Trump’s condition has improved, but no release date determined, doctor says

White House physician Sean Conley answers questions during an update on the condition of US President Donald Trump, on October 3, 2020, at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s condition has improved since receiving care at Walter Reed Medical Center after testing positive for the coronavirus, Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said on Saturday. 

“At this time the team and I are extremely happy with the progress the president has made. Thursday he had a mild cough and some nasal congestion and fatigue. All of which are now resolving and improving,” Conley told reporters. 

Conley’s relatively positive words, though, stood in contrast to other signals out of the White House.

“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,” a person familiar with the matter told White House pool reporters. “We are still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

Conley did not commit to giving a firm date for a potential discharge for the president.

The briefing also raised new questions about when it was known that the president was sick. Conley told reporters on Saturday that a treatment was given to the president 48 hours ago, which would’ve been on Thursday before his positive diagnosis was announced. 

Top Trump aide Hope Hicks, who spends a lot of time with the president, tested positive Thursday morning. Later that day, Trump flew to New Jersey to participate in a fundraiser at his Bedminster golf club.

Dr. Sean Dooley, a pulmonologist at Walter Reed, said that the president is not using supplemental oxygen and is not having difficulty breathing. The doctors would not comment on whether Trump had received oxygen at all.

“He’s in exceptionally good spirits and in fact as we were completing our multidisciplinary rounds this morning the quote he left us with was, ‘I feel like I could walk out of here today.’ And that was a very encouraging comment from the president,” Dooley said. 

Conley also said Trump had a fever “Thursday into Friday” but has not had one since Friday morning. Conley would not disclose how high Trump’s fever had reached. 

Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis was announced just before 1 a.m. ET on Friday. Conley later said in a statement that Trump received a single, 8-gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail, which has not been granted an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. 

Late on Friday evening it was announced that Trump also received antiviral drug Remdesivir, which has emergency approval from the FDA but is typically used for hospitalized coronavirus patients who are severely ill. 

“Remdesivir works a little bit differently than the antibodies. We’re maximizing all aspects of his care, attacking this virus multipronged approach,” Conley said. “As the president, I didn’t want to hold anything back. If there was any possibility that it would add value to his care and expedite his return then I wanted to take it.”

Dr. Brian Garibaldi, part of the medical team caring for Trump at Walter Reed, said Trump will continue a five-day treatment course for Remdesivir, he said.

“The big plan for today since he’s in such great spirits and doing well is to encourage him to eat, to drink, to stay hydrated, to be up out of bed and to be working and doing the things that he needs to do to get well,” Garibaldi said.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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