Trump compares COVID to the flu and urges Americans to ‘learn to live with it’ instead of closing down the country – as critics accuse him of ‘downplaying’ the virus
- President Donald Trump appeared to confuse the flu and the coronavirus
- In a tweet the morning after his return from the hospital, Trump seemed to confuse the two illness, saying flu was deadlier than COVID
- More than 210,00 Americans have died of COVID – a much higher rate than flu
- ‘Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country?,’ he tweeted
- Trump arrived back at the White House on Monday night, taking off his face mask to enter the building
- With Marine One as a backdrop, the pilots having risked their lives to transport him, he filmed a campaign ad
- The clip was released on Twitter shortly after he returned home, and Trump said: ‘Maybe I am immune?’
- Doctors said Trump appeared to be having difficulty breathing despite his claims that he was feeling ‘great’
- Joe Biden said Trump was ‘responsible’ for his infection and blasted the ‘macho’ attitude that avoids masks
- Trump treatment will continue at the White House with doctors on Monday saying he was ‘not out of the woods
President Donald Trump appeared to confuse the flu and the coronavirus on Tuesday, while recovering from his bout with the deadly virus in the White House.
He urged Americans to get their flu shots this year due to what he called its high death rate – although the COVID fatality rate is much higher – and told people to learn to ‘live with it.’
He asked if the country should be closed from the flu. The president was one of the first to urge the country to reopen after it shuttered during the pandemic, which caused businesses to close, the markets to drop and the economy to tank.
‘Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!,’ he wrote on Twitter.
More than 210,000 Americans have died of COVID this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there have been between 12,000 to 61,000 flu deaths each year since 2010.
Trump made a dramatic return to the White House on Monday night after four days in Walter Reed Medical Center battling COVID, exiting Marine One to walk up the steps of the South Portico where he removed his face mask.
But the president’s breathing appeared to be labored after the climb of a couple of dozen stairs, when he stood at the top to wave at the cameras. He seemed to grimace as he struggled to breath, with one doctor saying he was ‘clearly in some distress with his breathing’.
Dr. Sean Conley, Trump’s personal physician, said Monday the president was not ‘out of the woods’ but would get the care he needed at the White House.
But conflicting information about the president’s health along with his hospital departure have led to many questions including: the level of severity of his infection, the exact course of treatment he’s getting and how the several hundred resident and White House staff will be protected from being infected by him.
Trump is on a heavy cocktail mix of drugs as part of his treatment plan, including the steroid dexamethasone, which is typically not used unless someone needs a ventilator or supplemental oxygen.
He’s also scheduled to receive his last dose of remdesivir, a five-day course of antiviral medication that is believed to help in recovery, on Tuesday at the White House.
And he got an 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s experimental antibody therapy on Friday before he entered the hospital.
Neither the Regeneron drug nor remdesivir have been approved by the FDA to treat COVID but are allowed on with a ‘compassionate’ request.
The president is in the high risk category due to his age, 74, his being male and the fact he is overweight.
But the heavy dose of drugs has led to questions about how bad Trump’s case of COVID really is although the aggressive treatment could be due to the fact he is the president.
President Donald Trump appeared to confuse the flu and COVID after his dramatic return to the White House on Monday night
Meanwhile, Joe Biden led a chorus of condemnation last night after Trump told Americans not to be ‘afraid’ of COVID, which has killed 200,000 people, and whipped off his face mask for a photo-op.
Trump declared he felt ‘great’, told people not to let the virus ‘dominate your lives’ and claimed he could even be immune from COVID-19 in a video filmed at the White House after his theatrical return from Walter Reed.
The president’s dismissive message – ‘don’t be afraid of COVID, don’t let it dominate your life’ – immediately met with anger from critics who said it was putting Americans at risk.
Biden, 77, said on Monday night that the president was ‘responsible’ for his COVID-19 infection and blasted the president’s ‘macho’ attitude of avoiding mask-wearing.
‘Anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying, masks don’t matter, social distancing doesn’t matter, I think is responsible for what happens to them,’ Biden said after Trump posed without a face covering.
‘What is this macho thing, ‘I’m not going to wear a mask?’ What’s the deal here? Big deal, does it hurt you? Be patriotic for god’s sake! Take care of yourself, but take care of your neighbors,’ the Democratic nominee said.
President Donald Trump walked up the steps of the White House then paused to take his face mask off before entering
Donald Trump, whose infection with COVID-19 was confirmed at 1am on Friday, removed his face mask on Monday night after he returned from the White House from four nights in Walter Reed Medical Center
Some medics who watched Trump’s return thought he appeared to be short of breath after his coronavirus infection
Donald Trump took off his face mask to stand on the balcony, without a mask, with staff members near by
The president gave his trademark pose of two thumbs up as he returned home after his hospital treatment
Trump salutes to Marine One as he stands on the White House balcony without a mask in a theatrical return from the hospital
Donald Trump arrived back at the White House on Monday evening, taking his face mask off despite being infectious
Biden also said he ‘wasn’t surprised’ when Trump tested positive for the virus, amid a White House outbreak which has infected more than a dozen of the president’s associates including senior adviser Hope Hicks and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
‘For the last three months, three times a week, I’m on the telephone and on Zoom with some of the leading immunologists in the nation, and they go through everything that’s happening,’ Biden said at a town hall in Miami.
In full: Trump’s message on his return to the White House
‘I just left Walter Reed Medical Center, and it’s really something very special, the doctors, the nurses, the first responders, and I learned so much about coronavirus.
‘And one thing that’s for certain: Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it. We have the best medical equipment, we have the best medicines, all developed recently, and you’re going to beat it.
‘I went, I didn’t feel so good, and two days ago – I could have left two days ago – two days ago, I felt great, better than I have in a long time. I said just recently, better than 20 years ago.
‘Don’t let it dominate, don’t let it take over your lives. Don’t let that happen. We have the greatest country in the world. We’re going back, we’re going back to work, we’re going to be out front.
Donald Trump arrived back at the White House on Monday night and immediately filmed a campaign video
‘As your leader I had to do that. I knew there’s danger to it but I had to do it. I stood out front, I led. Nobody that’s a leader would not do what I did.
‘I know there’s a risk, there’s a danger but that’s okay. And now I’m better and maybe I’m immune, I don’t know.
‘But don’t let it dominate your lives. Get out there, be careful, we have the best medicines in the world and it all happened very shortly, and they’re all getting approved, and the vaccines are coming momentarily.
‘Thank you very much – and Walter Reed, what a group of people. Thank you very much.’
‘And so the idea that COVID does not spread in proximity when you don’t have a mask on, when you’re not socially distancing, when there’s large groups of people, when you’re inside in particular and even when you’re outside, that’s not surprising.’
Biden said during the NBC town hall on Monday night that he was glad Trump seemed to be recovering well, ‘but there’s a lot to be concerned about – 210,000 people have died. I hope no one walks away with the message that it’s not a problem.’
Bernie Sanders, Biden’s defeated rival in the Democratic primary, said that Trump’s urging of Americans not to ‘be afraid’ of the virus was ‘absurd’.
‘Where millions of people have lost their jobs, where people are facing hunger and eviction, to say don’t be afraid of the COVID-19 (disease) is an absurd statement,’ he told the Detroit Free Press.
‘Of course, we should be afraid of it. It has wreaked havoc on our economy and on all of our lives.
‘I would suggest to you that one of the key issues in this campaign is which candidate will be better able to turn this virus around, to get a handle on it and to regrow the economy once we do that. And I think the answer is, obviously, Joe Biden.’
Former Obama aide David Axelrod branded Trump a ‘super spreader of dangerous untruths’, adding: ‘Do not follow his advice. Yes, BE afraid of COVID, and act accordingly: masks; social distancing; frequent hand-washing.’
Dr Susan Bailey, the president of the American Medical Association, warned last night that ‘the only thing we have to fear is complacency’.
‘More than 200,000 of our loved ones have died because of COVID-19, and it has caused suffering and illness to countless more – sometimes with long-term health consequences,’ she said.
‘We know vigilance is the best response to the COVID-19 pandemic because this virus doesn’t feed on fear; it feeds on complacency.’
Liza Billings, a New York City nurse whose brother died because of COVID-19, told ABC News that Trump’s message was ‘a slap in the face’ to bereaved families.
‘It’s a callous and dangerous remark that will do nothing to stop this horrifying pandemic, and may even make it worse,’ she said.
Another bereaved citizen, Kristin Urquiza, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention about her father’s death from COVID-19, retorted to Trump that ‘at this point the only thing we should be afraid of is you’.
There was also criticism from Hollywood, with Captain America star Chris Evans describing Trump’s remark as ‘reckless to a shocking degree, even for you’.
‘Don’t be afraid of Covid?! You’ve been under round-the-clock care by the best doctors using the best drugs,’ Evans said.
‘Do you really think everyone has access to that?! Sadly, I’m sure you’re aware of that disparity, you just don’t care.’
The president on Monday night returned to the White House, where Melania Trump is fighting COVID-19
The White House was lit up for the return of the president, after three nights in the Walter Reed military hospital
A cleaning worker wearing protective gear including a mask and white suit sprays a press area of the White House on Monday
Trump, upon his return to the White House on Monday evening, started filming a video on the balcony of the South Portico.
He returned to an executive mansion where multiple aides and household staff also have the virus, and from where he promises he will soon leave to hit the campaign trail.
Removing his mask capped a jarring three days of drama, which saw him medevaced to Walter Reed on Marine One on Friday, revealed to have been on oxygen repeatedly, and treated with drugs not available to ordinary Americans.
‘I’m feeling great’ says infected Kayleigh McEnany
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has spoken out for the first time since testing positive for COVID-19 and praised President Donald Trump for showing Americans that the US will overcome the coronavirus.
During an interview on Fox News’ Hannity, McEnany, who announced her positive test results on Monday, said that she’s ‘feeling great’ and ‘having no symptoms’ of the virus.
‘You know I’m very blessed to have a mild case or really just an asymptomatic case. You know my heart goes out to all those who have been really affected by this and all those who have lost their lives,’ McEnany said.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has spoken out for the first time since testing positive for COVID-19
She then said she was ‘pleased to see that our commander-in-chief is doing well’.
‘Watching him on that balcony just showing that we will overcome, America will overcome, just as he is overcoming this illness was a really nice moment for our country to see,’ she told Sean Hannity.
Her remarks come just a day after she briefed the press without wearing a face mask on Sunday even though one of her deputies had tested positive for the virus a few days earlier.
Trump also declared that he was ‘better’ and could even be immune from Covid-19, despite his physician’s warning that the president ‘may not entirely be out of the woods yet’.
As Trump entered the White House, two staffers were visible behind him: official photographer Andrea Hanks photographed his arrival back to the executive mansion with a videographer standing by for a campaign video.
Having gone inside, Trump went back out to the balcony almost immediately, apparently to reshoot the video – extending the exposure of his aides to the virus.
Less than half an hour later the video emerged: a slow-motion, cinematic production showing an apparently vital commander-in-chief’s return, with only the site of Marines in masks giving away the fact that Trump was so ill that he was given oxygen and steroids normally reserved for people on ventilators.
Trump stood to face the camera, filming his message with Marine One behind him.
Even as he stood on the balcony, Trump appeared to be wincing in pain as he breathed, with medics who saw the video saying the president appeared to be ‘short of breath’.
British general practitioner Dr Zoe Norris told BBC Breakfast that Trump ‘doesn’t look well’.
‘If you look at the video from the balcony of the White House, he is clearly in some distress with his breathing. That is not a man who is better,’ she said.
Another medical worker said: ‘As an ICU nurse, what do I see? I see a man using his accessory muscles to take a deep breath.
‘His sternocleidomastoid neck muscles stretching, his intercostal chest and shoulder muscles in use. Grimacing every two seconds. He still has labored breathing.’
Also waiting his arrival Monday night was White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, 71, who stood at the entrance.
Navarro is himself at elevated risk thanks to his age but he has been an advocate of hydroxychloroquine in the past.
As Trump returned, a cleaning crew outfitted in hazmat suits sanitized the West Wing including the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.
The briefing room was used Thursday by Kayleigh McEnany, who is among the latest Trump aides to contract COVID-19 after attending the September 26 Rose Garden event which has been linked to the spread of the virus. She also traveled on Air Force One twice last week with Trump and Hicks.
At least 15 people have tested positive since attending the Saturday Rose Garden event, where Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, and guests mingled in close proximity without wearing masks.
Nonetheless, a a White House official told the New York Times that tracing efforts would go no further than notifying people who had been in close contact with Trump in the 48 hours before he tested positive – not including the garden event.
Trump’s return was on the day that the CDC officially warned that the coronavirus is spread through the air.
The president claimed in his video message that a vaccine was coming ‘momentarily’, after the White House blocked FDA guidelines that would have made approval before the election nearly impossible.
The FDA’s planned instruction said that patients enrolled in trials had to be monitored for at least two months before emergency approval could be granted.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn has been attempting to shore up public confidence in the FDA’s vaccine review for weeks, vowing that career scientists, not politicians, will decide if the shots are safe and effective.
But a senior administration official confirmed the White House veto on Monday evening, saying the White House believed there was ‘no clinical or medical reason’ for the additional requirement.
Trump has repeatedly insisted that a vaccine could be authorized before Election Day, even though top government scientists working on the administration’s vaccine effort have stated that that timeline is very unlikely.
The White House was readied for Trump’s return by workers in protective suits, spraying disinfectant
A member of the White House cleaning staff sanitizes the press area of the building after reporters also fell ill from COVID
Former Vice President Joe Biden blasted the ‘macho’ refusal to wear masks just minutes after President Trump staged a photo-op and returned to the White House from the hospital and then removed his own mask.
Trump returns to a White House which has been devastated by the virus since he left. Inside the residence is the sick First Lady; upstairs in the housekeeping department two staff have tested positive.
In the West Wing, in addition to McEnany, two of her aides have tested positive – after she tested negative for days and spent the time briefing reporters without a mask – along with others members of his inner circle.
His bodyman Nick Luna, one of the few staff who moves between the East and West Wings is positive; his attorney general Bill Barr, 70, is self-isolating after going to the Barrett nomination.
Hollywood stars slam Trump for downplaying Covid-19
Hollywood stars have slammed President Donald Trump for taking his mask off on the White House balcony and for saying ‘don’t be afraid of Covid-19’ after his release from the Walter Reed Medical Center.
Several high-profile actors and directors expressed their frustration over his comments and the staged performance of his return.
‘Don’t be afraid of Covid?! You’ve been under round-the-clock care by the best doctors using the best drugs,’ wrote Captain America star Chris Evans.
‘Do you really think everyone has access to that?! Sadly, I’m sure you’re aware of that disparity, you just don’t care This is reckless to a shocking degree, even for you.’
This is Us star Mandy Moore called the president the ‘cruelest’ in her rebuke, calling on her followers to vote him out in the upcoming elections.
‘Don’t be afraid of covid? Tell that to the 210,000 families who have lost loved ones. To the Black, Brown and Indigenous folks disproportionately affected,’ she wrote.
‘With tens of millions of jobs lost and the economy tanked. Many of us isolated for months. You’re the cruelest. #votehimout.’
Patti LuPone took a swipe at the president’s staged return to the White House, comparing it to her Don’t Cry for me Argentina scene on the balcony of the Argentine presidential palace in the Broadway musical Evita.
‘I still have the lung power and wore less makeup’, LuPone wrote. ‘The revival is closing November 3rd.’
‘Hundreds of thousands of Americans have been killed by covid. Hundreds of thousands of families are now in deep grief,’ wrote Mia Farrow.
‘Covid effects are likely to last for a long time- maybe for the rest of your life. Be very afraid of this disease.’
”Don’t be afraid of Covid’ America!’, wrote Frozen actor Josh Gad.
‘With a helicopter at your disposal and access to treatments only a President can get, you too will get [through] this just fine in time to get back to your state of the art in-house medical facility with 24 hour care and the best doctors around!’
Chris Christie, who was also at that super spreader event and prepared Trump for his debate, is in the hospital after testing positive. Three Republican senators, two clerics – a Catholic priest and an evangelical pastor – and his former aide Kellyanne Conway are all positive after the same event.
Outside his polls have plunged again, his rival Biden hit the campaign trail and then national television with a town hall with NBC’s Lester Holt from Florida, where Republicans are fighting a rearguard action against a tide of Democratic cash.
Before he left Walter Reed Trump tweeted ‘do not let it dominate your life’ after receiving the combination of experimental treatments. The U.S. death toll stood at 210,013 and earlier in the day Dr Anthony Fauci warned that the country was ‘not in a good place.’
On Monday evening his campaign released a parody video of the president dodging what appeared to be the coronavirus before scoring a touchdown.
In the clip, which is a parody of a San Francisco 49ers game highlight, shows Trump’s face on the body of rookie wide receiver, Brandon Aiyuk.
The video shows Trump hurdling a defender that appeared to be the coronavirus.
Trump is then seen making a touchdown before being tackled by another player.
The real moment occurred during an NFL game between the 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night.
The Eagles – the virus – won 25-20.
Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that Americans should not ‘trivialize COVID-19’ after Trump left hospital just days after testing positive for the virus.
‘I think anybody who is looking at this realistically has to say this is a very serious situation. Even though it’s confused by the fact that such a substantial portion of people generally do quite well. But it is a very serious disease that we need to reckon with,’ he said on Monday, speaking at The New Yorker festival.
Fauci was asked about Trump’s messaging and how it should be perceived.
‘Obviously, the message should be that we should try as best as we can to avoid infection. No matter who you are, how old you are, or what your underlying condition is, we should not trivialize it,’ Fauci said.
Trump has also faced criticism from Republican senator John Cornyn of Texas, who told the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board that Trump ‘let his guard down’ on the coronavirus and is responsible for ‘confusion’.
In the interview, which was published about an hour before Trump’s release, the senator called the president ‘his own worst enemy.’
‘I think he let his guard down, and I think in his desire to try to demonstrate that we are somehow coming out of this and that the danger is not still with us – I think he got over his skis and frankly, I think it’s a lesson to all of us that we need to exercise self-discipline,’ Cornyn told the paper.
Meanwhile, New Jersey’s Democratic governor Phil Murphy blasted Trump for ‘putting lives at risk’ during a fundraiser at his Bedminster golf club on Thursday.
Confusion reigned over the weekend after Trump’s doctors suggested he had been receiving treatment for coronavirus before he attended the fundraiser.
‘The actions leading up to and following this event have put lives at risk,’ Murphy said at an afternoon news conference on Monday. ‘This is very much a race against the clock.’
Vice President Mike Pence, who has tested negative, returned to the campaign trail moments after Trump announced on Monday night that he was about to leave the hospital.
The vice president boarded Air Force Two to fly to Salt Lake City, where he is to face off against Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris on Wednesday.
Pence and Harris will be separated by a plexiglass barrier during their clash on Wednesday in an effort to lower the risk of virus transmission, the commission overseeing the event said.
After the debate, Pence will hold a campaign rally in Arizona on Thursday.
Joe Biden posted a side-by-side video of Trump taking his mask off and Biden putting one on
Marine One landed back at the White House on Monday evening as the sun was setting
Admirers of the president waved and cheered as Marine One took off for the short trip back to the White House
Meanwhile, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo blasted Trump for his stage-managed return to the White House, calling it a ‘bunch of bull****’.
‘He didn’t just walk in the White House one time with no mask tonight. He had his video crew capture that stupid scene again so he could put out propaganda,’ Cuomo said.
But on social media, a number of people pointed out that Cuomo had shared a comparable video that was accused of being ‘staged’ in April.
Cuomo, who contracted COVID-19 in March, filmed a video of himself reuniting with his wife and three children after ‘several weeks locked in his basement.’
‘All right,’ he said. ‘Here it is. The official re-entry. From the basement. Cleared by CDC, a little sweaty, just worked out. It happens. This is what I have been dreaming of. Literally for weeks.’
Trump had walked out of the hospital at 6:40pm.
Before he departed, aides set up lights outside the hospital doors to set the scene for the president’s big moment, giving Trump the dramatic, ‘made-for-TV’ moments he loves.
Trump turned his exit from the hospital into a show of strength, walking out the door and pumping his fist and giving a thumbs up sign as he walked to an SUV saying: ‘Thank you everybody.’
But he was asked by a waiting reporter: ‘How many of your staff are sick? Are you a super spreader?’
He wore a surgical mask.
He was followed by Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, Dan Scavino, his director of social media, and Dr Sean Conley, his osteopath White House physician.
All three of the aides were wearing face shields and what appeared to be N-95 masks. They were followed by Secret Service agents, also in more PPE than Trump.
Marine One lifted off at 6:45pm, and landed at 6:55pm on the South Lawn of the White House. Marine One’s crew will have to isolate for 14 days, and the helicopter will have to be deep cleaned.
On arrival at the White House, Trump’s walk up the stairs was no doubt a show of fitness.
But his flagrant disregard of medical guidelines with his removal of his face mask will add to the criticism he’s faced about how he’s managed his diagnosis.
Trump, 74, was admitted to Walter Reed on Friday amid reports he had trouble breathing and had a fever.
He has received care from the best doctors in the country, and has been driven around in an SUV to wave at fans who lined up outside to greet him – a move that outraged critics who said he put Secret Service agents’ lives at risk for a political stunt.
‘Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!!’ he tweeted on Monday evening, shortly before departing. ‘The Fake News only shows the Fake Polls.’
Crowds of supporters held a vigil outside the hospital, and were rewarded with the drive-by.
People wore ‘Make America Great Again’ paraphernalia, waved campaign signs and hoisted Americans flags. One woman waved a ‘we [heart] u Mr. Trump sign’ while another man waved a ‘We [heart] Trump’ sign.
Donald Trump raised his fist in triumph as he left the Walter Reed hospital on Monday night
The president, dressed in a navy suit and tie and wearing a face mask, strode out of the hospital on Monday evening
Donald Trump gave the thumbs up as he left the Walter Reed medical center at 6:40pm on Monday
Donald Trump left the hospital on Monday evening to shouted questions as to whether he was a super spreader
The 74-year-old president walked out the golden doors and down the steps at 6:40pm on Monday
Donald Trump tweeted, shortly before leaving the hospital, that he would soon be back on the campaign trail
Supporters of the president gathered outside the Walter Reed hospital on Monday awaiting his release
The president’s fans on Monday were out in force outside Walter Reed, hoping to see the president as he left the hospital
On Monday, just four days after he tested positive with the deadly virus, Trump tweeted: ‘I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid.
‘Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!’
Shortly after his message, doctors appeared outside the hospital to say that while Trump was not ‘out of the woods’, they were satisfied he could go home.
They refused to share details of his health, like when he last tested negative, citing medical privacy laws as reasons not to share information like the results of a lung scan.
The doctors said Trump would receive his fourth remdesivir dose on Monday night before he leaves the hospital, and his fifth on Tuesday.
The president’s kidney and liver function are both good, they said. His temperature on Monday was 98.1F.
In addition, the president takes zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and aspirin, his doctors say.
It is not clear if any of these are deliberately for COVID-19, and whether he was continuing to take them in addition to his other drugs.
Zinc is a mineral that does have a role in the immune system, but there is no evidence that such supplements improve people’s ability to fight the virus.
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin as it is made in the skin in response to sunlight. It also has a role in a healthy immune system, but again there is no evidence that taking supplements helps against Covid 19.
Famotidine decreases stomach acid production and is used for people with stomach ulcers or reflux, and there is some suggestion it may help with COVID treatment.
Melatonin is a hormone the body makes in the evening while people sleep; it is sometimes given as a treatment for insomnia.
Aspirin is a pain killer and blood thinner that is used to reduce the risk of blood clots. His doctors failed to clarify whether he was taking blood thinners; there were some suggestions he was not, because his brother Robert, who died in August, had been taking them and died of a brain bleed.
The doctors defended their treatment of him and of the decision to discharge him, saying he has some of the best care in the world at the White House.
‘Every day a patient stays in the hospital unnecessarily is a risk to themselves. There’s nothing being done here that can’t be done safely at home,’ said Dr Sean Conley, presidential physician.
‘That’s why we all remain cautiously optimistic and on guard.
‘We all remain cautiously optimistic and on guard, because we’re in a bit of uncharted territory when it comes to a patient that received the therapies he has so early in the course.’
The president’s team of doctors speaking outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday
Dr Sean Conley would not give the results of a lung scan, citing patient privacy laws. He called Trump a ‘phenomenal patient’
The White House released a photo of Trump on Sunday night taking part in a phone call from Walter Reed
WHAT ARE THE DRUGS TRUMP IS BEING TREATED WITH AND WHAT ARE THEIR SIDE EFFECTS?
President Trump has been given at least three potent drugs since announcing he tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday night: Regeneron’s cocktail of lab-made antibodies, the antiviral remdesivir, and the steroid dexamethasone.
Two of those medications are still experimental for treating COVID-19, and have given emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
And White House physician Dr Sean Conley admitted on Monday that he would not disclose every single medication that the president is currently receiving (citing HIPAA patient privacy laws, which suggests that Trump himself gave Dr Conley permission to disclose some of his medications, but not all of them).
Remdesivir, dexamethasone and the antibody cocktail are all in ongoing trials – but it’s unclear if anyone besides the US Commander-in-Chief has ever been treated with all three.
Those three drugs are ‘as much as we know [about the president’s treatment regimen] – but I found it all really confusing, based on the reports,’ Dr Mark Poznansky, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital told DailyMail.com.
When asked if there was any precedent for treating a COVID-19 patient with all three drugs, Dr Poznansky replied, ‘no.’
‘But the individual decisions are based on the individual patient, and all bets are off when you’re dealing with the president, the commander-in chief,’ he added.
‘The implication is that the doctors believe that the risk of using these is outweighed by the potential benefit.’
And while we have some clarity on the potential side effects of each of the drugs, how they might interact is a mystery, ‘because they just haven’t been used frequently enough…we don’t know about the combination,’ Dr Poznansky said.
But even on their own, the side effects of these drugs could be particularly concerning for the president, considering that the steroid can cause mood swings, confusion and aggression.
The drugs he was treated with and their potential side effects are:
REGENERON’S EXPERIMENTAL ANTIBODY COCKTAIL DRUG
WHEN HE GOT IT: Trump received a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s cocktail of lab-made antibodies on Friday.
WHAT IT DOES: REGN-COV2 is a combination of two lab-made versions of antibodies that help block the coronavirus from entering cells.
One of the antibodies in the ‘cocktail’ is based on an antibody that mice produce in response to coronavirus, while the other is based on an antibody isolated from the one of the first US COVID-19 patients.
The hope is that the treatment drives down viral load, keeping it from overrunning the body and sending the immune system haywire, and preventing the infection from becoming severe.
WHAT THE DATA SAYS: REGN-COV2 is still in early trial phases, but the first data from its clinical trial found that it dramatically lowered viral load within a week and cut recovery time in half in patients that weren’t sick enough to be hospitalized.
Regeneron has not yet studied the drug in severely ill patients.
THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: The main concern is these types of treatment occasionally trigger ‘antibody-dependent enhancement,’ which means the intended therapeutic actually helps the virus invade cells.
So far, the trials don’t suggest that REGN-COV2 is causing this phenomenon.
Antibody treatments can also cause allergic reactions including anaphylaxis, as well as fever, chills, nausea, diarrhea, weakness, headache and low blood pressure.
REMDESIVIR, GILEAD’S ANTIVIRAL DRUG
WHEN HE GOT IT: President Trump was given his first dose of a five-day treatment course on Friday evening, after he was transferred from the White House to Walter Reed National Medical Center.
He has since received his second and third dose of the drug.
WHAT IT DOES: Remdesivir is an antiviral therapy originally designed to treat Ebola.
Scientists are not entirely sure why, but it helps to prevent coronavirus from making more copies of itself.
WHAT THE DATA SAYS: Late-stage clinical trials of remdesivir found that patients treated with the drug were more likely to recover within 11 days than those who did not get the drug.
Their survival odds were about 40 percent better. In May, the drug became the first to get emergency use authorization from the FDA for treating severely ill patients. That approval has since been expanded to any hospitalized patients.
THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: It can cause nausea, vomiting, chils, sweating or light-headedness. The drug also may harm liver function, meaning that patients have to be closely monitored.
There was some suggestion the Trump’s liver and kidney function were suboptimal last night, but Dr Conley said Monday the president was just ‘dehydrated.’
DEXAMETHASONE, THE $6 STEROID WITH COMMON PSYCHIATRIC SIDE EFFECTS
WHEN HE GOT IT: The president got a dose of dexamethasone on Saturday after he developed a high fever and his blood oxygen levels dropped below 94 percent on two occasions.
WHAT IT DOES: Dexamethasone is a cheap steroid known to tamp down inflammation. It’s already approved for use in other conditions in the US.
WHAT THE DATA SAYS: Although it hasn’t yet been given emergency approval in the US, dexamethasone is the most promising treatment yet for coronavirus.
In a major UK study, the steroid cut the risk of death by 36 percent for patients sick enough to need breathing machines and by 18 percent for patients needing just supplemental oxygen.
However, it seemed harmful at earlier stages or milder cases of illness: 18 percent of those on the drug died versus 14 percent of those given usual care.
For that reason, many doctors were alarmed to see President Trump treated with the drug because using it suggested either that he was very sick, or that doctors were taking a risk in giving it to him early.
THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: The steroid is potent, and can cause swelling, headaches, stomach pain, nausea, weakness, dizziness sleep problems, vision changes, skin problems, severe allergic reactions including mood changes.
These mood changes include aggression, agitation and confusion.
‘Steroids are always very dangerous medications to use,’ Dr Edward Jones-Lopez, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, told Reuters.
‘That is why it (dexamethasone) is used in severe to critical patients… There can be neuropsychiatric side effects. These are medications that we use very, very carefully.’
He later added: ‘He’s back!’
Dr Conley cited patient confidentiality laws during the press conference when asked about Trump’s lungs.
He did however say that his liver and kidney function were good and that Trump did not put any pressure on doctors to release him, despite earlier reports that he was ‘done’ with staying in hospital and was ‘demanding’ to be discharged on Sunday.
‘The president has been a phenomenal patient during his stay here,’ said Dr Conley.
‘He has been working hand in glove. Today it got the point, he’s holding court, going over all the specifics, the testing, what the future is.
‘We’ve been back and forth on what’s safe or reasonable.
‘He has never once pushed us to do anything that was not sage and reasonable.’
The doctor said that Trump was ‘a little dehydrated on Friday’ but he was able to recover from that.
‘Everything looks great. There is no evidence of live virus present that he could transfer to others,’ he said.
‘We’re checking him more routinely than waiting 10 days. We will know as soon as possible – then we’ll look at him clinically. How are you feeling? How are you doing?’
Fourteen people in Trump’s inner-circle have now tested positive with the deadly virus that has claimed more than 210,000 American lives.
He has been desperate to get back to the White House since Sunday and, according to aides, fears that staying in hospital any longer will make him look weak.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was the latest person in the president’s inner circle to test positive for COVID-19, three days after Trump confirmed he’d been infected.
McEnany, 32, continued going to work on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the White House despite Trump testing positive late on Thursday night, and she took her mask off on Sunday to brief reporters.
She defended her decision to continue coming to work, saying she is an ‘essential worker’ who was expected there.
She had been in close contact with the president and others at White House who have tested positive, but repeatedly tested negatively herself until Monday.
Her assistant, Chad Gilmartin has also tested positive.
‘After testing negatively consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms,’ McEnany said in a statement posted to Twitter.
‘As an essential worker, I have worked diligently to provide needed information to the American people at this time.
‘With my recent positive test, I will begin the quarantine process and continue working on behalf of the American people,’ she said.
The White House staff are tested every day with rapid testing kits and have been relying on those results to let people back into the building since Trump’s diagnosis last week, even though it is commonly known that it can take several days after someone becomes exposed for their viral load to be substantial enough to yield a positive result.
After McEnany’s diagnosis on Monday, White House staffers were sent an email reminding them to stay home if they feel any symptoms.
Pence and his wife Karen were both tested again on Monday and tested negative, as did Joe Biden.
It comes amid claims that the President knew he had tested positive with the virus on Thursday night but kept it secret during an interview on Fox.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Monday insisted to Fox News that Trump was in good health and made ‘good progress’.
He also defended Trump’s outing on Sunday, as have other allies including former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and Rudy Giuliani.
Meadows said: ‘He is ready to get back to a normal working schedule.’
In a flurry of tweets starting at 6.30am on Monday, Trump boasted about the stock markets, promised to deliver more tax cuts and listed ‘pro life’, ‘space force’, ‘religious liberty’ and ‘law and order’ as among reasons why he should win again.
Over the weekend, Trump released several video addresses where he promised to be in good health despite his diagnosis, and the White House shared photographs of him working at the hospital.
He claims to have been meeting some of the wounded veterans who are also being treated in the hospital.
On Sunday night, he made a surprise appearance outside the hospital to thank fans who had turned out with signs, flags and banners wishing him a speedy recovery.
Trump said he was touched by the outpouring of support and wanted to show his appreciation.
But doctors – including one from Walter Reed – say it was irresponsible of him to get into the presidential SUV with Secret Service agents and risk infecting them.
Dr James Phillips, a Walter Reed attending doctor, condemned the president’s Sunday afternoon drive, which violated Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
Meadows dismissed the criticism on Monday morning in an interview with Fox.
‘The president expressed appreciation to some of the people outside Walter Reed yesterday. Even that was getting criticism.
‘How do we think that he got here? We came in Marine One. The agent who’s been with him… we took additional precautions with PPE.
‘A number of folks are just trying to make a big deal of that when indeed, I know that myself and some of the Secret Service detail are right there with him trying to make sure he’s protected each and every day and that he returns to the White House as expeditiously as possible.’
Corey Lewandowski, his former campaign manager, also defended the outing.
He told Today that the agents involved volunteered to drive him and came under no duress.
‘The president wanted to thank all the supporters. The detail leader and the driver both volunteered for that assignment.
‘They were not required to do that.
‘They volunteered. There was a piece of plexiglass between the two agents and the president.
‘The president wanted to show his supporters how much he appreciated them and show that you can still continue to function with COVID-19. He’s a leader. He wants to lead. This was the president out thanking his supporters for supporting him.’
In an interview with Good Morning America on Monday morning, Dr. Phillips doubled down on his claims that it was irresponsible.
‘I don’t know what the benefits of this political stunt were, but I do know what the risks were.
‘My concern is that perhaps the Secret Service agents were inside don’t know the full risk of what they were up against.
‘So far as the military and Johns Hopkins physicians who are taking care of this patient, they’re excellent.
‘But they are also under undue pressure and a lot of influence outside of that normal physician-patient relationship.
‘Influence weighs heavy and when we’re dealing with a highly unusual environment like what we’re in right now, the question is – and I’d love to hear the answer from some military physician folks – where does that line
between that physician patient relationship come into contact with the commanding officer and subordinate relationship?’
Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University’s Emergency Medicine division, and a Covid-19 consultant specializing on how to reopen safely, said that the design of the presidential vehicle, specifically modified to protect the passengers from attacks, made the drive even more dangerous.
‘That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack,’ he continued.
‘The risk of COVID19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play.
‘Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days,’ Phillips pointed out.
‘They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.’
The CDC website explicitly states that COVID patients should stay at home except to get medical care.
In their section advising healthcare workers, the CDC states: ‘In general, transport and movement of a patient with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection outside of their room should be limited to medically essential purposes.’
Doctors said the president’s treatment with dexamethasone – a steroid used for patients who require extra oxygen – is the clearest sign yet that Trump may have a severe case of COVID-19.
Other doctors also took issue with Trump’s medical team’s rosy picture of his health.
‘People can be doing OK, but it can get rocky very quickly,’ said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security.
The experts told the Washington Post that Trump’s medical team has withheld key information about his condition, and that he was on a ‘kitchen sink’ regimen of monoclonal antibodies, the anti-viral remdesivir, and steroids.
‘For someone sick enough to have required remdesivir and dexamethasone, I can’t think of a situation in which a patient would be OK to leave on day three, even with the White House’s medical capacity,’ Robert Wachter, chairman of the University of California at San Francisco’s department of medicine, told the paper.
THURSDAY – Mask free while giving her briefing (left) and FRIDAY (right) masked after Trump’s positive diagnosis. She is shown, right, with her deputy, Chad Gilmartin, who tested positive on Saturday. She still went to work the next day and briefed reporters without her mask on
SUNDAY: McEnany took her mask off to speak to reporters on Sunday. She knew by then that her assistant had also tested positive with the virus, but she did test positive until Monday morning. McEnany wore the mask while walking around (right) throughout the rest of the day
A second doctor, Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, echoed Dr Phillips’ condemnation.
‘By taking a joy ride outside Walter Reed the president is placing his Secret Service detail at grave risk,’ he said.
‘In the hospital when we go into close contact with a COVID patient we dress in full PPE: Gown, gloves, N95, eye protection, hat. This is the height of irresponsibility.’
And Dr Craig Spencer, an ER doctor who survived Ebola and is currently director of global health in emergency medicine at Columbia University, was shocked at the president’s ‘joyride’.
‘Moments after stating ‘I learned a lot about COVID’, the President takes a joyride in an enclosed space with presumably #COVID19 negative people, all while on experimental medications,’ he said.
NBC News’ Peter Alexander said on Sunday night that he had asked why Melania Trump was not visiting her husband, and was told it was because she did not want anyone else to become infected.
‘Reminder: A White House official, on Saturday, told me the First Lady would not be visiting Trump at Walter Reed because ‘she has COVID and that would expose the agents who would drive her there,” he tweeted.
A crowd Trump’s supporters gathered outside the Bethesda, Maryland, hospital – and many were not wearing face masks.
Questions the president’s doctors haven’t yet answered about his condition:
Which drugs is he taking?
Trump has taken his taken his fourth dose of the experimental drug Remdesivir. He is also taking desxamethasone, a steroid used to reduce inflammation in the lungs.
His doctors revealed after he was hospitalized that Trump is taking an experimental antibody cocktail produced by biotechnology company Regeneron.
Dr. Conley revealed Trump was twice put on supplemental oxygen.
On Saturday, he said Trump was also taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine used for heartburn, and melatonin, which can help with sleep.
Trump also takes a daily aspirin, which can help with cholesterol. Conley said Trump had not been on any medication to reduce fever in 72 hours.
Will his condition go downhill?
Despite Conley’s up-beat assessment, he did acknowledge that his high-powered patient ‘may not entirely be out of the woods yet.’
COVID patients sometimes have a spike in symptoms a week or more after they contract the virus. Nevertheless, he said the White House medical unit is capable of handling whatever comes – an indication that Trump’s team is capable of handling another fever spike, administering oxygen, or even more drastic means of keeping a patient breathing like a ventilator.
The White House medical team can also organize an effort to helicopter Trump back to the hospital if needed.
‘We all remain cautiously optimistic and on guard,’ Conley said. ‘Because we’re in a bit of uncharted territory when it comes to a patient that received the therapies that he has so early in the course.’
‘So, we’re looking to this weekend. If we can get through to Monday with him remaining the same or improving, better yet, then we will all take that final deep sigh of relief,’ he added.
Conley was referring to doctors administering doses of experimental drug Remdesevir, an anti-viral medication. It has been shown to have a positive effect on patients suffering a moderate case of COVID-19 when given later in the process. In Trump’s case, the president got his first dose on Friday, his team said. He is to receive his final dose out of five from the White House Tuesday.
When did he last test negative?
Conley repeatedly refused to state when the president last tested negative for COVID-19.
The answer is important, both for those who might conduct contact tracing to see who might have been exposed, and to anyone seeking to evaluate whether the White House took the correct response and has been truthful about it.
Trump announced early Friday morning, close to 1 am, that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive.
Trump held back the information in a Thursday night interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, after Bloomberg News had already reported longtime aide Hope Hicks had tested positive.
‘I’ll get my test back either tonight or tomorrow morning,’ Trump told the host.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump had already gotten a positive result in his rapid test at that point.
The White House learned about Hicks’ positive result shortly before Marine One took off for the trip to New Jersey, where Trump had a scheduled fundraiser at his golf club, even pulling some staff off the trip.
New Jersey Gov. Tom Wolfe tweeted that the state had identified 2-6 attendees at two Trump fundraising events, with 19 staff members involved.
When can Trump hit the campaign trail?
‘As far as travel goes, we’ll see,’ Conley told reporters Monday.
He said key is confirming there is no remaining ‘live virus’ in Trump’s system.
‘We talk about a ten-day window.’
‘There’s a possibility it’s earlier than that. There’s a chance it’s a little bit later,’ he said.
Trump was driven by his supporters where he waved at them from the SUV and he wore a face mask during the short trip
Rudy Giuliani and Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, on Monday defended Sunday’s drive-by
A sign of supporter outside Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday morning. Fans have been there since Trump was admitted on Friday night
Trump supporters outside Walter Reed on Monday morning. There has been a strong presence outside the hospital since Trump was admitted on Friday night
The fans outside Walter Reed on Monday morning. Some held their hands on their hearts as they prayed for Trump’s recovery
Trump supporters waved American flags and Make America Great Again campaign signs outside of Walter Reed hospital on Sunday
The crowds have gathered outside the hospital to cheer and shout their support to Trump on Sunday
THE TOLL OF COVID FROM SCOTUS NOMINEE EVENT
1. President Donald Trump, 74; 2. First Lady Melania Trump, 50; 3. Fr. John Jenkins, 66. President of the University of Notre Dame; 4. Mike Lee, 49. Republican Utah Senator; 5. Thom Tillis, 60. Republican North Carolina Senator; 6. Kellyanne Conway, 53, Former White House Counselor to the President; 7. Chris Christie, 58. Former New Jersey Governor; 8. Kayleigh McEnany, 32. White House Press Secretary; 9. Chad Gilmartin. Assistant Press Secretary, 22. 10. Karoline Leavitt, 23. Assistant Press Secretary. 11. Pastor Greg Laurie, 67. Harvest Crusades televangelist.
* Bill Barr, 70: self-isolating out of caution.
AT EVENT AND STOOD AT BACK OF ROSE GARDEN
12. Hope Hicks, 31. Counselor to the President; 13. Bill Stepien, 42. Trump Campaign Manager; 14. Nicholas Luna, 29. Chief of Oval Office Operations and ‘body man’; 15. Unnamed White House reporter
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