted to reiterate what an honor and privilege it is to take care of the president and be part of such a talented team here at Walter Reed. The president yesterday evening completed his second dose of remdesivir. He’s tolerated that infusion well. We have been monitoring for potential side effects.
He’s had none that we can tell. Liver and kidney function have remained normal. We continue to plan to use a five day course of remdesivir. In response to transient low oxygen levels as Dr. Conley has discussed, we did initiate dexamethasone therapy and he received his first dose of that yesterday and our plan is to continue that for the time being.
Today, he feels well. He’s been up and around. Our plan is to have him to eat and drink, be up out of bed as much as possible torques be mobile. If he continues to look and feel as well as he does today, our hope is to plan for a discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House where he can continue his treatment course many thank you very much. I’ll turn it over to Dr. Conley for any questions.
CONLEY: Just a moment, please. The president wanted me to share how proud he is of the group, what an honor it is for him to be receiving her care here, surrounded by incredible talent, academic leaders, department chairs, internationally renowned doctors and physicians. I would like to reiterate how pleased we all are with the president’s recovery. With that I’ll take your questions.
REPORTER: Dr. Conley, you said there were two instances where he had drops in oxygen. Can you walk us through the second one. And also I’ve got a question for the lung specialist afterwards.
CONLEY: Yesterday there was another episode where he dropped down 93%. He didn’t ever feel short of breath. We watched it and it returned back up. We evaluate all of these and given the timeline where he is in the course of illness, we were trying to maximize everything we could do for him and we debated whether we would even start it. The dexamethasone. And we decided that in this case the potential benefits early on the course probably outweighed any risks at this time.
REPORTER: Did you give him a second round of supplemental oxygen yesterday?
CONLEY: I would have to check with the nursing staff. If he did, it was very limited. But he’s not on oxygen and the only oxygen that I ordered, that we provided was that Friday morning initially.
REPORTER: What time was that yesterday?
CONLEY: Yesterday — what was yesterday?
REPORTER: The second incident.
CONLEY: The second incident. It was over the course of the day, yeah, yesterday morning.
REPORTER: The president’s current blood oxygen levels, that’s my first question to you, Dr. Conley.
REPORTER: What did the x-rays and ct scans show? Are there signs of pneumonia? Are there signs of lung involvement? Or any damage to the lung?
CONLEY: We’re tracking all of that. There’s some expected findings but nothing of any major clinical concern.
REPORTERS: Why start him, Dr. Conley on the…Did is oxygen level ever dip below 90?
CONLEY: We don’t have any recordings of that.
REPORTER: What about at the White House or here, anything below 90, just to follow up on her question?
CONLEY: It was below 94%. It wasn’t the low 80s or anything.
REPORTER: Yesterday you told us the president was in great shape, has been in good shape, minutes after your press conference Mark Meadows told reporters that the president’s vitals were very concerning over the last 24 hours. Simple question for the American people, whose statements about the president’s health should be believed?
CONLEY: The chief and I work side-by-side. I think his statement was misconstrued. What he meant was that 24 hours ago, when he and I were checking on the president, that there was that momentary episode of a high fever and that temporary drop in the saturation, which prompted us to act expediently to move him up here. Fortunately, that was really very transient, limited episode. A couple hours later he was back up, mild again. I’m not going to speculate what that limited episode was about, so early in the course but he’s doing well.
REPORTER: What are the expected findings on the lungs and why is the president not wearing a mask in the videos and photos that have been released.
CONLEY: The president is wearing a mask any time he’s around us and we’re wearing our n-95s, full ppe. He’s the patient and when we can, when he’ll move out into public, we move him out and about other people when he’s not in full ppe, I’ll assure you, as long as he’s under my care, he’ll be wearing a mask.
REPORTER: The room is negative pressure?
CONLEY: I’m not going to get into specifics of his care.
REPORTER: Can you answer the question on the lung function? The lung function question, Dr. Conley.
CONLEY: I’m sorry.
REPORTER: The lung function question, can you talk about that.
CONLEY: I would share, like every patient, we perform lung spirometry on him. He’s maxing it out. We told him, see what you can do, it’s over 2500 milliliters each time. He’s doing great.
REPORTERS: Why were you so reluctant until today to disclose that the president had been administered oxygen?
CONLEY: I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, his course of isness has had. — Illness has had. Didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction. And in doing so, it came off that we were trying to hide something which wasn’t necessarily true and there you have it. He is — the fact of the matter is that he’s doing really well. He is responding and as the team said, if everything continues to go well, we’re going to start discharge planning back to the white house. That’s it. Thank you, folks.
Senior Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller said Sunday that the president is ‘ready to get back to the campaign trail’
Fellow senior campaign adviser Steve Cortes (right) told Fox News’ Chris Wallace (left): ‘He was as upbeat and assertive as he’s ever been’ and claimed: ‘This president is going to recover’
Trump released a video with him working from the Presidential Suite at Walter Reed on Saturday
‘I’m starting to feel good’ Trump said in a Twitter video as he promised he was fighting for patients ‘all over the world’
THE CRUCIAL QUESTIONS OVER TRUMP’S HEALTH
After a briefing on Sunday at Walter Reed Medical Center, where President Donald Trump is being treated, several crucial questions about the president’s health remain unanswered by his medical team, led by his personal physician, Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley
WHAT DID WE LEARN ABOUT TRUMP’S HEALTH ON SUNDAY?
President Trump’s oxygen levels have dropped twice since his diagnosis but never below 90 per cent, Dr. Sean Conley said on Sunday, also admitting for the first time the president received supplemental oxygen. A normal oxygen reading is between 95 and 100 per cent.
Conley said the president received supplemental oxygen for about an hour on Friday at the White House and the drop – along with a ‘high’ fever – is part of what prompted the decision for Trump to go to Walter Reed. He could not say if the president received supplemental oxygen on Saturday. ‘I would have to check with the nursing staff. If he did, it was very limited,’ Conley said. Conley, on Saturday, evaded questions on whether the president received extra oxygen.
Additionally, Dr. Brian Garibaldi, a specialist in pulmonary critical care on the president’s medical team who practices at John Hopkins, said Trump received a second dose of the experimental drug remdesivir along with a first dose of dexamethasone, a steroid, on Saturday. He noted the president isn’t showing any side effects ‘that we can tell.’
Dexamethasone has been shown to help patients who are severely ill with COVID but it’s not typically used in mild cases. In could be harmful early on as it could dampen the body’s own immune response. On September 2, the World Health Organization recommended the steroid only be given to patients with ‘severe and critical Covid-19.’
TO WHAT EXTENT HAS TRUMP BEEN GIVEN SUPPLEMENTAL OXYGEN AND WHEN?
Dr. Conley revealed publicly for the first time Sunday that ‘over the course of his illness the president has experienced two episodes of transient drops in his oxygen saturation.’ A drop in the body’s ability to transport oxygen through the blood is one of the dangerous complications associated with COVID-19. Physicians like to see the number above 95 per cent.
As a response, the team decided to initiate use of Dexamethasone, a steroid and anti-inflammatory. Trump’s first dose of the drug, added to his numerous other medications, came Saturday. The president’s oxygen level was in the ‘high 90s’ Thursday night and Friday morning, Conley said.
But later Friday morning, the oxygen saturation level was ‘transiently dipping below 94 per cent,’ Conley said. At that point, Conley recommended ‘we try some supplemental oxygen, see how he’d respond. He was fairly adamant that he didn’t need it. He was not short of breath. He was tired, had the fever and that was about it. And after about a minute, on only two liters, his saturation levels were back over 95 per cent,’ he said.
‘He stayed on that for about an hour, maybe, and it was off and gone,’ said Conley. When questioned, Conley said that on Saturday ‘there was another episode’ where the level dropped down ‘about 93 per cent. He doesn’t ever feel short of breath. We watched it, and it returned back up.’
Asked point-blank if Trump was put on oxygen for a second time Saturday, Conley dodged.
‘I’d have to check with the nursing staff,’ said Conley, who is overseeing Trump’s care. ‘I don’t think that – if he did, it was very, very limited. But he’s not on oxygen. And the only oxygen that I ordered that we provided was that Friday morning, initially.’
Asked when the second incident occurred, he said it was ‘over the course of the day – yesterday morning.’ His comments, vague and sometimes contradictory as they were, went far beyond what he was willing to say Saturday, when he refused to answer whether Trump had ever been on oxygen during his still-early bout with COVID-19.
On Saturday, when pressed, he said: ‘He’s not on oxygen right now.’ Asked if Trump had received any, he said then: ‘He’s not needed any, this morning, today at all. That’s right.’ Then he said that ‘right now, all indicators are that that he’ll remain off of oxygen going forward.’
Pressed yet again on whether Trump had ever been on oxygen, Conley said: ‘He, right now he is not on oxygen.’
‘I understand, I know you keep saying right now, but should we read into the fact that he had been previously?’ a reporter continued.
‘Yesterday and today he was not on oxygen,’ said Conley.
That statement is contradicted by his Sunday statement that the president was put on oxygen Friday morning.
HOW CAN DOCTORS PLAN TRUMP’S RELEASE WHEN HE IS ON A STEROID USED FOR VENTILATOR PATIENTS IN ICU AND REMDESEVIR, WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO BE TAKEN IN HOSPITAL ONLY?
Garibaldi said the president ‘continues to look and feel as well as he does today, our hope is to plan for a discharge as early as tomorrow.’ But what hasn’t been clarified is how the president will continue his treatment of drugs that are usually only given in hospital settings. President Trump received a second dose of remdesvir, an antiviral drug given temporary FDA approval to treat severe cases of COVID, on Sunday, according to his medical team. The drug, which is injected in the arm, is only supposed to be given in a hospital setting. A typical course of it lasts five days. Additionally, the president’s doctors said he received a first dose of dexamethasone, a steroid that has been found to significantly reduce the risk of death among patients who are on a ventilator.
DO WE KNOW THE FULL TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP’S HEALTH?
Among the questions not answered at the briefing about the president’s health: how low did his blood oxygen levels go, does he show signs of pneumonia, does he have heart and lung damage, and is he in a negative pressure room. Additionally, Conley said the president’s temperature was ‘high’ but did not say how high it went. When asked about President Trump’s oxygen levels, Conley said: ‘It was below 94%. It wasn’t the low 80s or anything.’ He was asked about any damage to the president’s heart or lungs, which can happen to COVID patients, but only said it was being tracked. ‘There’s some expected findings but nothing of any major clinical concern,’ Conley said. He declined to answer several specific questions on the president’s health and about his treatment, including whether Trump was in a negative pressure room, which can help combat the spread of COVID. ‘I’m not going to get into the specifics of his care,’ Conley said. The White House still hasn’t answered when the president last tested negative for COVID.
HAVE DOCTORS TOLD THE TRUTH ALL ALONG?
Conley was asked why he and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows gave different pictures of the president’s health on Saturday with Conley painting a positive picture and Meadows saying the president went through a ‘very concerning’ period. ‘I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude of the team, that the president, that his course of illness has had,’ Conley said. He added that he ‘didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction. And in doing so, came off like we’re trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true.’ Dr. Conley grinned on Saturday as he repeatedly said Trump as ‘not on oxygen now.’ Pressed repeatedly about the president ever having had it he said: ‘Thursday, no oxygen, none at this moment, and yesterday with the team, while we were all here, he was not on oxygen.’ About an hour later the New York Times and Associated Press reported Trump was given oxygen at the White House residence. There has been no official denial or confirmation but Dr. Conley had left that possibility open. Why he would not confirm it is unknown.
HAS THE PRESIDENT OR ANYONE ELSE ORDERED DOCTORS NOT TO BE FULLY TRANSPARENT?
This is simply unknown. Dr. Conley has never spoken to reporters before Saturday, and read initially from a prepared statement on both Saturday and Sunday. He has had lengthy time with the president and as a patient, the president has veto over any aspect of revealing his medical information, such as when and how he was diagnosed, his use of oxygen and his maximum temperature. Also present at Walter Reed is Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff. He does not formally control Dr. Conley who is in the military chain of command, but is a member of the Cabinet and would be seen as having authority to act on the president’s behalf to control the release of information.
WHAT TEMPERATURE DID THE PRESIDENT’S FEVER SPIKE AT?
This simple question was not answered. On Sunday, Dr. Conley said Trump had a ‘high’ fever but did not say what it was. It is a crucial clinical indication but all Dr. Conley would say on Saturday is that he had been fever-free for 24 hours – since Friday morning. A Vanity Fair report said it reaches 103F on Friday early in the morning.
DOES THE PRESIDENT HAVE HEART OR LUNG DAMAGE?
Dr. Conley was asked about heart and lung damage, which can happen to COVID patients, but said it was being tracked. ‘There’s some expected findings but nothing of any major clinical concern,’ Conley said. On Saturday, he said: ‘We’re following all of that. We do daily ultrasounds. We do daily lab work. The team is tracking all of that.’ But that does not say if there is any damage to his lungs.’ He simply ignored a question about Trump’s heart.
DO WE KNOW EVERY DRUG OR TREATMENT HE HAS TAKEN?
The White House in two statements has detailed drugs Trump has been given. On Friday’s afternoon it said he was given the experimental Regeneron antibody ‘cocktail’ as well as zinc, Vitamin D and the histamine-blocker famotidine. Then late on Friday night a statement from Dr. Conley said he had been given the antiviral Remdesvir and, on Sunday, doctors said Trump received a second dose. Additionally, Dr. Brian Garibaldi said Trump received a first dose of dexamethasone, a steroid, on Saturday. Trump previously took hydroxychloroquine in late May and early June despite its use at the time being at best questionable and at worst risky. In June Dr. Conley said Trump takes three daily drugs: 40mg of Rosuvastatin, a statin; 1mg of finasteride, the hair-loss drug generally marketed as Propecia; and 81mg of aspirin.
DO WE KNOW ALL THE PRESIDENT’S UNDERYING CONDITIONS?
We do not know if we do. The last medical report in June said he was clinically obsess but had health cholesterol, resting heart rate and blood pressure., normal kidney, liver and thyroid function, normal blood count and normal Vitamin V12 and Vitamin D levels. But the White House has never explained fully his mystery trip to Walter Reed in November 2019 when Mike Pence was told to be on ‘standby’ to assume the powers of the presidency. Since then Trump’s struggle to walk down a ramp at West Point and his strange drinking of water with two hands has been the subject of widespread speculation about cognitive issues. He has denied having ‘a series of mini-strokes’ in an angry tweet but his physician has never fully addressed the visit or his cognitive state.
WHO IS TREATING THE PRESIDENT?
His treatment is being led by Dr. Sean Conley, who introduced other Walter Reed staff – including pulmonary specialists – and Dr. Brian Garibaldi who has been brought in from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. But the White House has not answered questions on the names of his full team. It has also not said if he or Dr. Conley have consulted other doctors on the coronavirus task force including Dr. Tony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, both renowned specialists. And it has not said if he has consulted Dr. Scott Atlas the controversial member of the taskforce who has spoken in favour of ‘herd immunity’ and minimized the importance of masks, and been called an ‘outlier’ who gives ‘bad information’ by Dr. Fauci. Also unaddressed is whether Dr. Conley has reached out to Admiral Ronny Jackson, Trump’s last White House doctor. He quit after his nomination to run Veterans Affairs was withdrawn and an investigation opened into whether he was drunk on the job and gave out prescription drugs to staffers, earning the nickname ‘Candyman.’ He had previously claimed the president could ‘live to 200.’ On Friday he tweeted that the president was ‘asymptomatic’ which quickly became plainly untrue. He is running for Congress as a Republican and it is unclear if he retains a medical registration.
WHEN PRECISELY WAS HE DIAGNOSED WITH COVID-19?
We still do not know. We now have had three different versions of when Trump was diagnosed from the White House, ranging from Wednesday morning to Friday at 1am. The White House has also not said what ‘diagnosed’ means – it could mean spotting clinical symptoms or testing positive.
The White House first announced Donald Trump’s positive test result – and that of the first lady – at 1am EST on Friday morning. But Dr. Sean Conley said on Saturday morning just before midday that the president was ‘ 72 hours into the diagnosis.’ That would mean he was diagnosed with COVID on Wednesday and as early as Wednesday morning – after he returned from the presidential debate with joe Biden and before he took part in a White House South lawn event then flew to Minnesota for an indoors fundraiser and outdoors rally. Dr. Conley then offered a different version saying that on Thursday afternoon ‘we repeated testing’ and Trump was given a PCR test – the most accurate kind because he ‘gave a kind of clinical indication.’ He did not say if that was before or after he flew to New Jersey for an indoors fundraiser. Trump himself told Sean Hannity shortly after 9pm that night that he was waiting for a test. After Conley spoke a White House source said ‘on background’: ‘The doctor meant it’s day 3, not yet 72hrs. Diagnosis made Thursday night.’ Then in another turn, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany issued a written statement from Conley saying he ‘incorrectly used the term ‘seventy two hours’ instead of ‘day three’ and ‘forty eight hours’ instead of ‘day two.’ He added that the first diagnosis was on ‘Thursday evening.’
WHEN PRECISELY WERE SYMPTOMS FIRST DETECTED AND WHEN PRECISELY WAS HE TESTED?
Again we do not know. There is no clarity over when Trump was last tested before his positive result. Dr. Conley repeated the White House claim that he is tested ‘frequently’ but did not say what that meant. They have never said if he was routinely given the less accurate Abbott Labs 15 minute test or the advanced OCR test.
When he arrived at Tuesday’s presidential debate Trump was too late to be tested by the Cleveland Clinic. Moderator Chris Wallace said there was an ‘honor system’ for the candidates; Trump’s team told the Debate Commission he was negative. That night he was said to have fallen asleep on Air Force One home from the presidential debate, in contrast to normally watching television and tweeting. But it is unknown if this was seen as a possible symptom at the time.
Dr. Conley initially said Trump was diagnosed ’72 hours’ before the Saturday statement which would mean Wednesday morning.
Trump then went to Minnesota on Wednesday for a fundraiser and a rally, where he spoke for 45 minutes, far less than his usual performances of more than an hour. It is unknown if this was treated as a symptom. Hope Hicks’ positive result came on Thursday morning but nobody has said if Trump was tested as soon as it was given or if it was until late Thursday afternoon that he was given a full nasal swab.
DID HE GO TO ANY EVENTS WHEN DOCTORS SUSPECTED HE WAS UNWELL OR HAD BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH CLINICAL SYMPTOMS OF COVID?
The White House doctors and series of statements offer no insight into when Trump first felt unwell; when anyone suspected he was unwell; when he was first tested; and if a doctor had seen clinical signs of COVID before he was nasally swabbed. That means that Trump could have gone to any or all of a Minnesota fundraiser and rally; a White House South Lawn event; and a New Jersey fundraiser with doctors suspecting he had COVID or even having tested him for it.
Misleading medical reports, backtracking doctors and a confused timeline: How a paranoid Trump’s fear of leaks has left his own team in the dark about severity of his condition – and how exposed THEY are to COVID-19
The White House has been thrown into chaos and confusion in the wake of Trump‘s coronavirus diagnosis as staffers are left in the dark about the president’s condition and potential risks to their own health.
Over the past four days Trump’s team has offered a number of conflicting reports surrounding the president’s illness, sowing doubt about when he tested positive and how severe his symptoms have been.
Meanwhile the virus has continued to spread through the White House, infecting at least 12 people who work there by Saturday night, as staff try to stay informed via the media in the absence of transparency from top brass in the Trump administration.
One senior White House official lifted the lid on the state of the 1600 Penn in an interview with Intelligencer on Saturday, decrying how paranoid attempts to avoid leaks have not only failed, but are threatening the health and safety of staff.
‘Ninety percent of the [White House] complex most certainly learned about it in the news, as has been the case ever since,’ the senior official said.
‘There are reports that COVID is spreading like wildfire through the White House. Since this whole thing started, not one email has gone out to tell employees what to do or what’s going on.’
The official said that the majority of staff has received little to no reliable information, about the president’s condition or about anything else regarding the outbreak.
‘I think most of it is paranoia about leaks,’ they said, ‘yet … the leaks continue.’
The White House has been thrown into chaos and confusion in the wake of Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis as staffers are left in the dark about the president’s condition and potential risks to their own health. Pictured: Marine One leaves the White House on Friday as Trump is transported to Walter Reed National Military Hospital for treatment
Outside the White House, confusion erupted on Saturday when Trump’s team of doctors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center offered a vague but sunny update on his health that was then contradicted by the president’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
‘This morning, the president is doing very well. The team and I are extremely happy with the progress the president has made. He’s been fever free for 24 hours and we are cautiously optimistic,’ Trump’s personal physician Sean Conley told reporters outside Walter Reed.
Conley’s depiction was far more hopeful than one put forward by Meadows, who spoke to a press pooler on background immediately after the briefing ended.
Trump’s personal physician Sean Conley (pictured) offered a vague update on his condition outside Walter Reed on Saturday morning, saying the president is doing ‘very well’
‘The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery,’ Meadows said.
The briefing raised more questions than answers as Conley declined to say what temperature Trump had when he had a fever or whether he was on oxygen.
Conley also said that the president was ’72 hours into the diagnosis’, indicating that Trump could have tested positive as early as Wednesday – not Thursday night as the White House had claimed.
If he was 72 hours into his diagnosis, that would mean Trump was positive a day after the presidential debate with Joe Biden and positive during a Minnesota rally Wednesday and a fundraising event in New Jersey attended by 100 people Thursday.
Conley and other senior officials spent the rest of Saturday backtracking, claiming that the doctor misspoke when he said ’72 hours’ and that he actually meant ‘day three’.
After the presser Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (pictured) told a pool reporter: ‘The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery’
Trump announced his diagnosis just before 1am Friday, hours after it emerged that his top aide, Hope Hicks, had tested positive after she started feeling sick on Wednesday while traveling to Minnesota with the president for his rally.
The White House sought to keep Hicks’ diagnosis under wraps and apparently didn’t inform its own staff despite the possibility that they could have been exposed to her.
Questions over the timeline are concerning both within and outside the White House because the president had traveled to multiple states and was exposed to countless people in the days before his diagnosis was announced.
On Wednesday the president appeared before a crowd of hundreds of people, who were notably not socially distanced, at a rally in Duluth, Minnesota.
He spoke for 45 minutes, far less than his usual performances of more than an hour. At the rally he was seen throwing red MAGA caps into the crowd. Then he fell asleep on Air Force One in contrast to normally watching television and tweeting.
The following day Trump traveled to his golf course and resort in Bedminster, New Jersey for an indoor fundraiser with about 100 attendees.
Trump reportedly met about 19 high-dollar GOP donors in private and seemed ‘lethargic’ at that fundraiser.
The contact tracing process is underway in New Jersey and Gov Phil Murphy is urging anyone at the Bedminster event or around it to self quarantine and get tested.
Organizers of the fundraiser have sent out an email to attendees informing them of Trump’s diagnosis, urging them to get tested if they experience symptoms.
It is unclear whether Trump caught the virus directly from Hicks, who traveled with him Tuesday for his debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Cleveland and on Wednesday to Minnesota.
On Wednesday the president spoke before a crowd of hundreds of people, who were notably not socially distanced, at a rally in Duluth, Minnesota
It is unclear whether Trump caught the virus directly from Hicks, who traveled with him Tuesday for his debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Cleveland and on Wednesday to Minnesota. Hicks pictured with White House advisor Jared Kushner and White House social media director Dan Scavino walking to Air Force One Wednesday
By Friday evening the president was flown on Marine One to Walter Reed hospital for a several days long stay to undergo treatment ‘out of an abundance of caution’ after reporting symptoms of fever, cough and congestion that the White House described as ‘mild’.
Rumors that officials were downplaying the severity of Trump’s condition began to swirl on Friday night as an anonymous White House official claimed he was hospitalized because he was having ‘trouble breathing’.
Dr Conley said Saturday that he was speaking ’48 hours after’ Trump received his first dose of Regenron’s experimental polyclonal antibody cocktail. That would mean on Thursday morning.
And another doctor – Brian Garibaldi – said: ‘About 48 hours ago the president received a special antibody therapy directed against the coronavirus. We are working very closely with the company to monitor him in terms of that outcome. Yesterday evening he received his first dose of IV remdesvir.’
Then in a statement Conley said Regenron was first administered on Friday – but not when. That means two doctors have now said the White House has misspoken.
Conley repeatedly refused to answer questions about whether the president had ever been placed on supplemental oxygen, merely stating that he wasn’t on it at the time of the briefing.
The physician said Trump’s medical team was still assessing the president to determine when he can be discharged from Walter Reed but asserted that he was on the mend.
Both Conley and the White House maintained that Trump’s hospitalization was precautionary, rather than a sign that his case was growing more serious.
However, Intelligencer spoke to Panagis Galiastatos, a pulmonary and critical-care physician at Johns Hopkins who has treated more than 100 COVID-19 patients in his hospital’s ICU, challenged that suggestion.
Galiastatos said that the details about Trump’s remdesivir treatment indicated that he is suffering from a ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’ case of COVID-19.
The doctor said he suspects Trump ‘probably had COVID-19 around Wednesday’, noting that patients are understood to be contagious ‘several days before’ showing symptoms.
If that’s the case, it could mean that Trump was positive during Tuesday night’s debate with Biden. Both Biden and his wife Jill tested negative after the news of Hicks’ diagnosis.
Meadows contradicted Conley’s assertion that Trump was doing ‘very well’ in his comment to the press pool immediately after the Walter Reed briefing.
The chief of staff apparently did not intend for his message to reach the wider press pool – but after it did, he appeared on Fox News on Saturday night and admitted that Trump’s condition had been ‘very concerning’ on Friday.
Multiple sources also claimed that Trump had been placed on oxygen prior to being admitted to Walter Reed, which the White House confirmed later on Sunday evening.
The president addressed the nation himself in a video from the hospital on Saturday night, saying he was feeling better while acknowledging, as Meadows had said, that the next two days are critical.
‘I came here, I wasn’t feeling so well, I feel much better now. We’re working hard to get me back. I have to get all the way back because we still have to make America great again,’ Trump said in the video posted to Twitter.
‘I don’t know the next period of a few days, I guess. That’s the real test so we’ll be seeing what happened over those next couple of days.’
The president is said have been upset over the confusion surrounding his condition after Meadows appeared to undermine Conley’s optimistic report.
But equally frustrated are those working in the White House, who are only getting updates via the media amid fears that they could be the next staffer infected with the virus.
Speaking to the senior White House official, Intelligencer placed the ordeal in a broader context, asking how Americans could trust the Trump administration’s portrayal of the coronavirus nationwide given the chaotic handling of this internal outbreak.
‘I can’t,’ the official replied.
In New York, Trump’s supporters were also showing their backing for the ailing president as he fights COVID-19
Sunday’s rally in Hauppauge, New York, drew a crowd of Trump supporters to back the president’s campaign
A Trump supporter shouts slogans against Democrats at a rally in Hauppauge, New York, on Sunday
People hold a Back the Blue NY Rally on Sunday in Hauppauge
People take part in the pro-police Back the Blue rally and support President Trump in Hauppauge on Sunday
A Back the Blue rally on Sunday was staged in Hauppauge, New York
The president’s supporters in Glendale, California, were out in force on Sunday as well, wishing Trump a speedy recovery
Trump supporters in California rallied on Sunday