Despite White House physician Dr. Sean Conley saying during a Saturday press conference that Donald Trump is "doing very well" after his first night at Walter Reed Medical Center, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows relayed what seemed to be a more dire summary of the president's health, according to the New York Times. The conflicting reports have served to create confusion as new details emerge about Trump's condition, as well as the timeline of his coronavirus diagnosis and treatment.
"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," Meadows told reporters. "We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery."
The president has been fever-free for 24 hours and has normal organ function, according to his medical team. Trump will be on a five-day course of the experimental antiviral therapy remdesivir. Reporters repeatedly pressed Dr. Conley on whether Trump has received supplemental oxygen at Walter Reed. Dr. Conley said Trump is not currently on supplemental oxygen, but would not confirm whether the president has needed it so far.
Q: "Has [Trump] ever been on supplemental oxygen?"
Dr. Sean Conley: "Right now he is not on oxygen"
Q: "You keep saying right now -- but should we read into the fact that he had been previously?"
Dr. Conley: "Yesterday and today he was not on oxygen." https://t.co/6LHjLe7fw8 pic.twitter.com/WHbKbxh8DM
— The Hill (@thehill) October 3, 2020
Conley also shared that the president asked about hydroxychloroquine—a drug Trump has championed despite there being little evidence it can treat the coronavirus—but his medical team has not prescribed it.
Conley said Trump was “just 72 hours into the diagnosis now,” which could mean he was diagnosed as early as Wednesday. The president traveled to New Jersey on Thursday for a campaign fundraiser and revealed at 1 a.m. on Friday that he and his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, were diagnosed only after reports emerged that close aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for coronavirus. On Friday, the White House issued a statement that the president was experiencing "mild symptoms" of the virus and would be transported via helicopter to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. When asked why the decision was made to transfer Trump to Walter Reed, Conley said, "Because he's the President of the United States."
The White House attempted to clear up confusion about the timeline of the president's diagnosis and treatment, releasing a memo following Conley's press conference. "This morning while summarizing the President's health, I incorrectly used the term 'seventy two hours' instead of 'day three' and 'forty eight hours' instead of 'day two,'" Conley wrote in a statement.
NEW statement: from White House physician:
"This morning while summarizing the President's health, I incorrectly used the term "seventy two hours" instead of "day three" and "forty eight hours" instead of "day two" pic.twitter.com/EPuW6RpxHg
— Brandon Wall (@Walldo) October 3, 2020
Trump falls into a high-risk category for COVID-19 given that he's male, 74 years old, and clinically obese. The disease has so far killed over 200,000 Americans and more than one million people worldwide.
Several Republican lawmakers and members of the Trump administration announced positive coronavirus diagnoses on Saturday. Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, the president of the University of Notre Dame Rev. John Jenkins, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, and Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel all have announced they have tested positive for COVID-19. This wave of new diagnoses comes a week after more than 100 people gathered—most without masks—in the White House Rose Garden to celebrate Trump's third nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett. An indoor reception followed the outdoor ceremony.
On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence, as well as former Vice President and current Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, tested negative for the virus.
This is a developing situation. This story will be updated as new details become available.
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