By Sean Leonard
President Donald Trump is recovering from Covid-19 following a trip to Walter Reed Medical Center after concerns about his health and contradicting comments from doctors about his condition.
Around 1 a.m. on Oct. 2, President Trump tweeted that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for Covid-19. The president was flown to Walter Reed later that afternoon amid concerns about his breathing and was “‘fatigued but in good spirits,’” said White House physician Dr. Sean Conley, according to NPR.
The White House released a letter later that day saying Trump was given “an eight-gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail,” along with zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and aspirin. According to NPR, Trump had a high fever, and Conley wrote another letter saying Trump started a course of the antiviral drug Remdesivir, as reported by Axios.
In the following days, comments from Conley offered a blurry description of his diagnosis, symptoms and condition.
Trump’s medical staff issued a complicated press briefing on Oct. 3, where Dr. Conley told reporters he was already “‘extremely happy’” with Trump’s progress, according to NPR. However, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told the Associated Press that “‘the president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning.’”
That allegedly means that Trump was diagnosed a full day before attending a Bedminster, N.J., fundraiser that had close to 300 guests, according to NJ.com. White House officials quickly stepped back on those claims following the allegations.
Trump’s medical team again updated the public on Oct. 4 and said Trump was also given the steroid dexamethasone after his blood oxygen level dropped to about 93 percent for the second time, according to The New York Times.
President Trump was discharged from the hospital on Oct. 5, as reported by BBC, and returned to the Oval Office on Oct. 7.
However, uses of certain therapeutics led health experts to believe Trump’s condition was more severe than reported by his staff because the National Institutes of Health only recommends dexamethasone for patients who require a mechanical ventilator or supplemental oxygen to breathe.
Dr. Thomas McGinn, physician-in-chief at Northwell Health, said in an interview with The New York Times that the steroid was the most mystifying drug given to Trump.
“‘Suddenly, they’re throwing the kitchen sink at him,’” Dr. McGinn said to the Times. “‘It raises the question: is he sicker than we’re hearing, or are they being overly aggressive because he is the president, in a way that could be potentially harmful?’”
Regeneron’s monoclonal antibodies, which were given to the president, were given via the FDA’s “expanded access” regulation, commonly called “‘compassionate use,’” granting access to the drug in “life-threatening” situations. The drug is currently seeking Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for future patient use.
In an Oct. 7 video, Trump called his Regeneron treatment a “cure” for his ailments. He also said that approving an EUA for this treatment is more urgent than a vaccine.
Although Trump appears to be in good spirits, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that Trump is not out of the woods yet with his condition.
“When you’re five to eight days in, you can have a reversal,” Fauci said.