Trump COVID-19 diagnosis: What we know so far

President Donald J. Trump greets supporters during a drive by outside of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Official White House Photo.

On Friday, Oct. 2, President Trump tweeted out that he and the first lady, Melania Trump, had tested positive for COVID-19. 

That evening, the president was flown to Walter Reed Military Medical Hospital, and, according to NPR, received supplemental oxygen. President Trump’s diagnosis comes shortly after the debate between himself and former vice president Joe Biden, and after President Trump announced his Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett at the White House. 

Many of Trump’s inner circle have recently also recently tested positive for COVID-19: Trump's campaign manager, Bill Stepien; his former advisor, Kellyanne Conway; the presidential aid, Hope Hickswho is presumed to be the first member of Trump’s inner circle to test positive; the RNC chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel; Sen. Mike Lee of Utah; Sen. Thom Tillis from North Carolina; and Notre Dame University President John Jenkins. 

The president was discharged from Walter Reed Hospital on Monday evening, and he immediately headed back to the White House. 

According to NPR, “Since his diagnosis, Trump has received these key interventions: supplemental oxygen, steroids, an experimental antibody cocktail, and the antiviral medication remdesivir."

One of the interventions that the president received is not standard treatment for COVID-19 patients, and is in fact only used in clinical trials, or for “compassionate use,” according to NPR. 

 News that the president was being provided with supplemental oxygen sparked concern over just how severe the president’s condition truly was. Reports from the president’s physicians say that the president’s oxygen levels did drop and that he did have a fever, but both his temperature and his oxygen levels returned to normal by Monday.

Independent medical experts say that the drop in oxygen levels is not a positive thing to see early on, and are questioning the severity of the president’s condition given the information from the White House. 

With the president’s drop in oxygen levels, his chief physician, Sean Conley, stated that doctors gave the president dexamethasone, which is a steroid. 

According to a transcript from NPR with Michel Martin and NPR Health Correspondent, Rhitu Chatterjee, “This drug has been shown to reduce the risk of death in patients with severe disease—very ill patients on ventilatorsand also those who are on oxygen support. This drug doesn’t benefit and can even do harm to patients with mild disease.” Chatterjee pointed out that this could mean that the president had more than mild symptoms. 

During the weekend that President Trump was at Walter Reed, he was seen leaving the hospital to drive around the hospital and wave at the crowd of supporters that were outside of the premises. 

According to Tamara Keith, NPR White House Correspondent, who was also included in the transcript from NPR, stated “. . . that drive-by required a bunch of people to get into PPE. You had Secret Service agents in an SUV with the president in PPE. The whole justification that had been [given] by the White House for why he was going to the hospital was so that he could keep working by letting people stay safe in the White House, because he has a highly infectious disease.” 

After arriving back at the White House, President Trump was seen climbing the stairs with a mask on before reaching the top, taking the mask off, and giving a thumbs up to the camera. 

A memo from Sean Conley on Tuesday, Oct. 6, stated, “This morning the President’s team of physicians met with him in the Residence. He had a restful first night at home, and today he reports no symptoms. Vital signs and physical exam remain stable, with an ambulatory oxygen saturation level of 95-97%. Overall he continues to do extremely well.” 

 CNN, Politico, BBC and LA Times all report that the president hopes to get back on the campaign trail soon.

 

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