Trump says he’s improving, but next 48 hours ‘critical’


BETHESDA, Md. (AP) – President Donald Trump went through a “very concerning” period on Friday and faces “criticism” the next two days in his fight against COVID-19 at a military hospital, his chief of staff – in contrast to a rosier assessment moments earlier by Trump’s medics, who were careful not to reveal that the president received supplemental oxygen at the White House prior to his admission to the hospital.

Trump offered his own assessment on Saturday night in a video from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, saying he was starting to feel better and hoped “to be back soon.”

Hours earlier, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had told reporters outside the hospital: “We are still not on the road to full recovery.” In an update on the president on Saturday night, his chief medical officer expressed cautious optimism but added that the president was “not out of the woods yet”.

The shifting, and at times conflicting, accounts created a credibility crisis for the White House at a pivotal time, with the president’s health and the nation’s leadership at stake. While Trump is expected to remain hospitalized for several more days and the he presidential election is approaching, his condition is being watched with anxiety by the Americans.

In addition, the health of the president is a national security issue of paramount importance not only to the functions of the American government, but to countries around the world, friends and others.

Saturday’s briefing by the Commander of the Navy Dr Sean Conley and other medics raised more questions than it answered. Conley has repeatedly declined to say whether the president ever needed extra oxygen, despite repeated questioning, and declined to share key details, including the level of fever Trump had before she was born. returns to a normal range. Conley also revealed that Trump started presenting “clinical indications” of COVID-19 Thursday afternoon, earlier than expected.

Conley spent much of the briefing dodging questions from reporters, as he was in a hurry for details.

“Thursday no oxygen. None at the moment. And yesterday with the team, when we were all here, he was not on oxygen, ”Conley said.

But according to someone familiar with Trump’s condition, Trump received oxygen at the White House on Friday morning, long before he was flown to the military hospital by helicopter that evening. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and only spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity,

Conley said Trump’s symptoms, including a mild cough, nasal congestion and fatigue, “are subsiding and improving now,” and said the president had no fever for 24 hours. But Trump also takes aspirin, which lowers body temperature and may mask or lessen this symptom.

“He’s in an exceptionally good mood,” said fellow doctor Sean Dooley, who said Trump’s heart, kidney and liver functions were normal and he had no difficulty breathing or moving around.

In an evening health update, Conley said Trump got up and moved to his doctor’s office without difficulty and was in business. “Although not yet out of the woods, the team remains cautiously optimistic,” he said.

In the hospital video, Trump defended his decision to continue campaigning and hosting big events amid a pandemic.

“I had no choice,” said Trump, who refused to comply with basic public health recommendations, including wearing a mask. “I had to be in front… I can’t be locked in an upstairs room and totally safe… As a leader you have to face problems. ”

Trump also thanked his medical team and praised the cutting edge treatments he was receiving, comparing them to “miracles from God.” Trump’s medical care is far superior to that of the average American, with ongoing attention and experimental treatments.

The president was angry with Meadows’ public assessment of his health and, in an effort to prove his vitality, Trump ordered the video and allowed longtime confidant Rudy Giuliani to issue a statement on his behalf that he felt good, according to a Republican. close to the White House not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations.

Trump is 74 years old and clinically obese, putting him at a higher risk of serious complications from a virus that has infected more than 7 million people nationwide and killed more than 200,000 people in the United States.

First Lady Melania Trump has stayed in the White House to recover from her own battle with the virus. She “was handling it really, really well,” Trump said in the video, noting with a touch of humor that she was “just a little bit younger” – in fact, 24 years younger.

Meadows himself had insisted on Friday morning that Trump had only “mild symptoms” as the White House tried to project an image of normalcy. It was not known if Trump had ever received oxygen when Meadows spoke.

“President Trump remains in a good mood, has mild symptoms and has worked all day,” Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said late in the day on Friday. She said Trump was only sent to Walter Reed as a precaution.

Trump’s administration has been less than transparent with the public throughout the pandemic, both about the president’s health and the spread of the virus inside the White House. The first word that a close Trump aide was infected came from the media, not the White House. And assistants have repeatedly refused to share basic health information, including a full account of the president’s symptoms, tests he performed, and results.

In a note released Friday evening, Conley reported that Trump was treated in hospital with remdesivir, an antiviral drug, after sharing that he took another investigational drug in the White House.


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