The White House’s statements about the seriousness of Trump’s condition aren’t adding up amid conflicting reports from several sources
By Joshua Holland | Raw Story
It is October, but news that Donald Trump has been diagnosed with Covid-19 should come as no surprise. Trump believes that masks make you look weak – which would come as a surprise to goalies, catchers and Darth Vader – and attends indoor events with other maskless people.
And, as The New York Times reported, the White House’s strategy to keep the virus at bay relies on screening everyone with a rapid test “that was never intended for that purpose and is known to deliver incorrect results.” (Meanwhile, the Coronavirus Task Force is rarely meeting these days and, according to Anthony Fauci, when it does taskforce members spend all of their time discussing how to reopen the economy and barely talk about public health.) The only surprise is that the guy didn’t contract the disease earlier.
Meanwhile, the White House is painting a rosy picture of Trump’s condition, saying that he’s only experiencing mild symptoms and was transferred to Walter Reed Medical Center out of “an abundance of caution,” and will continue to work from there for a few days. But while we don’t know what his status is with any certainty, everything else they’re saying is inconsistent with those sunny statements.
First, there’s no clear reason why Trump would be moved to Walter Reed if his symptoms were mild. The White House Medical Unit is a state-of-the-art urgent care facility managed by the military and staffed by highly qualified medical personnel around-the-clock. They can handle any emergency, but they don’t have an Intensive Care Unit. The presidential suite at Walter Reed does.
Second, Trump’s physician said that Trump was given the maximum dose of an experimental antibody treatment that’s currently undergoing testing on a “compassionate use” basis. These are typically approved for patients with serious illnesses when other treatments have proven ineffective. On Twitter, Ezekiel Emanuel, a clinician and bioethicist, wrote, “you do not give a patient — much less the President of the United States — a drug that is not yet approved by the FDA (to say nothing of one with ‘mild symptoms’). Unsurprisingly, the Trump WH is not being forthright to the American people about the health of their President.”
He is also being administered Remdesivir, a drug that is not indicated for the treatment of Covid-19 but has received an Emergency Use Authorization for use in severe cases. That needs to be administered in a hospital setting, which may be another reason they moved him to Walter Reed. One clinical trial found that one-in-five patients who received the drug for five days and more than a third of those who were on it for ten days experienced “severe adverse events” including worsening respiratory failure and liver damage. Giving the guy with the nuclear codes such a treatment is entirely inconsistent with a mild case of Covid.
Now, we should note that none of this proves anything. It could simply be a matter of Trump demanding every drug he’s heard about and his medical staff refusing to say “no” to a panicky patient who happens to be the most powerful person in America.
But this notoriously mendacious White House isn’t doing much to assure the public that the information they’re providing is reliable.
Moments after a Saturday press briefing in which Trump’s physician, Sean Conley, said that his patient is only “slightly overweight” and refused to say outright that Trump has not required supplemental oxygen, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows went off of the record to give reporters “contradictory information” about his boss’s condition, according to NYMag’s Olivia Nuzzi.