President Trump received mostly the same treatment as anyone would get for COVID-19, except for one experimental drug and the speed of his care.
The claim: Trump’s hospital records reveal he’s 322 pounds
America is nervously watching COVID-19 sweep its way across the top ranks of government. Now, online speculation and the administration’s lack of transparency are paving the way for misinformation about President Donald Trump’s health to go viral.
“Breaking News: HOSPITAL RECORDS EXPOSE TRUMP’S WEIGHT TO BE A WHOPPING 322 POUNDS!” @JerasIkehorn posed on Twitter Oct. 5
Soon the hashtags #322PoundPotus and #322Pounds gained traction, @JerasIkehorn’s tweet received 9,000 retweets, 1,400 quote tweets and nearly 29,700 likes, and the claim made its way across social networks.
“Hospital Record shows Trumps Weight 322! His Last Doctor said: 239! They understated by 83 Pounds! Could Other Info be Inaccurate!” asserted a similar claim, posted on Facebook on Oct. 5.
However, the White House has not released Trump’s hospital records from his stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Trump’s latest physical results reveal he’s far from 322 pounds.
More: Fact check: Trump could have been exposed to COVID-19 before Sept. 29 presidential debate
The Facebook user who shared the claim has not responded to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
White House has not released Trump’s hospital records
Trump’s health records, like those of any American, are protected from public release without his consent by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Since Trump announced his and his wife’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis on Oct. 2, Trump’s physicians and administration officials have updated the public on his condition via press conferences and written statements. In these correspondences, Trump’s team discussed his treatment and symptoms, but they never revealed his weight.
Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital after contracting the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (Photo: Jacquelyn Martin, AP)
“The doctors are not going to get on television and contravene the narrative. It’s the president’s privacy. If he doesn’t want to share information with the public, they can’t,” Dr. Russell Buhr, a pulmonologist and critical care professor at UCLA, told USA TODAY.
If a doctor were to divulge the president’s health information without his consent, that physician would risk criminal penalties ranging between $50,000 and $250,000, as well as sanctions from professional medical boards and loss of a state medical license.
More: Fact check: Claim that Trump’s positive COVID-19 test result is a ‘con’ has no basis in fact
Trump’s latest weight
Trump weighs 244 pounds according to his latest annual physical exam results released by the White House on June 3. The 6-foot-3, 74-year-old president was up one pound from his previousphysical released in February 2019, which showed his weight as