How Sick is Trump?
The White House staff and Trump’s doctors are giving conflicting statements about the timeline of his infection and the severity of his symptoms
Early Friday morning Trump announced that he and the First Lady had both been diagnosed with COVID-19, a not unexpected development considering their refusal to wear masks or to social distance. Since that tweet, little or no information has been released to the public and what little has been released has been contradictory depending on the source.
Friday afternoon Trump was rushed to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center “out of an abundance of caution” according to his physician, Dr. Sean Conley. Trump was seen wearing a mask and walking out of the White House and boarding his helicopter with no assistance. At the helipad, he disembarked and got into an SUV under his own power and was driven to the entrance of the hospital.
Before leaving the White House, Trump recorded a video saying that he was fine and would continue to work from the hospital. Many people commented on how pale he looked, but that was due to the lack of his usual spray tan. What we were seeing is Trump’s natural skin color without the usual orange overlay.
That is where it started to get hinky.
Dr. Conley held a press conference giving a positive, upbeat report on Trump’s condition claiming that initially he had presented with a fever, cough and fatigue but that those symptoms had resolved and Trump was resting comfortably. He pointedly refused to say if Trump had at any point been given supplemental oxygen or how high his fever was.
After that press conference, Mark Meadows, Trump’s Chief of Staff, gave an off the record briefing claiming that Trump’s condition was much more dire than Conley had described.
“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.”
Other White House sources confirmed that Trump’s blood oxygen levels had dropped dangerously low and that he had been given oxygen at the White House. Once his oxygen levels returned to normal, the decision to move him to Walter Reed was made in case he took a turn for the worse.
Conley also said that it had been 72 hours since Trump was diagnosed which means that he was diagnosed on Wednesday, not Friday morning. Trump had kept to his campaign schedule on both Wednesday and Thursday, attending a rally and a fundraiser in Minnesota on Wednesday and a fundraiser at his golf club in New Jersey on Thursday. Attendees at both fundraisers remarked that Trump had been lethargic, possibly showing symptoms and supporting the 72 hour timeline.
Of course, Conley retracted that timeline later, as so many other statements that disagree with Trump’s view of the world have been retracted.
On Sunday, Conley announced that Trump was on steroids and doing much better. He also admitted that Trump had had two “episodes” of low oxygen and fever on Friday and Saturday.
The corticosteroid prescribed, Dexamethasone, is one commonly given to older patients to prevent or treat cytokine storm where the immune system overreacts in its fight against the virus and ends up damaging the lungs or other organs. Scans done on Saturday showed damage to Trump’s lungs.
And yet, the doctor said that Trump could possibly go back to the White House on Monday. This is very surprising. It is well known that COVID patients often appear to be recovering after the initial diagnosis and then crash 7–10 days later. Depending on the timeline, 7–10 days starts either Tuesday or Wednesday. It makes no sense to release Trump now because he appears to be recovering.
I’m not a medical doctor so I cannot judge how well Trump is doing by either his symptoms or his course of treatment. What I can judge by is his use of Twitter. And his absence from Twitter is truly frightening.
When has Trump ever missed an opportunity to rage tweet about current events? He was almost completely absent from Twitter until Sunday when the doctor reported that he was feeling better after being given steroids. And then it was only to thank his supporters who had been holding vigil outside the hospital.
Based on his past behavior, you would have expected him to be tweeting all weekend about the confirmation of his Supreme Court nominee, the negotiations over the relief bill in Congress, the Fake Media reporting that he was showing symptoms on Wednesday and Thursday, that Biden was back in his basement, all his usual targets. And yet, not a single tweet.
And why has he not been making his usual phone calls to friends and his buddies at Fox?
He did release a video that had obviously been edited, probably to hide coughs or faltering on his part. A couple of photos, were also released supposedly showing him signing documents that a few eagle-eyed observers claim were actually blank pieces of paper.
But other than that, silence. Which from Trump is frightening. I think that he is much sicker than anyone is letting on. No one wants to admit how sick he is because that would make him appear weak against the virus (appearing weak is something Trump avoids at all costs) as well as showing that he was wrong about the virus causing only mild illness.
If you want to know how Trump is really doing, keep an eye on his Twitter feed. As with everything else about Trump, it’s what he does (or in this case, doesn’t do) that is important, not what he or his doctors say.