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Doctors disturbed after Trump removes his mask upon returning to the White House

“What White House staffer would still wanna go to work tomorrow???” Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and health economist with the Federation of American Scientists, said in a tweet Monday night. “Epidemiologists just wanna vomit.”

Dozens of medical professionals and commentators echoed Feigl-Ding’s concerns Monday night, slamming the president for posing and then reentering the White House without a mask even though he is still suffering symptoms of covid-19.

Some medical experts were not just concerned for White House staff, but for the president himself.

Ilan Schwartz, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta’s division of infectious diseases, said the president appeared to be struggling to breathe in a brief clip that showed him standing outside the White House.

“This is a textbook example of increased work of breathing,” Schwartz tweeted.

A White House spokesman responded to Monday’s widespread criticisms, saying the White House is taking “every precaution necessary” to protect the president, his family and staff.

“Physical access to the President will be significantly limited and appropriate PPE will be worn when near him,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in an email. “President Trump will continue to receive around-the-clock medical care and monitoring from his Physician and a team of dedicated physicians and nurses in the White House Medical Unit who function out of a state-of-the-art clinic, which includes many of the things a person would see in an urgent care clinic and much more, to ensure the Commander-in-Chief makes a full recovery and can continue to discharge his duties.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people diagnosed with covid-19 wait at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms and go at least 24 hours without a fever before having contact with other people. Asymptomatic carriers who test positive for the virus but do not experience symptoms should wait 10 days after their positive test, the CDC says. And those who suffer a severe case of covid-19 may need to isolate longer, up to 20 days after getting sick.

Trump’s maskless moment at the White House and a short drive he took Sunday with several Secret Service agents to greet supporters outside of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center appear to violate those recommendations.

CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta was also among the doctors disturbed by the president’s actions on Monday.

“There is stuff that is pretty reckless, but at some point it’s just becoming absurd,” Gupta said, according to a tweet shared by one of his colleagues at CNN. “A person with known contagious deadly disease — without a mask on — is walking into the residence. Other people are around him.”

The heightened risk of coronavirus for people working within the White House has had many on high-alert as the virus spread quickly among individuals who had close contact with Trump last week. At least 10 people who attended a ceremony in the Rose Garden last week to mark the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett have since tested

Trump enters ‘uncharted territory,’ returning to White House at fraught moment in his recovery

The president returns to the White House at a fraught moment in his recovery — before he has seemingly escaped a period when some patients are known to crash.

“The problem with covid-19 is that people’s condition can deteriorate rapidly, even after days of stability,” said Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist and health-care researcher at Yale University and Yale New Haven Hospital. “And so we are more accustomed to be cautious with people with high risk.”

The president has received care accessible to few other Americans. He was given a brew of laboratory-made antibodies that fewer than 10 other patients have received outside of clinical trials. And for him, returning home means arriving at a place that can be adapted to cater to his needs, Krumholz and others said.

Jonathan Reiner, a George Washington University Hospital cardiologist, said that in an emergency, the White House medical unit “can do what an emergency room can do in the first 15 minutes” — someone could be resuscitated and stabilized during a heart attack, for example, and then transferred to a hospital. Still for ongoing treatment, he said, it would be wise for Trump to remain hospitalized.

“It makes zero sense to move him from Walter Reed,” Reiner said.

At a Monday news conference, White House physician Sean P. Conley said doctors were “cautiously optimistic and on guard” about Trump’s discharge. But he said the benefits of returning to the White House outweighed the risks.

“Every day a patient stays in the hospital unnecessarily is a risk to themselves,” Conley said. “And right now there’s nothing that’s being done upstairs here that we can’t safely conduct down home.”

But Conley acknowledged that the medical team is in “uncharted territory” with the mix of medications the president has been given and that the dangerous period for the infection is not over. He’s “looking to this weekend” for assurance that Trump has cleared rough waters.

“If we can get through to Monday” of next week, he said, doctors will “take that final deep sigh of relief.”

Conley declined for the third briefing in a row to answer additional questions about X-rays and other images taken of Trump’s lungs, and about other key data, such as when he last received a negative coronavirus test before falling ill. Instead, Conley emphasized symptoms the president was not experiencing: A “slight cough” was gone. There were never complaints of muscle aches. And fever-reducing drugs had not been deployed for at least 72 hours.

“He’s up and back to his old self, predominantly,” Conley said.

In the White House, Trump’s doctors will be vigilant for sudden changes, specialists predicted.

“You would want to be prepared to take care of any sudden unanticipated or very concerning event,” said Jeanne Marrazzo, an infectious-diseases expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The biggest risk, she said, would be the sudden onset of acute respiratory distress syndrome, which sometimes occurs with covid-19. Patients’ lungs fill with fluid, and they can’t breathe on their own.

Trump returning to White House after saying he ‘learned’ about COVID-19 by having it

At a news conference Monday afternoon, the president’s physician declined to comment on Trump telling Americans not to be afraid. “I’m not going to get into what the president says,” Dr. Sean Conley said.

Trump has for months has played down the threat of the pandemic, mocked mask-wearing, flouted public health guidelines and expressed little empathy for the nearly 210,000 Americans who have died.

Criticized for mishandling his response, he and his campaign now are casting him as someone strong and uniquely qualified to lead the fight.

“I learned a lot about COVID,” Trump said in a video he tweeted Sunday afternoon. “I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school. This isn’t the, ‘Let’s-read-the-book school.’ And I get it. And I understand it. And it’s a very interesting thing, and I’m going to be letting you know about it.”

“I feel better than I did 20 years ago!” he tweeted Monday afternoon.

A spokeswoman for his campaign on Monday criticized the Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, for having not contracted the virus himself.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump boards Marine One as he leaves the White House to go to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after he tested positive for COVID-19, Oct. 2, 2020, in Washington.

President Donald Trump boards Marine One as he leaves the White House to go to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after he tested positive for COVID-19, Oct. 2, 2020, in Washington.

President Donald Trump boards Marine One as he leaves the White House to go to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after he tested positive for COVID-19, Oct. 2, 2020, in Washington.

“He has experience now fighting the coronavirus as an individual,” Erin Perrine, director of press communications for Trump’s campaign, said in an interview with Fox News Monday morning. “Those first-hand experiences Joe Biden, he doesn’t have those.”

In stark contrast with Trump, Biden has for months practiced strict coronavirus protocols, severely limiting the sizes of his events and frequently wearing a face covering. He has repeatedly said he would trust public health officials — unlike Trump, who has disagreed with them in public, politicized mask-wearing and made false and misleading claims about treatments and vaccines.

Biden’s campaign has followed strict social distancing in order to keep the candidate safe and project an image

In NYC and LA, returning pupils face battery of virus tests

The two largest school districts in the U.S. are rolling out ambitious and costly plans to test students and staff for the coronavirus, bidding to help keep school buildings open amid a rise in infections among the nation’s school-age children.

New York City is set to begin testing 10% to 20% of students and staff in every building monthly beginning Thursday, the same day the final wave of the district’s more than 1 million students returns to brick-and-mortar classrooms for the first time in six months.

“Every single school will have testing. It will be done every single month. It will be rigorous,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in announcing the plan as part of an agreement with the teachers union to avert a strike. At least 79 Department of Education employees have died from the virus.

With an estimated 100,000-120,000 tests expected each month, each costing between $78 and $90, New York City’s school-based testing plan goes well beyond safety protocols seen in most other districts.


Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Unified School District, has launched a similarly comprehensive, $150 million, testing program to help determine when it will be safe to resume in-person instruction. The district began the school year remotely in August for all 600,000 students. The New York and Los Angeles systems are respectively the nation’s largest and 2nd-largest school districts.

Leaders in both cities say regular testing is needed in districts of their size and in areas of the country that previously witnessed unnerving surges of the virus.

The coronavirus struck hard at the elderly early in the pandemic and is now increasingly infecting American children and teens in a trend authorities say appears to be fueled by school reopenings and other activities. Children of all ages now make up 10% of all U.S cases, up from 2% in April, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that the incidence of COVID-19 in school-age children began rising in early September as many returned to classrooms. Its recommendations emphasize distancing, cleaning and face coverings for most reopening plans — though no requirement for universal testing of students and staff.

As part of the LAUSD plan announced this month, all students and staff will get an initial baseline test in coming weeks to ensure the incidence of COVID-19 is low, and then another test immediately before returning to school, Superintendent Austin Beutner said Monday.

Periodic testing will continue throughout the school year under a collaboration chaired by Beutner and former U.S. Education Arne Duncan that also includes the University of California, Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins and Stanford universities, Microsoft and several health providers.

“Pulling off something like this is almost a miraculous undertaking in and of itself because there are so many things that could go wrong,” said Arlene Inouye, secretary of United Teachers Los Angeles, which negotiated conditions for school nurses tasked with testing, “but what’s really encouraging is that there are a lot