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Why Doctors Aren’t So Sure Trump Is Feeling Better From Covid-19

Standing on the steps of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday, with a phalanx of white-coated doctors behind him, the White House physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley, ticked off President Trump’s encouraging vital signs: no fever, only slightly elevated blood pressure and a blood oxygen level in the healthy range.

“He’s back,” Dr. Conley said later in the news conference.

But when reporters asked him for results of Mr. Trump’s chest X-rays and lung scans — crucial measures of how severely the president has been sickened by Covid-19 — Dr. Conley refused to answer, citing a federal law that restricts what doctors can share about patients.

Without critical data about his lung function, medical experts in Covid-19 and lung disease said they were struggling to piece together an accurate picture of how Mr. Trump is faring. They noted that while most patients with the virus do recover, it was premature to declare victory over an unpredictable, poorly understood virus that has killed more than 210,000 people in the United States.

Less than a month from Election Day, Dr. Conley’s patient, Mr. Trump, is presenting himself as strong and unfazed by the coronavirus, and seems to have instructed his doctor to steer clear of disclosing health details that might puncture his image of invulnerability.

Dr. Conley said on Tuesday that Mr. Trump was experiencing no symptoms of the disease and doing “extremely well,” though he himself cautioned on Monday that the president was not “out of the woods” and that “we will all take that final deep sigh of relief” if he still feels well next Monday.

Far from having vanquished Covid-19, the outside doctors said, Mr. Trump is most likely still struggling with it and entering a pivotal phase — seven to 10 days after the onset of symptoms — in which he could rapidly take a turn for the worse. He’s 74, male and moderately obese, factors that put him at risk for severe disease.

“I don’t need to get in the president’s business,” said Dr. Talmadge E. King Jr., a specialist in pulmonary critical care and the dean of the UCSF School of Medicine. However, he said, “if their goal is for us to understand more completely what is going on, they have left a lot of very useful information off the table.”

Several medical experts said that based on the incomplete information Mr. Trump’s medical team had provided, the president appeared to have at least at some point experienced a severe form of Covid-19, with impairment of the lungs and a blood oxygen level below 94 percent, which is a cutoff for severe disease.

But again, Dr. Conley has not been fully forthcoming about Mr. Trump’s oxygen levels. He said that the president’s blood oxygen had dipped to 93 percent on Saturday. He was evasive about an earlier episode of low oxygen on Friday, though. When a reporter asked if Mr. Trump was ever below 90 percent, Dr. Conley said that his oxygen level had

Trump reports feeling better, but here’s why the next few days are ‘the real test’ in his COVID-19 battle

President Donald Trump’s battle with COVID-19 will come to a critical turning point in the next few days as the disease tests his immune system.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump is pictured speaking during the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio.


© Julio Cortez, AP
President Donald Trump is pictured speaking during the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio.

On Saturday, Trump and his doctors acknowledged the importance of the coming days as the illness enters what White House physician Dr. Sean Conley called “phase 2.”

In a video statement released Saturday evening from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Trump echoed the concern: “I’m starting to feel good. You don’t know over the next period of a few days, I guess that’s the real test, so we’ll be seeing what happens over those next couple of days.”

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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.

Several days after symptoms of COVID-19 appear, the body’s immune system must make an important switch to fight the virus with precision — or possibly face life-threatening consequences.

COVID-19 patients can “look pretty good for a few days, then they go south,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University.

That rapid deterioration can occur when the body’s immune system, unable to successfully target the virus, causes widespread collateral damage as it “brings in the troops,” Schaffner said.

A typical timeframe for patents’ decline is about five to 10 days after the person starts getting sick, said Dr. J. Randall Curtis, a professor of pulmonary and critical care at the University of Washington school of medicine in Seattle. 

Conley on Saturday said Trump is in his third day of fighting the virus.

During the early part of a patient’s COVID-19 illness, the body uses an “agnostic” immune response, said Dr. Greg Poland, director and founder of Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group. It doesn’t know what it’s fighting, but realizes something potentially dangerous is occurring. That’s called the innate immune system.

Key to a successful recovery is an immune response that targets the coronavirus itself. That’s called the adaptive immune system. 

To avoid serious illness, a patient’s innate and adaptive immune systems must stay in balance, and the virus itself must not cause serious complications along the way.

Age is a risk factor. Older patients tend to be less successful in activating the adaptive response, according to Melissa Nolan, an infectious disease expert and professor at the University of South Carolina.

Trump turned 74 in June, putting him at 90-times higher risk of death than someone in their 20s, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the course of COVID-19 can be highly variable. The president’s VIP medical treatment and access to cutting-edge therapies make the trajectory of the illness even tougher to predict.

Patients tend to see short-term fluctuations in their symptoms

Trump says he is feeling well, still at Walter Reed with covid-19

At a news conference at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Saturday morning, Trump’s medical team suggested that the president tested positive for the coronavirus earlier than initially disclosed by the White House. The president’s physician, Sean P. Conley, later issued a “clarification” through the White House on that timeline, as well as the time frame in which the president was administered Regeneron, an antibody cocktail that was part of the complement of drugs Trump has taken to fend off the virus.

Conley also declined to answer specific questions about the president’s health, including how high his fever grew in recent days, when he last tested negative for the virus and whether he was ever administered supplemental oxygen since being diagnosed. A senior administration official later confirmed reports that Trump was given supplemental oxygen at the White House Friday before going to Walter Reed.

The questions raised by the news conferences and subsequent comments from White House aides further fueled a credibility problem that has plagued the White House from the start of Trump’s presidency, as the statements served to raise more questions about the of the president’s medical condition.

For his part, Trump tweeted that he was “feeling well” Saturday afternoon, his first comments of the day hours after his physicians told reporters that the president was in “exceptionally good spirits.” He went to Walter Reed Friday evening and the White House said he is expected to stay there several days while doctors monitor his health.

“Doctors, Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING!!!” Trump wrote. “Tremendous progress has been made over the last 6 months in fighting this PLAGUE. With their help, I am feeling well!”

At the Saturday morning news conference, members of Trump’s medical team at Walter Reed, where Trump is expected to stay for several days, said the president is now fever-free and that they are “extremely happy” with the progress he has made. But Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, then told reporters at the event that Trump went through a “very concerning” period over the last day. Meadows also said the next two days will be critical in terms of his health.

“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. “We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

The statement led to confusion, both because of how it was made public and because it seemed to contradict what the president’s doctors said minutes earlier.

The statement from Meadows was originally distributed to the media through a White House pool report and was attributed to “a source familiar with the president’s health.” Two White House officials familiar with the statement, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue, later said it was

The Latest: President Trump Tweets That He’s ‘Feeling Well’ | Washington, D.C. News

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on coronavirus infections hitting President Donald Trump and others in his circle (all times EDT):

President Donald Trump says he’s “feeling well” and has voiced his appreciation for the medical professionals treating him for COVID-19 at a military hospital.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Doctors, Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed Medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING!!!”

He also says, “With their help, I am feeling well!”

It comes as White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Trump went through a “very concerning” period Friday and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care.

Trump’s doctors painted a rosy picture of the president’s health in a press conference at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. But the briefing raised more questions than it answered.

The White House says Trump is expected to stay at the hospital for “a few days” and would continue to work from the hospital’s presidential suite, which is equipped to allow him to keep up his official duties.

A person familiar with President Donald Trump’s medical condition says the president had been administered supplemental oxygen at the White House on Friday before he was hospitalized.

The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The revelation follows a press conference by Trump’s doctors where they refused to confirm the president had been on oxygen following his COVID-19 diagnosis Thursday. The doctors would only say that Trump was not on oxygen at the hospital.

First lady Melania Trump also has tested positive for COVID-19 and is recovering at home.

White House doctors said President Donald Trump began exhibiting “clinical indications” of COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon, earlier than previously known.

Trump’s doctors held a press conference Saturday at Walter Reed Medical Center, where the president was transported Friday. They said he was doing very well and his symptoms were improving.

However, a person familiar with the president’s illness said Trump’s condition was “very concerning” but he has been improving since going to the hospital. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

Trump sent a tweet around 1 a.m. Friday confirming he had been diagnosed with coronavirus, along with first lady Melania Trump.

On Thursday evening, Trump called into Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show, where he discussed aide Hope Hicks’ diagnosis and that he had been tested for the illness. But he did not say whether he had suffered symptoms.

A statement from Trump’s doctors early Friday did not mention the president having symptoms.

Presidential aide and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has tweeted that he’s tested positive for COVID-19.

Christie said Saturday that he will be receiving medical attention and “will keep the necessary folks apprised of my condition.”

He did not say whether he had symptoms.

Christie had said the last time he was with President Donald Trump