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Former Washington Journalist
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Creating a sense of confusion and chaos over the health status of the president of the United States, Donald Trump’s outlook appears to have taken a concerning turn after his physician provided initial assurances.
Trump remained hospitalized and appears to have been connected to assistive oxygen after being admitted while he and his wife, Melania, both tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Up until now, Trump’s physician and White House officials sought to downplay the severity of Trump’s symptoms, as late as Saturday morning.
However, even while sending Trump and his wife well-wishes, some worried that those appraisals were not entirely honest.
“We’re struggling to find out basic facts because they would not answer a lot of those questions at the briefing earlier. One of those that was raised was whether or not the president was on oxygen and I think the reason that was a question was because in a statement from the president’s doctor, in a memo, not the one that Jeremy just read, another one, it said the president is not on oxygen,” said CNN reporter Kaitlyn Collins, referring to her colleague, CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond. “It raises the question of why he would say that if he had been on oxygen previously and now a source has told our colleague, Jim Acosta, that the president was placed on oxygen at some point in the week. I believe they said it was Friday that had president had been given supplemental oxygen. So that is something that is good to know when he was on it, why he’s not on it any longer. It’s a good sign if he’s no longer on it. All the doctor would say is the president is no longer on oxygen.
“When reporters asked several pointed follow-up questions, when was he on it, the doctor would not answer and would only smile and say he’s not on it today. That’s just one question they wouldn’t answer,” Collins added. “They also wouldn’t say what the president’s fever was when he had one. They confirmed that he did have one. They said he hasn’t had one in 24 hours. They wouldn’t say what it was, was it 102, 101? What was the president’s fever. And this is a time when the credibility of the White House matters and right now they are not doing a good job at giving people a incredible updated assessment of what’s going on with his condition, given that he is in the hospital and on experimental drugs.
“That is a significant matter and people should know what exactly is going on, whether it’s an hour by hour update or how they want to provide these. And clearly we’re struggling to get that. If you look at this memo that Jeremy just read, there are typos in this memo. They clearly are not being careful and they don’t clarify something as simply was the timeline as when the president was diagnosed with COVID-19,” she added. “They’re simple things. If you can’t get the small things right it’s going to raise questions for so many people about the big things and if they can trust what the White House is saying. Yesterday we wanted to hear from the doctor because we had only heard from political aides. Today we hear from doctor and we can’t get straightforward assessments or we get statements that have to be clarified hours later in a statement.”
An emergency physician, expert with experience with COVID-19, sketched out what lies ahead for the president of the United States.
“It is absolutely possible that he’s already in that seven- to 10-day range. We know now that the rapid test that he was being administered is one that is not recommended for testing of asymptomatic people. So it’s possible that he had false negative tests earlier, even as early as Tuesday, the day of the debate, if he even had a test that day,” said Dr Megan Ranney, a physician who works at the Rhode Island Hospital who helped bring to light the deficit of PPE for frontline workers. “It’s also possible, though, that he’s getting a particularly bad case of COVID. Any of us who have been practicing in the emergency department over the last eight months have seen patients who come in and get really sick really quickly. So it’s tough to say from the level of his symptoms how far along he is. What I can say for sure is that at this point knowing that he’s been on oxygen, knowing that his vitals have been unstable, he not only faces an uncertain next week of his health, but also most likely is going to face long-term effects from this virus, even should he survive. He’s already clearly experienced some lung damage and perhaps other problems as well that we don’t yet know about.”
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