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Dr. Inglesby examines Trump’s coronavirus condition: What we’ve heard is ‘largely encouraging’

President Trump seems to be doing well since his coronavirus diagnosis, Dr. Inglesby of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health told “Fox News Sunday.”

“The news we heard yesterday was largely encouraging,” he said. “The fact that the president is not requiring oxygen, that a number of lab tests were reported to be normal and he was able to deliver that video yesterday.”

But Inglesby said White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ announcement that the president required oxygen on Friday was “worrisome” and it would be helpful to know the results of some other tests presumably conducted at Walter Reed Medical Center such as a chest x-ray or CT scan.


According to the CDC, about one-third of COVID-19 patients above the age of 65 required hospitalizations leading up to June 2020, and eight out of 10 people in the same age group died.

President Donald Trump arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md., Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, on Marine One helicopter after he tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Donald Trump arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md., Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, on Marine One helicopter after he tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Inglesby explained that symptoms can worsen quickly within a 5-10 day period, especially among people in Trump’s age group and with underlying conditions.

“The president is receiving extraordinary care and looks like he’s doing well but it’s certainly a serious disease for people his age,” he said. “It’s very difficult to judge [his recovery] at this time.”

Large public events such as Trump’s rallies should no longer be permitted during the pandemic, Inglesby said, since the virus is easily spread through projected voice and the president and his team neglect to follow masking guidelines.

“When the commission sets rules for preventing transmission during debates, they should be followed,” he said.


Inglesby suggested that future debates be held virtually due to the “unanticipated, very large risks” surrounding them.

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When You Heard Trump Had COVID-19, Who Did You Tell?

The reason could be that we want our friends and family to hear news from us, rather than from another source. “Privileged information earns you status,” Matthew Feinberg, an organizational-behavior professor at the University of Toronto, told me in an email. “Those who are in the know must have a strong social network and therefore must be popular.” Perhaps people have an irresistible drive to signal that they’re well informed. That would explain the rush to share breaking news on Twitter, at any rate.

But it doesn’t quite explain the urge to tell our loved ones. One would imagine that your status is already secure with your nearest and dearest, whether you’re the one to bring new tidings or not. Kafantaris told me that for herself and her husband, sharing big news helps them process it communally. “You want to experience this cultural moment with someone,” she said. Neither of them “respects the other person’s sleep schedule,” when news breaks. When Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, Kafantaris burst in on her husband in the shower to let him know.

Stacy Torres, a sociologist at the UC San Francisco who has studied gossip, suspects that the drive to tell people about news you’ve just read relates to the “pleasures of sharing secrets or rumors.” Although gossip tends to be about people one actually knows, and news is public information, “in both situations, there’s that moment of wanting to connect, to say, ‘Hey, this thing happened, and it’s affecting us in some collective way,’” she told me.

In addition to the national magnitude of these stories, Torres suspects that people are more likely to shake someone awake for such news because it feels personally relevant. Torres said that she likely wouldn’t feel compelled to share just any story that interested her if it didn’t seem to practically impact her life. The president’s contracting COVID-19, however, brought up a lot of questions and worries for her, as it likely did for many other Americans. Had Trump infected other public figures? What would his illness mean for the election? Would this change anything about the country’s response to the pandemic? She wanted to reach out to her partner, but he was in a different time zone and likely already asleep, so she resisted. But when she woke up Friday morning, she had gotten a text from him about the news.

Gail Parenti, a 61-year-old retired attorney based in Umbertide, Italy, also resisted the urge to rouse her husband Thursday night, but says she told him “the minute he woke up.” “Just sitting there thinking about it is one thing,” she told me, “but saying it out loud is something else. I think it helps me process my own feelings to hear his perspective.”

In my experience, the conversations I have with those around me when news breaks are often extremely brief. “Hey, did you see what happened?”