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Trump’s hospital ride criticized as irresponsible; could be released today

Oct. 5 (UPI) — President Donald Trump could be discharged from the hospital as soon as Monday, as criticism mounts over his brief ride outside to greet supporters.Trump made a surprise excursion Sunday evening outside Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where was admitted Friday for treatment of COVID-19. He wore a cloth mask while sitting in the back seat of an SUV and waved at cheering supporters around the hospital. At least two people were seen in the car with him.

Doctors criticized the trip as careless and said it flagrantly flouted precautions designed to contain the coronavirus.

“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die. For political theater,” Walter Reed attending physician Dr. James Phillips, who is also a doctor of emergency medicine at George Washington University, tweeted.

“Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”

“That presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack,” he wrote in another post. “The risk of COVID-19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding.”

The Washington Post reported that current and former Secret Service officials criticized the drive, as well as Trump aides.

Trump announced his diagnosis early Friday and he was flown the hospital later that evening aboard Marine One. White House physician Dr. Sean Conley told reporters Sunday Trump has shown improvement.

The White House dismissed concerns about Trump’s motorcade drive outside the hospital, saying it had been cleared by medical staff.

“Appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the president and all those supporting it, including PPE,” spokesman Judd Deere said. “The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.”

Doctors said Sunday the president could be moved back to the White House as early as Monday. But Conley acknowledged the president’s oxygen levels had dropped twice since Friday and that he’d been treated with the powerful steroid dexamethasone, which is recommended only for COVID-19 patients who need oxygen, including those on ventilators.

Administering the drug risks a systemic inflammatory response that can lead to lung injury and multisystem organ dysfunction, the National Institutes of Health warns.

Trump also received two doses of the antiviral drug remdesivir that was authorized for emergency use in May for treating hospitalized patients with the coronavirus.

Some experts have voiced concern about a premature release.

“For someone sick enough to have required remdesivir and dexamethasone, I can’t think of a situation in which a patient would be okay to leave on day three, even with the White House’s medical capacity,” University of California, San Francisco professor Robert Wachter told The Washington Post.

Doctors say COVID-19 patients remain especially vulnerable to complications for as many as 10 days after their first symptoms — and sometimes deteriorate suddenly. Trump’s age and weight place him

Trump’s drive outside Walter Reed hospital criticized by Secret Service members, doctors

A growing number of Secret Service agents have been concerned about the president’s seeming indifference to the health risks they face when traveling with him in public, and a few reacted with outrage to the trip, asking how Trump’s desire to be seen outside of his hospital suite justified the jeopardy to agents protecting the president. The president’s coronavirus diagnosis has already brought new scrutiny to his lax approach to social distancing, as public health officials scramble to trace those he may have exposed at large in-person events.

“He’s not even pretending to care now,” said one agent after the president’s jaunt outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“Where are the adults?” said a former Secret Service member.

They spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution.

White House spokesman Judd Deere defended the outing, telling reporters that “appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the President and all those supporting it.” Deere said precautions included personal protective equipment, without providing further details, and added that the trip “was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.”

The White House did not immediately respond to questions from The Washington Post on Sunday night.

Trump wore a mask as he waved to a crowd from the back of his vehicle, after announcing that he would “pay a little surprise to some of the great patriots that we have out on the street.” But the face covering was little comfort to doctors, who took to Twitter to criticize the trip as irresponsible. Masks “help, but they are not an impenetrable force field,” tweeted Saad B. Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health.

Among critics was a doctor affiliated with Walter Reed.

“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days,” tweeted James P. Phillips, who is also a professor at George Washington University. “They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”

Phillips said the risk of viral transmission inside the car is “as high as it gets outside of medical procedures.” Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, noted that people inside a hospital wear extensive protective gear — gowns, gloves, N95 masks and more — when they will be in close contact with a coronavirus patient such as Trump.

“By taking a joy ride outside Walter Reed the president is placing his Secret Service detail at grave risk,” he tweeted.

Trump had been irked that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows suggested he was not doing well as he fought the virus, according to campaign and White House officials.

“The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning, and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care,” Meadows said Saturday afternoon, in sharp contrast to doctors who offered rosy

Trump criticized for leaving hospital to greet supporters

US President Donald Trump sparked an angry backlash from the medical community Sunday with a protocol-breaking visit to his supporters outside the hospital where he is being treated for the highly-infectious, potentially deadly new coronavirus.

He was masked as he waved from inside his bulletproof vehicle during the short trip outside Walter Reed military medical center near Washington, which appeared designed to take back the narrative on his improving health after a weekend of muddled messaging from his doctors.

But experts complained that the outing broke his own government’s public health guidelines requiring patients to isolate while they are in treatment and still shedding virus — and endangered his Secret Service protection.   

Trump, who has been repeatedly rebuked for flouting public health guidelines and spreading misinformation on the pandemic, said in a video that dropped on Twitter just before the appearance that he had “learned a lot about Covid” by “really going to school” as he has battled the virus.

But health experts took to the airwaves and social media to criticize the “stunt,” which they said demonstrated that he had learned nothing at all. 

“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days,” said James Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University.

“They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”

White House spokesman Judd Deere said “appropriate” precautions had been taken to protect Trump and his support staff, including protective gear. 

“The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do,” he added.

But Zeke Emanuel, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and regular TV pundit, described the appearance as “shameful.”

“Making his Secret Service agents drive with a COVID-19 patient, with windows up no less, put them needlessly at risk for infection. And for what? A PR stunt,” he tweeted.

– Confused messaging –

The episode came hours after a briefing by Trump’s medical team, who said he had “continued to improve” and could be returned to the White House, which has the facilities to treat and isolate the president, as early as Monday.

The president was flown to Walter Reed with a high fever on Friday after a “rapid progression” of his illness, with his oxygen levels dropping worryingly low, Trump’s physician Sean Conley said in a Sunday briefing.

Health experts have complained that the messaging from the administration — and particularly Trump’s medical team — has caused widespread confusion.

Conley admitted Sunday that he had kept from the public the fact that the president had been given extra oxygen, in a bid to reflect an “upbeat attitude.”

And he gave a rosy account of Trump’s progress Saturday only for White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to tell reporters immediately that Trump’s condition had been “very concerning” and that he was “still not