Washington: Some answers have emerged on President Donald Trump’s condition as he battles the coronavirus, but Trump’s medical team withheld some key information in their first full, televised update.
Dr Sean Conley, White House physician, speaks at a press conference outside of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, US, on Saturday, October 3, 2020. Credit:Bloomberg
Here's what we know and what we don't know:
WHAT WE KNOW: TRUMP'S MEDICAL CONDITION
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said on Friday, local time, some of Trump’s vital signs were “very concerning” and that the next 48 hours would be critical in his care.
That was a much more cautious assessment than Trump’s doctors gave. Navy Commander Dr Sean Conley said at a briefing outside a military hospital that Trump had been fever-free for 24 hours and that his symptoms, including a cough and nasal congestion, “are now resolving and improving”.
Conley revealed that Trump began exhibiting “clinical indications” of COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon, earlier than previously known.
US President Donald Trump arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre, in Bethesda, Maryland on Marine One.Credit:AP
Conley repeatedly refused to answer whether the President had needed supplemental oxygen at any point.
Asked for the President’s vital signs, Conley failed to provide any of Trump’s temperature readings. Those could indicate the seriousness of the president’s condition, a measurement the public didn’t get as Trump spent his first full day at Walter Reed.
Conley added that doctors aren’t sure where Trump is in the “disease course” of COVID-19. Days seven to 10 typically are a time of higher concern, he said.
WHAT WE KNOW: WHEN TRUMP FELL ILL
Trump started showing symptoms by Thursday, a full day before the White House announced what were initially called “mild symptoms.”
Conley said Trump showed some common signs of COVID-19 on Thursday — a mild cough, stuffy nose and fatigue. The president tested positive that afternoon, the doctor said.
The timeline matters as an indication of how transparent Trump, his staffers and doctors are being about the president's health and whether Trump should have known he may have been spreading the virus as he mingled with campaign donors, staffers and others Thursday.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW: WHEN TRUMP FELL ILL
Conley declined to say when Trump had last been tested before Thursday’s test confirmed COVID-19.
WHAT WE KNOW: HOW TRUMP WAS INFECTED
It's not clear, but attention is focusing on a White House event Sept. 26 introducing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Trump gathered more than 150 people in the Rose Garden, where they mingled, hugged and shook hands — overwhelmingly without masks. Photos also show several indoor receptions, where Trump’s nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, her family, senators and others gathered in the close quarters in the White House.
Among those who attended who 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 senators — Utah Senator Mike Lee and North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW: HOW TRUMP WAS INFECTED
There's no way to know for sure if the Rose Garden event was where Trump — who typically shuns a mask and has kept holding big public gatherings during the pandemic — was exposed. The President had a full week of official and campaign events before his hospitalisation on Friday.
A third Republican senator, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, announced his positive test on Saturday, and he had not attended Barrett’s nomination kickoff.
The administration says a White House medical team is tracing contacts.
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