President Trump, undergoing an experimental antiviral treatment, spends a third day in the hospital.

President Trump entered his third day in the hospital on Sunday after contracting the coronavirus and falling ill last week, even as confusing and contradictory accounts about his medical condition added to the national sense of uncertainty and concern for the 74-year-old president’s well-being.

Seeking to project an optimistic image to the world, President Trump released a four-minute video on Saturday evening from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., to say that he is “starting to feel good” and would “be back soon.”

Wearing a blue jacket, cuff links and an American flag pin but no necktie, the president looked much paler than he did during his debate in Cleveland on Tuesday with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Thanking the staff at Walter Reed, Mr. Trump said that he “wasn’t feeling so well” when he arrived at the hospital on Friday, but that he felt “much better now.”

On Saturday night, the White House physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley, released a new statement, saying that Mr. Trump had made “substantial progress” and would be monitored closely as he undergoes a five-day experimental antiviral drug regimen for Covid-19 and continues to receive doses of remdesivir, a drug that has shown some efficacy at speeding recovery.

“While not out of the woods, the team remains cautiously optimistic,” Dr. Conley noted.

But that optimism was not shared by everyone close to the president and just a few hours earlier, Mark Meadows, the president’s chief of staff, had offered a darker picture.

“The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning,” Mr. Meadows said. “And the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care.”

Many doctors stressed the critical period of time — about seven to 10 days after infection — when a patient’s condition can take a turn for the worse. Some people respond to an infection with an overly exuberant immune response that can worsen their illness and even prove fatal.

The release of only sketchy information made it difficult for outside medical experts to assess the president’s condition and the lack of clear communication was compounded by the vagaries of a virus that continues to puzzle scientists.

Some 7.3 million Americans have been infected since the pandemic swept around the world and more than 208,000 have died.

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