Doctors, White House send mixed signals on Trump’s condition

Washington, Oct 3 (efe-epa).- Donald Trump’s doctor said Saturday that the coronavirus-stricken US president was doing “very well,” but a source speaking on condition of anonymity used the phrase “very concerning” in regard to the 74-year-old head of state’s vital signs.

“At this time, the team and I are extremely happy with the progress the president has made,” physician and US Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley said at a press conference outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“The president has been fever-free for over 24 hours,” Conley said. “He is not requiring any supplemental oxygen, but in consultation with specialists we have elected to initiate remdesivir therapy.”

Created more than a decade ago by drug-maker Gilead Sciences, remdesivir has been shown in a clinical trial to shorten recovery time for some people with Covid-19, which is blamed for more than 208,000 deaths in the United States.

Conley said Friday in his first public statement about the president’s condition that Trump received a dose of a polyclonal antibody cocktail developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals that is currently classified as an experimental treatment for Covid-19.

The president was taken to Walter Reed as night fell on Friday, roughly 17 hours after he disclosed via Twitter that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for coronavirus.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the president will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said when she announced Trump’s hospitalization.

The president had a blood oxygen level of 96 percent – within the normal range – on Saturday, Conley said, though he was not forthcoming on whether Trump had been given extra oxygen at any point since he began showing symptoms.

He also declined to disclose how high a temperature Trump had when he was experiencing a fever.

“I’d rather not give any specific numbers but he, but he did have a fever, Thursday into Friday, and since Friday morning, he’s had none,” Conley said.

One of Conley’s colleagues on the medical team, Dr. Sean Dooley, described the president as being “in exceptionally good spirits” and added that Trump told him “I feel like I could walk out of here today.”

And the president, who is seeking a second four-year term in the Nov. 3 election, went on Twitter Saturday to express appreciation for the staff at Walter Reed.

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

But after the upbeat presentation from the medical team, an official offered the reporters who had attended the news conference a more somber appraisal.

“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,” the source said.

Trump is in a high-risk category for coronavirus, which tends to have a bigger impact on males than females and to affect older people more than the young.

He has not transferred power to Vice President Mike Pence, who has twice tested negative for Covid-19 following the president’s positive test.

The White House acknowledged that Trump went forward with a fund-raising event Thursday at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, after learning that one of his closest aides, Hope Hicks, had tested positive for coronavirus.

As of Saturday, at least nine other people who were in proximity to Trump in the last eight days have been found to be infected, including the head of the president’s re-election campaign, Bill Stepien.

Also testing positive were former White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, University of Notre Dame President the Rev. John Jenkins, and Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Thom Tillis. All four were present at the Executive Mansion last Saturday when Trump presented Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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