Tuesday. 25.06.2024
CORONAVIRUS

Trump improving but on steroids after oxygen levels dropped

"If he continues to look and feel as well as he does today, our hope is that we can plan for a discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House, where he can continue his treatment course," his doctor said.

03 October 2020, US, Bethesda: Supporters of US President Donald Trump gather in front of the Walter Reed Military Hospital in Bethesda, where Trump is being treated after a coronavirus infection. Photo: Steven Ramaherison/dpa.
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather in front of the Walter Reed Military Hospital in Bethesda. Photo: Steven Ramaherison/dpa.

US President Donald Trump's condition has "continued to improve," his doctor said on Sunday, but announced that his oxygen levels dropped the previous day and he is therefore now receiving a steroid treatment.

This was the second drop in oxygen levels since the president became ill with the new coronavirus. On Friday, Trump received supplemental oxygen for about an hour, after his levels dipped, and he was later moved from the White House to Walter Reed medical centre outside Washington.

The president has been fever-free since Friday morning, the medical team said at a press briefing in front of the military hospital, and they may consider letting him go home as soon as Monday.

"Today he feels well, he has been up and around," said Brian Garibaldi, a lung specialist from Johns Hopkins University who is part of the medical team treating the president.

"If he continues to look and feel as well as he does today, our hope is that we can plan for a discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House, where he can continue his treatment course," Garibaldi said.

Sean Conley, the president's physician, stressed that the team was "pleased" with Trump's recovery.

He said the president's oxygen dropped to 93% saturation on Saturday. Garibaldi said the low levels led the medical team to put Trump on Dexamethasone, the steroid.

Conley could not say whether Trump was again given supplemental oxygen but insisted the levels were back up to normal levels. The medical team said he is now breathing room air.

The briefing came on the back of confusion created Saturday by the White House, after the chief of staff appeared to have said that Trump's vital signs "were very concerning," seeming to contradict the medical team who said he was improving.

Conley admitted that his very optimistic briefing on Sunday had given an impression that the medical team was not being fully honest.

"It came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn't necessarily true," Conley said.

"Soon back to work"

Trump issued a four-minute video on Saturday from the hospital. Wearing a blue suit jacket and no tie, the president insisted he was "starting to feel good" and would soon be back to work at the White House, offering his thanks for all the well-wishes has received.

Trump was diagnosed on Thursday with the new coronavirus, throwing his reelection campaign into a tailspin, with just 30 days to go until the November vote.

The team has been trying to put forward a sense of normalcy but campaign manager Bill Stepien is among a number of people in Trump's inner circle to have contracted the coronavirus in the past week.

Jason Miller, a campaign adviser, was pressed on ABC's "This Week" about the president often refusing to wear a mask and holding large rallies, insisting that Trump has taken the virus "very seriously."

Miller attacked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for using masks as a "prop." The comment signalled that the Trump campaign was not changing its messaging heading into the final stretch.

Part of the White House's talking point now is that Trump had to show leadership during the pandemic and put himself in harm's way by not hunkering down.

Biden, who curtailed his campaign back in March and is holding very few events, generally is seen in public wearing a mask, removing it only on occasion to make a speech or answer questions.

Just before the medical team briefed the press - the second such news conference since the president was hospitalized - National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien told broadcaster CBS that he expected Trump would remain in hospital for "a period of time." 

O'Brien noted that day seven and eight after the onset of symptoms are the "critical days" for any patient.

The security adviser ruled out the need to move towards a transfer of power within the federal government, saying Trump remained firmly in control of operations.

On top of the steroid, the president received an antibody cocktail at the very onset of his illness, and is on a five-day treatment course of Remdesivir, a therapeutic.

Trump improving but on steroids after oxygen levels dropped