Current track

Title

Artist

Current show

Through The Night

01:00 06:00


Three key questions about Trump’s health that remain unanswered

Written by on 06/10/2020

Donald Trump is clearly eager to put his battle with COVID-19 behind him and concentrate on getting his re-election campaign back on track.

But after three days in hospital, is he really well enough to be back at the White House? And is the US president putting others at risk by being there?

Mr Trump tweeted that he was “feeling really good!” on Monday.

But his doctors and aides withheld key information on just how sick the president was and have avoided answering some key questions, possibly suggesting the president was enduring more than a mild case of COVID-19.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Mask off: Trump back at White House

President Donald Trump greets supporters as he rides by in the presidential motorcade
Image: President Donald Trump greets supporters as he rides by in the presidential motorcade

Here are three things we haven’t been told…

1) When was the president’s last negative coronavirus test?

The president’s physician, Navy Commander Dr Sean Conley, has repeatedly avoided any specifics about when Mr Trump could have caught the coronavirus.

He said they found out from contact tracing on Thursday 1 October that Mr Trump may have been at risk. A test was carried out, which gave a positive result. It was at this time that Mr Trump had a mild fever and fatigue.

However, in a news conference on Saturday morning, Dr Conley said they were “72 hours into the diagnosis”, which would go back further than Thursday.

Mr Trump took part in a televised presidential debate with Democrat opponent Joe Biden on Wednesday.

Dr Sean Conley and Mr Trumps medical team at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Image: Dr Sean Conley and Mr Trump’s medical team at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Why is it important to know?

Doctors have said that days seven to 10 can be the most critical after diagnosis.

What did the doctors say?

When asked about the date of Mr Trump’s last negative test, Dr Conley said: “I’m not going to get into all the testing, going back, but he and all his staff are routinely tested.”

At Saturday’s news conference, Dr Conley said because Mr Trump had been given medication such as remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone earlier than other patients might receive them, it “was hard to tell” where he was on the course of the virus.

He said: “We remain cautiously optimistic and on guard. 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.”

Donald Trump arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Image: Donald Trump arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

2) What is his viral load?

The viral load is the measure of virus particles. It is the amount of virus present once a person has been infected and the virus has had time to replicate in their cells.

With most viruses, higher viral loads are associated with worse outcomes.

It also means that the infected person is passing on a high dose of the virus to people they come into contact with.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

A salute from Trump as he leaves hospital

Why is it important to know the measure?

It is important to know it because if Mr Trump is experiencing a high viral load, his symptoms may still become more severe. The more particles that get into the lungs, the more damaged the lungs become.

What did Mr Trump’s doctors say?

In the news briefings at Walter Reed Medical Center, Dr Conley detailed vital signs like temperature and blood pressure when they are normal, but repeatedly refused to give information that would indicate how serious the president’s respiratory troubles may have been.

He also failed to explain why Mr Trump is receiving treatment typically reserved for difficult COVID-19 cases.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

‘Masks matter’: Biden as Trump leaves hospital

3) Does he have signs of pneumonia or any lung damage?

On Saturday, Dr Conley said pneumonia was a “known risk”, but that Mr Trump was receiving the standard care “and beyond” to make sure his risk of contracting pneumonia was low.

Why is it important to know?

This is important to know because COVID-19 can cause significant damage to lungs. This is why there was a rush for more respirators for intensive care units at the start of the pandemic. Many patients have needed help breathing after the virus attacked their lungs.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

‘Get out there!’: Trump’s defiant COVID message

What did the doctors say?

Again on Saturday, a reporter asked if there was any sign of lung damage in Mr Trump and Dr Conley said they are doing “daily ultrasounds” and “daily lab work”.

But he said he “wouldn’t go into specifics on what the findings are”. He refused to confirm or deny that Mr Trump had needed oxygen at any point, saying just that he had not needed any on Friday or Saturday.

On Monday, Mr Trump’s doctors said the president had refused to waive patient-doctor confidentiality to allow them to discuss the results of his lung scans.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

Tagged as