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White House physician Sean P. Conley gave an update on President Trump’s health from Walter Reed hospital, saying he was “doing very well.”

USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s condition after receiving a diagnosis of COVID-19 was “very concerning,” a White House official told the Associated Press, a sober assessment that raised new questions about the extent of the president’s illness. 

The president’s vitals over the past daywere “very concerning” and the next 48 hours will be critical for his care, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told the Associated Press. 

The course of COVID-19 can be highly variable, but the next three to five days are likely to be crucial, physicians who have treated hundreds of coronavirus patients told USA TODAY.

Meadows’ assessment was more disquieting than the one offered Saturday by White House physician Sean Conley — who said the president was “doing very well” — the latest in a series of mixed messages from officials about the president’s condition since Trump tested positive for the virus.   

White House officials initially said Trump had a “mild” case of COVID-19after testing positive late Thursday and moving to the Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday evening. Trump disclosed the results in a tweet early Friday morning and was seen walking to Marine One that evening for the short helicopter journey to the hospital. 

Conley said Saturday the president had been fever free for 24 hours and was not receiving oxygen.Conley said Trump experienced a mild cough, nasal congestion and fatigue on Thursday, “all of which are now resolving and improving.”

Walter Reed referred questions about Conley’s briefing Saturday back to the White House.

Breaking a more than 12-hour silence on Twitter, Trump posted Saturday that he was “feeling well” and he praised the doctors, nurses and other staff at Walter Reed. He later tweeted encouragement to members of Congress to approve an economic stimulus for the pandemic. 

Doctors repeatedly said Trump, 74, was not on oxygen Saturday but did not answer specific questions about whether he had received it previously, though Trump’s medical team denied a report Friday that the president was having trouble breathing.  

“He’s not on oxygen right now,” Conley said, adding that Trump had an oxygen saturation level of 96%, within the normal range for a healthy person 

But Conley declined to rule out that Trump had received oxygen Friday before heading to the hospital and the Associated Press, citing an unnamed source, reported that oxygen had been administered in that period. 

White House officials declined to answer questions from USA TODAY about whether oxygen was administered.  

What to know about oxygen levels

Doctors monitor oxygen in blood as an