As a 74-year-old obese man, Donald Trump has several known risk factors after contracting Covid-19, but experts say it is difficult to predict how the American president will be affected by a disease that leaves some without symptoms but is deadly to others.
Trump has become the highest profile patient of the new coronavirus, which has scorched across the planet killing more than a million people, including 200,000 Americans.
The US president is currently “well” according to his official doctor and able to continue performing his duties from quarantine.
Experts said that while he does have several of the risk factors associated with severe forms of Covid-19 — being male, older and overweight — it is hard to say how the disease will affect him.
“The risk of serious disease and death depends on many factors — some unmeasurable, so there is always uncertainty — and it is not so simple as to make inferences from one or two alone,” said Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow.
He said that the risks may be “offset” by other factors, including if Trump has no chronic conditions and is reasonably active, noting the US leader’s love of golf.
At his most recent medical check-up, published in June, Trump weighed-in at 244 pounds (110.67 kg). For his height of six feet and three inches (1.91 meters), this means he exceeded the official threshold of obesity for a second year in a row.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person in this category is three times as likely to need hospital care than someone with a lower weight.
Another high risk factor is age.
The CDC reports that eight of 10 Covid-19 related deaths in the US are of people over 65.
“In general, your risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19 increases as you get older,” it says on its website.
Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, said Trump would be classified as “vulnerable”.
“Many people in their 70s will also have further co-morbidities that increase the risks of a more severe illness,” he added.
Currently, however, the US leader appears to have few if any symptoms.
His official physician, Sean Conley, also described the presidential couple as “both well at this time”.
“We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements,” said First Lady Melania Trump in a tweet.
Coronavirus infection can begin on a slow burn, often taking several days before symptoms appear.
“Most studies suggest that those with symptomatic COVID-19 infections could remain outside hospital during the first 5-7 days of the illness