ALL NEWS

Pres. Trump said to be improving but next 48 hours ‘critical’

Oct 3, 2020, 5:52 PM | Updated: 6:07 pm

Pres Trump Health Saturday...

Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, is followed by a team of doctors for a briefing with reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital after contracting the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — President Donald Trump went through a “very concerning” period Friday and faces a “critical” next two days in his fight against COVID-19 at a military hospital, his chief of staff said Saturday — in contrast to a rosier assessment moments earlier by Pres. Trump’s doctors, who took pains not to reveal the president had received supplemental oxygen at the White House before his hospital admission.

Mr. Trump himself offered an upbeat assessment Saturday evening in a video from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. While sounding winded, the president said he was beginning to feel better and hoped to “be back soon.”

Hours earlier chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters outside the hospital, “We’re still not on a clear path yet to a full recovery.”

The changing, and at times contradictory accounts, created a credibility crisis for the White House at a crucial moment, with the president’s health and the nation’s leadership on the line. With Pres. Trump expected to remain hospitalized several more days and the presidential election looming, his condition is being anxiously watched by Americans.

Moreover, the president’s health represents a national security issue of paramount importance not only to the functions of the U.S. government but to countries around the world, friendly and otherwise.

Saturday’s briefing by Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley and other doctors raised more questions than it answered. Conley repeatedly refused to say whether the president ever needed supplemental oxygen, despite repeated questioning, and declined to share key details including how high a fever Mr. Trump had been running before it came back down to a normal range. Conley also revealed that the president had begun exhibiting “clinical indications” of COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon, earlier than previously known.
Conley spent much of the briefing dodging reporters’ questions, as he was pressed for details.

“Thursday no oxygen. None at this moment. And yesterday with the team, while we were all here, he was not on oxygen,” Conley said.

But according to a person familiar with Mr. Trump’s condition, the president was administered oxygen at the White House on Friday morning, well before he was transported to the military hospital by helicopter that evening. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press only on condition of anonymity,

Conley said that Mr. Trump’s symptoms, including a mild cough, nasal congestion and fatigue “are now resolving and improving,” and said the president had been fever-free for 24 hours. But Pres. Trump is also taking aspirin, which lowers body temperature and could mask or mitigate that symptom.

“He’s in exceptionally good spirits,” said another doctor, Sean Dooley, who said Pres. Trump’s heart, kidney, and liver functions were normal and that he was not having trouble breathing or walking around.

Pres. Trump is 74 years old and clinically obese, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from a virus that has infected more than 7 million people nationwide and killed more than 200,000 people in the U.S.

Meadows himself had insisted Friday morning that Mr. Trump had only “mild symptoms” as the White House tried to project an image of normalcy. It was unclear whether Mr. Trump already had received oxygen when Meadows spoke.

“President Trump remains in good spirits, has mild symptoms and has been working throughout the day,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said late in the day on Friday. She said Pres. Trump had only been sent to Walter Reed as a precaution.

Mr. Trump’s administration has been less than transparent with the public throughout the pandemic, both about the president’s health and the virus’ spread inside the White House. The first word that a close aide to Pres. Trump had been infected came from the media, not the White House. And aides have repeatedly declined to share basic health information, including a full accounting of the president’s symptoms, what tests he’s undertaken and the results.

In a memo released late Friday, Conley did report that Mr. Trump had been treated at the hospital with Remdesivir, an antiviral medication, after sharing that he’d taking another experimental drug at the White House.

Conley declined to say when Pres. Trump had last been tested before he was confirmed to have COVID-19 late Thursday. He initially suggested that Mr. Trump was 72 hours into the diagnosis — which would mean that he was confirmed infected Wednesday. Conley later clarified that Pres. Trump was administered an accurate test for the virus on Thursday afternoon, after White House aide Hope Hicks was confirmed to be positive and the president exhibited “clinical indications” of the virus.

The White House has said Mr. Trump was expected to stay at the hospital for “a few days” and would continue to work from its presidential suite, which is equipped to allow him to keep up his official duties. In addition to accessibility to tests and equipment, the decision to move to the hospital on Friday was made, at least in part, with the understanding that hurrying there later could send a worrying signal if he took a turn for the worse.

On Saturday, Conley said Pres. Trump’s blood oxygen level was 96%, which is in the normal range. The two experimental drugs he has received, given through an IV, have shown some promise against COVID-19. On Friday, he was given a single dose of a drug Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. is testing to supply antibodies to help his immune system fight the virus.

Friday night, he began a five-day course of remdesivir, a Gilead Sciences drug currently used for moderately and severely ill patients. The drugs work in different ways — the antibodies help the immune system rid the body of virus and remdesivir curbs the virus’ ability to multiply.

“We’re maximizing all aspects of his care,” attacking the virus in multiple ways, Conley said. “I didn’t want to hold anything back if there was any possibility it would add value to his care.”

He noted that in many cases, COVID-19 can become more dangerous as the body responds. “The first week of COVID, and in particular day seven to 10, are the most critical in determining the likely course of this illness,” he said.

At the same time, the White House has been working to trace a flurry of new infections of close Trump aides and allies. Attention is focused in particular on last Saturday’s White House event introducing Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. That day, Pres. Trump gathered more than 150 people in the Rose Garden, where they mingled, hugged and shook hands — overwhelmingly without masks. There were also several indoor receptions, where Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, her family, senators and others spent time in the close quarters of the White House, photographs show.

Among those who attended and have now tested positive: former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, the president of the University of Notre Dame, and at least two Republican lawmakers — Utah Sen. Mike Lee and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis. The president’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, and the head of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, have also tested positive, though they were not at the event.

Despite its failure to protect the president and senior staff from infection, the White House has given no indication that it intends to make any major protocol changes, such as mandating that everyone wears a mask.

Meadows, the chief of staff, accompanied the president to the hospital aboard Marine One, the kind of small, enclosed space where experts say the virus easily spreads. Those aboard did wear masks.

While Vice President Mike Pence is currently off the campaign trail preparing for the coming week’s vice presidential debate, he and his staff are operating under a “business as usual” approach. He’s still planning to travel to Arizona on Thursday, Indiana on Friday and Florida on Saturday for events instead of isolating himself after potential exposure and to protect himself from contracting the virus anywhere else.

__
Colvin and Miller reported from Washington. Associated Press chief medical writer Marilynn Marchione contributed to this report from Milwaukee.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

A yearling moose was found in the Ogden foothills Thursday morning....

Emma Keddington

Moose found on homeowner’s property in Ogden foothills

A young moose was found in the foothills of Ogden Thursday morning. Here's what to do if you encounter one.

7 hours ago

A newly implemented city regulation in Washington DC is making the city and childcare even more exp...

Devin Oldroyd

New law raises Washington DC childcare cost and affects childcare staff

A newly implemented city regulation in Washington DC is making the city and childcare even more expensive and unsustainable for families.

8 hours ago

The Capitol is pictured in Salt Lake City on Monday, Jan. 29, 2024. Utah's population is facing cha...

Heather Peterson

Utah’s population changes in age and race

Utah's population is getting older with more than 12% now at or above retirement age. At the same time, part of the population now identify as a minority because of racial and ethnic diversity.

9 hours ago

FILE: A boat speeds past the Tamarisk on the Colorado River. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)...

Curt Gresseth

Invasive tamarisk tree sprouting more roots along Virgin, Colorado rivers

The invasive and highly flammable Tamarisk tree is taking root along the Virgin River and Colorado River Basin.

10 hours ago

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill talks to members of the media on March 31, 2023. On Thu...

Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Officers found legally justified in Murray and Taylorsville police shootings

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced Thursday that officers involved in two police shootings were legally justified.

11 hours ago

Financial technology, or FinTech is a new minor offered at the University of Utah. This year, they ...

Josuee Sanchez

First group of FinTech grads complete classes at the U

FinTech grads will fill roles in businesses that include digital banking, blockchain technology, and artificial intelligence.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Pres. Trump said to be improving but next 48 hours ‘critical’