The confusing and contradictory statements about Trump’s health

Information about President Trump’s condition has been incomplete, confusing and, at times, contradictory since early Friday morning when the commander in chief announced that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Trump’s medical team, led by White House physician Sean Conley, has been criticized for painting a rosy portrait of Trump’s condition Saturday, without disclosing that the president had been given supplemental oxygen or put on a steroid that is usually reserved for severely ill coronavirus patients.

[Trump returns to White House, downplaying virus that hospitalized him]

“I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, over his course of illness, has had,” Conley said. “I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction. And in doing so, you know, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true. … The fact of the matter is that he’s doing really well.”

Conley and his team cleared Trump to be discharged from the hospital Monday evening, though many experts note that the president is still at a stage in the illness when patients are prone to unexpected complications, and Conley himself acknowledged that he wouldn’t take a “final deep sigh of relief” until early next week.

Mixed signals on the severity of Trump’s illness

Trump and his doctors have repeatedly assured the public that all is well, though Robert Wachter, chairman of the University of California at San Francisco’s department of medicine, told The Washington Post that, based on the details we know about the president’s hospitalization and treatment, it seemed unwise to discharge him from the hospital.

“For someone sick enough to have required remdesivir and dexamethasone, I can’t think of a situation in which a patient would be okay to leave on Day 3, even with the White House’s medical capacity,” he said.

Conley and his team have also refused to discuss the president’s lung scans, saying only that “there’s some expected findings, but nothing of any major clinical concern.”

Statements are from Trump’s doctors, President Trump or other White House officials.

Friday Oct. 2

Friday afternoon

Friday evening

I’m going to Walter Reed hospital. I think I’m doing very well.President Trump
Saturday Oct. 3

Saturday evening

The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning, and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.— Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff
Saturday night

President Trump continues to do well, having made substantial progress since diagnosis. This evening he completed the second dose of Remdesivir without complication.— Sean Conley
Sunday Oct. 4

Sunday morning

The President has experienced two episodes of transient drops in his oxygen saturation … It was the determination of the team … that we initiate Dexamethasone.— Sean Conley
Sunday morning

[Asked why he was previously reluctant to disclose treatment details] I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the President, that his course of illness has had … so, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true.— Sean Conley
Monday Oct. 5

Monday afternoon

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.President Trump
Monday afternoon

Though he may not entirely be out of the woods yet, the team and I agree that all our evaluations, and most importantly his clinical status, support the president’s safe return home.— Sean Conley
Monday evening

I went and I didn’t feel so good, and two days ago, I could’ve left two days ago. I felt great … Maybe I’m immune, I don’t know.President Trump

Unclear timeline of the initial diagnosis

The timing of the president’s first positive test — and most recent negative test — still have not been disclosed by the White House. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, Trump tested positive via a rapid test Thursday evening but the White House waited for the results of a more reliable nasal swab test before disclosing anything.

Trump was required to get a negative test result when he arrived in Cleveland for the debate last week, though enforcement of that rule was only through the honor system, and the White House will not definitively say that he did.

Conley sowed further confusion over the initial timeline when he suggested that Trump’s diagnosis could have come as early as Wednesday, a statement he has since clarified.

Friday Oct. 2

Early Friday morning

Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately.President Trump
Saturday Oct. 3

Saturday morning

Just 72 hours into the diagnosis now, the first week of COVID, and in particular day seven to 10 are the most critical in determining the likely course of this illness.— Sean Conley
Saturday morning

[Asked how and when Trump became infected] We’re not going to go into that. We’re just tracking his clinical course and providing the best care we can.— Sean Conley
Saturday afternoon

This morning while summarizing the President’s health, I incorrectly used the term “seventy two hours” instead of “day three” and “forty eight hours” instead of “day two” with regards to his diagnosis and the administration of the polyclonal antibody therapy.— Sean Conley

Confusion on Trump’s oxygen levels

At Saturday’s news conference, Conley and his team seemed very careful not to outright say that Trump had never been given supplemental oxygen, just that he had not been given any that day. But on Sunday, Conley revealed that the president’s oxygen levels had dropped twice and that he had been given oxygen, although it wasn’t immediately clear how many times it had been administered.

Several news outlets reported on Saturday that Trump received supplemental oxygen Friday before being flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, information that Conley finally confirmed on Sunday.

Friday Oct. 2

Friday night

This evening I am happy to report that the President is doing very well. He is not requiring any supplemental oxygen— Sean Conley
Saturday Oct. 3

Saturday morning

Sunday Oct. 4

Sunday morning

Late Friday morning … his oxygen saturation was transiently dipping below 94% … I recommended the President we try some supplemental oxygen … Stayed on that for about an hour, maybe, and it was off and gone.— Sean Conley

Careful words about Trump’s fever

The White House has also stumbled over even small details, such as when and if Trump was running a fever. The messaging, however, has been consistent on one thing: that he has been fever-free since Friday.

Saturday Oct. 3

Saturday morning

Thursday he had a mild cough, and some nasal congestion, and fatigue, all of which are now resolving and improving.— Sean Conley
Saturday morning

It’s important to note the president has been fever-free for over 24 hours. We remain cautiously optimistic. But he’s doing great … I’d rather not give any specific numbers, but he did have a fever Thursday into Friday. And since Friday morning, he’s had none.— Sean Conley
Sunday Oct. 4

Sunday morning

Thursday night into Friday morning, when I left the bedside, the President was doing well with only mild symptoms … Late Friday morning, when I returned to the bedside, President had a high fever— Sean Conley
Monday Oct. 5

Monday afternoon

The president continues to do very well … temperature of 98.1.— Sean Dooley

The coronavirus diagnosis is not the first time the White House has failed to clearly explain Trump’s health; questions remain about an unplanned visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in 2019.

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