Trump COVID-19 updates: Doctors say he could be discharged Monday

Trump medical team says his blood oxygen level dipped twice since Friday, but his condition ‘has continued to improve’.

Dr Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center [Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press]
Dr Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center [Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press]
  • President Donald Trump’s medical team said on Sunday his health “continues to improve”, and that he could be discharged on Monday.
  • Trump had also been given dexamethasone, a steroid, after his blood oxygen level dipped, what one expert called an “extremely worrying sign”.
  • Trump said in a recorded message on Saturday that he was feeling ill when he arrived at the Walter Reed medical centre but now feels better.
  • The president was moved to the military hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, for treatment on Friday after testing positive for COVID-19.
  • Trump’s diagnosis forced him to withdraw at least temporarily from the campaign, raising questions about its potential effects on the November 3 election.

These were the updates:

Sunday, October 4

17:45 ET (21:45 GMT) – Trump leaves hospital to greet supporters

Trump briefly left the hospital in his car to wave to supporters gathered outside.

The president’s visit came shortly after he promised his supporters “a surprise” in a video posted a video on social media.

“It’s been a very interesting journey,” Trump said in the video. “I learned a lot about COVID. I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school. This isn’t the let’s read the books school. And I get it, and I understand it. And it’s a very interesting thing.”

16:30 ET (20:30 GMT) – Trump thanks supporters outside hospital

Trump has thanked supporters who gathered outside of the hospital where he is being treated.

“I really appreciate all of the fans and supporters outside of the hospital,” Trump tweeted Sunday night.

15:30 ET (19:30 GMT) – White House identifies 206 people who attended Trump events in Bedminster, New Jersey

The White House has given New Jersey officials the names of more than 200 people who attended events around President Donald Trump’s fundraising trip to Bedminster on Thursday, hours before he tested positive for COVID-19, New Jersey officials said.

“The White House supplied to NJ officials the names of at least 206 individuals who attended the events,” the New Jersey Department of Health said on Twitter. The department has contacted the people and recommended that they self-monitor for symptoms and quarantine if they were in close contact with the president and his staff.

Officials are also interviewing staff at Trump’s golf resort in Bedminster and making health recommendations, it said.

14:30 ET (18:30 GMT) – White House spokesperson says doctor wanted to ‘project confidence’ in contradicted account

A White House spokesperson said the Dr Sean Conley, Trump’s physician, wanted to “project confidence” when he gave a positive outlook of Trump’s condition, which was minutes later contradicted the by president’s chief of staff.

“When you’re treating a patient, you want to project confidence, you want to lift their spirits and that was the intent,” White House communications director Alyssa Farah told reports on Sunday, when asked about the contradiction.

“But chief of staff [Mark] Meadows came out to give you guys more information just to try to be as transparent as we can,” she said.

Conley had previously said he was “trying to reflect an upbeat attitude of the team and the president about the course his illness has had” when speaking to reporters on Saturday.

13:30 ET (17:30 GMT) – Expert calls use of dexamethasone ‘extremely worrying sign’

Despite the White House medical team’s positive prognosis, Dr Eric Feigl Ding, an epidemiologist and senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, told Al Jazeera that Trump being given dexamethasone is “a extremely worrying sign”.

“The WHO [World Health Organization] says it is only used for critical and severe patients. It actually recommends against [usage in] people who are not serious,” he said. “NIH [National Institutes of Health] also says it only for serious patients who are either on ventilators or supplemental oxygen, which Trump barely qualifies for.”

Feigl Ding added that Trump is on a “really bad trajectory” and that Monday is “a little premature for discharge”.

However, he added: “The White House has a whole surgical unit so being discharged tomorrow [Monday] is pretty meaningless.”

12:30 ET (16:30 GMT) – Trump doctors comment on contradictory assessment on Saturday

Differing assessments of Trump’s health from administration officials on Saturday left it unclear how ill the president had become since he tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday night.

The White House team of doctors said on Saturday morning Trump’s condition was improving and that he was already talking about returning to the White House.

However, within minutes, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows gave reporters a less rosy assessment, saying, “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. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

Conley commented on the contradictory assessments on Sunday.

“I was trying to reflect an upbeat attitude of the team and the president about the course his illness has had,” Conley told reporters on Sunday. “I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction and in doing so, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which isn’t necessarily true.”

12:00 ET (16 GMT) – Trump given steriod dexamethasone

The president’s physician says Trump was treated with a steroid after a drop in oxygen levels on Saturday.

Dr Sean Conley said at a news conference on Sunday that he was given the steroid dexamethasone while he was hospitalised at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Conley said the president’s oxygen level had dropped down to 93 percent on Saturday. He says the president did not feel short of breath.

He says the president’s medical team is hoping Trump will be up and about, out of bed and eating and drinking throughout the day.

Dr Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, arrives to brief reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center [Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press]

11:45 ET (13:45 GMT) – White House doctor says Trump’s health has ‘continued to improve’, could be discharged as soon as Monday

A White House doctor has said Trump’s health has “continued to improve” since being hospitalised.

A doctor said that Trump’s blood oxygen levels dropped twice since Friday, and he was given supplemental oxygen on Friday morning.

The medical team said Trump could be discharged to the White House as soon as Monday.

10:30 ET (14 GMT) – Adviser: Trump feeling ‘very well’, will stay hospitalised

Trump feels very well and wants to get back to work at the White House but will remain hospitalised, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien has said.

“I spoke with the Chief of Staff (Mark Meadows) this morning and the good news is the president feels very well and he actually wants to get back home to the White House and get back to work, but I think he’s going to stay at Walter Reed for at least another period of time,” O’Brien said on the CBS Face the Nation programme.

O’Brien, who himself had coronavirus over the summer, said the seventh and eighth days “are the critical days so I think the doctors want to make sure that they’re there for the president.”

Asked if there had been discussions on transfer of power should Trump become incapacitated, O’Brien said, “No, that’s not something that’s on the table at this point.” He said he would not address hypotheticals but, “We have plans for everything.”

US President Donald Trump waves as he walks out to the Marine One helicopter to fly to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after testing positive for the coronavirus [Leah Millis/Reuters]

07:30 ET (11:30 GMT) – Biden leads by 10 points as majority of Americans say Trump could have avoided coronavirus

Democrat Joe Biden opened his widest lead in a month in the US presidential race after President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, and a majority of Americans think Trump could have avoided infection if he had taken the virus more seriously, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The October 2-3 national opinion poll gave little indication of an outpouring of support for the president beyond Trump’s core group of followers, some of whom have gathered outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where the president has been hospitalised.

Among those adults who are expected to cast ballots in the November 3 election, the poll found that 51 percent were backing Biden, while 41 percent said they were voting for Trump. Another 4 percent were choosing a third-party candidate and another 4 percent said they were undecided.

02:15 ET (06:15 GMT) – Pompeo shortens upcoming Asia trip amid Trump hospitalisation

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will depart for Japan on Sunday but will not go to Mongolia and South Korea as originally planned, the State Department said, after President Donald Trump was hospitalised due to the coronavirus.

“Secretary Pompeo expects to be traveling to Asia again in October and will work to reschedule visits on that trip, that is now just a few weeks off,” the Department said in a statement.

Initially, Pompeo planned to visit all three countries between October 4 to October 8.

Trump walks off Marine One after landing at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday [Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA]

23:00 ET (03:00 GMT) – Trump personal assistant reportedly infected

One of President Donald Trump’s personal assistants has reportedly contracted the coronavirus.

Nick Luna reportedly worked closely with the president, according to Bloomberg reporter, Jennifer Jacobs.

20:10 ET (02:10 GMT) – Medical team ‘cautiously optimistic’ but Trump not ‘out of the woods’ yet

President Donald Trump’s main doctor says in a health update that the medical team treating the president is “cautiously optimistic,” but also notes that the president is “not yet out of the woods.”

The latest assessment came on Saturday night from Navy Commander Dr Sean Conley. He reported that Trump had been up and around at his medical suite during the day and had been conducting business.

Medical experts say the disease caused by the virus, COVID-19, can become more dangerous as the body responds to the infection over time.

021:45 ET (00:45 GMT Sunday) – Biden vows to release all COVID tests

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign has vowed to release all future COVID-19 tests the candidate takes. Before Trump’s diagnosis earlier this week, Biden had not disclosed full details of his testing protocol or the results of each test.

He told reporters on Saturday in Wilmington that he had not been tested that day but would be tested on Sunday morning. His campaign said he tested negative for COVID twice on Friday.

Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said Biden was not in “close contact” with Trump, his family members or his aides during their debate on Tuesday night. Several people in Trump’s campaign have tested positive in recent days.

07:20 PM ET (23:20 GMT Saturday) – Trump releases video message

US President Donald Trump, who is being treated for COVID-19 in a military hospital outside Washington, said in a video on Saturday that he was feeling ill when he arrived at the facility but now was “starting to feel good”. The address came hours after conflicting assessments of his health from administration officials left it unclear how ill the president had become since he tested positive for coronavirus.

A White House team of doctors said on Saturday morning that Trump’s condition was improving and that he was already talking about returning to the White House.

But within minutes, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows gave reporters a less rosy assessment, telling reporters, “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. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

To read the previous updates from Saturday, click here.

Source : Al Jazeera and News agencies

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