Trump experienced oxygen drops Friday and Saturday, but he could be discharged Monday, doctor says

  • President Trump experienced two drops in his oxygen levels over the course of his coronavirus illness but has improved and may be discharged as soon as Monday, Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said. 
  • The president has been administered dexamethasone, a steroid that treats inflammation in Covid-19 patients and has been shown to help patients with severe or critical Covid-19. 
  • Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA chief in the Trump administration, told CNBC’s Shepard Smith that he’s more concerned now about the president’s condition than he was before the Sunday briefing, citing the president’s dexamethasone treatment.  



a man wearing a suit and tie: White House physician Sean Conley answers questions surrounded by other doctors, during an update on the condition of US President Donald Trump, on October 4, 2020, at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.


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White House physician Sean Conley answers questions surrounded by other doctors, during an update on the condition of US President Donald Trump, on October 4, 2020, at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

President Donald Trump experienced two drops in his oxygen levels over the course of his coronavirus illness but has improved and may be discharged as soon as Monday, Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said Sunday. 

“The president has continued to improve,” Conley told reporters outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where Trump is being treated. “As with any illness, there are frequent ups and downs over the course.”

However, Conley also disclosed that the 74-year-old Trump had been administered dexamethasone, a steroid that is usually given to patients with serious cases of Covid-19. Because it is generally not used in mild or moderate Covid-19 cases. several medical experts expressed greater concerns about the president’s condition.

“If they are going to discharge him tomorrow, that would mean he is virus negative. I don’t think that’s possible,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration under Trump.

Trump also completed a second dose of remdesivir on Saturday. 

The president’s doctors did not disclose the exact timing of Trump’s drop in oxygen levels or whether his lung scans showed damage from the disease. 

Conley said Trump was doing well Thursday night into Friday morning and was only experiencing mild symptoms with his blood oxygen levels in the high 90s. 

Conley said that by late Friday morning the president was running a high fever and his oxygen saturation levels had dipped below 94%. Healthy adults generally have blood oxygen levels of 95% or higher. 

“Given these developments, I was concerned for possible rapid progression of the illness,” Conley said. 

Trump was then given supplemental oxygen and “after about a minute” his levels were back above 95%. The president was on supplemental oxygen for about an hour Friday, Conley said. 

On Saturday, Trump’s oxygen saturation dipped to about 93%, the doctor said. It’s unclear if he was given oxygen on Saturday. The doctors monitored Trump and his oxygen levels went back up. The president’s blood oxygen level is currently at 98%, Conley said Sunday.

Still, doctors said Trump could be discharged as early as Monday to continue his treatment at the White House. The president has entered his third day in the hospital on Sunday after contracting

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Trump experienced oxygen drops, could be discharged Monday, doctor says

White House physician Sean Conley answers questions surrounded by other doctors, during an update on the condition of US President Donald Trump, on October 4, 2020, at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump experienced two drops in his oxygen levels over the course of his coronavirus illness but has improved and may be discharged as soon as Monday, Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said on Sunday. 

“The president has continued to improve,” Conley told reporters outside the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where Trump is being treated. “As with any illness, there are frequent ups and downs over the course.”

However, the doctors disclosed that Trump had been administered a steroid that is usually given to patients with serious cases of Covid-19. This led several medical experts to express greater concerns about the president’s condition.

“If they are going to discharge him tomorrow, that would mean he is virus negative. I don’t think that’s possible,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration under Trump.

The president’s doctors did not disclose the exact timing of Trump’s drop in oxygen levels or whether his lung scans showed damage from the disease. 

Conley said Trump was doing well Thursday night into Friday morning and was only experiencing mild symptoms with his blood oxygen levels in the high 90s. 

Conley said that by late Friday morning the president was running a high fever and his oxygen saturation levels had dipped below 94%. Healthy adults generally have blood oxygen levels of 95% or higher. 

“Given these developments, I was concerned for possible rapid progression of the illness,” Conley said. 

Trump was then given supplemental oxygen and “after about a minute” his levels were back above 95%. The president was on supplemental oxygen for about an hour Friday, Conley said. 

On Saturday, Trump’s oxygen saturation dipped to about 93%, the doctor said. It’s unclear if he was given oxygen on Saturday. The doctors monitored Trump and his oxygen levels went back up. The president’s blood oxygen level is currently at 98%, Conley said.

Conley also said that the president has been administered dexamethasone, a steroid that treats inflammation in Covid-19 patients and has been shown to help patients with severe or critical illness. However, it is generally not used in mild or moderate Covid-19 cases. Trump also completed a second dose of remdesivir on Saturday. 

Still, doctors said Trump could be discharged as early as Monday to continue his treatment at the White House. The president has entered his third day in the hospital on Sunday after contracting the virus last week.

Dr. Sean Dooley, a pulmonologist at Walter Reed, said the president has been without a fever since Friday morning with favorable vital signs and no shortness of breath or any other significant respiratory symptoms.

The Sunday briefing comes a day after a presentation from the doctors that sowed confusion and concern over the president’s condition and raised

Trump’s doctor admits he avoided saying president was on oxygen

In an optimistic briefing on President Trump’s condition Sunday morning, White House physician Dr. Sean Conley admitted to reporters he had tried to conceal the fact that the president had received oxygen at the White House on Friday.

Conley, joined by other members of the president’s medical team at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, said Trump was continuing to improve and could be discharged back to the White House as early as Monday. But he disclosed that dexamethasone had been added to the president’s drug regimen, suggesting continuing concerns about an inflammatory response to the coronavirus that could damage the lungs or other organs.

Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid that is used to prevent or treat the “cytokine storm” of immune response that causes some of the worst complications of COVID-19, particularly in older patients.

Trump is also continuing to receive remdesivir, an antiviral that combats coronavirus infection.

Another doctor on the team, Sean Dooley, told reporters that Trump “has remained without fever since Friday morning. His vital signs are stable, he remains on room air, he’s ambulating himself, walking around the White House medical unit [at Walter Reed] without limitation or disability.”

“I want to reiterate how pleased we are with the President’s recovery,” Conley added.

Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

But under questioning by reporters, Conley disclosed that on Friday morning Trump had experienced a high fever and his blood-oxygen level had dipped below 94 percent. (A normal reading would be 96 or above.) “Given these two developments, I was concerned about the possibility of rapid progression of the illness,” Conley said, and he recommended supplemental oxygen, which Trump at first refused, but when he agreed, brought his oxygen into the normal range within minutes. Later that day, Trump was taken by helicopter to Walter Reed.

At a briefing Saturday, reporters questioned Conley closely about whether and when Trump had received oxygen, but he answered evasively, saying only that the president was not currently on oxygen and had not been given it at Walter Reed.

Sunday, Conley admitted that he had intentionally avoided a forthright response, saying, “I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude of the team [and] the president over the course of his illness. I didn’t want to give any info that might steer the course of illness in another direction, and it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true.”

But he also avoided a direct answer to a question from a reporter about whether there was evidence of damage to Trump’s lungs as a result of the infection.

“We’re tracking all of that, there are some expected findings but nothing of clinical concern,” Conley responded, refusing to answer follow-up questions about what the “expected findings” were.

White House physician Sean Conley answers questions at Walter Reed. (Brendan Smialowski /AFP via Getty Images)
White House physician Sean Conley answers questions at Walter Reed. (Brendan Smialowski /AFP via Getty Images)

Secrecy and misinformation about Trump’s medical condition

Trump got oxygen Friday at White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on coronavirus infections hitting President Donald Trump and others in his circle (all times EDT):

1 p.m.

A person familiar with President Donald Trump’s medical condition says the president had been administered supplemental oxygen at the White House on Friday before he was hospitalized.

The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The revelation follows a press conference by Trump’s doctors where they refused to confirm the president had been on oxygen following his COVID-19 diagnosis Thursday. The doctors would only say that Trump was not on oxygen at the hospital.

Doctors said Trump was doing well and his symptoms were subsiding. However, the person said the president’s condition had been “very concerning” but Trump has been improving since going to the hospital.

First lady Melania Trump also has tested positive for COVID-19 and is recovering at home.


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1 p.m.

White House doctors said President Donald Trump began exhibiting “clinical indications” of COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon, earlier than previously known.

Trump’s doctors held a press conference Saturday at Walter Reed Medical Center, where the president was transported Friday. They said he was doing very well and his symptoms were improving.

However, a person familiar with the president’s illness said Trump’s condition was “very concerning” but he has been improving since going to the hospital. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

Trump sent a tweet around 1 a.m. Friday confirming he had been diagnosed with coronavirus, along with first lady Melania Trump.

On Thursday evening, Trump called into Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show, where he discussed aide Hope Hicks’ diagnosis and that he had been tested for the illness. But he did not say whether he had suffered symptoms.

A statement from Trump’s doctors early Friday did not mention the president having symptoms.

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1 p.m.

Presidential aide and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has tweeted that he’s tested positive for COVID-19.

Christie said Saturday that he will be receiving medical attention and “will keep the necessary folks apprised of my condition.”

He did not say whether he had symptoms.

Christie had said the last time he was with President Donald Trump was Tuesday during preparations for the first debate with former Vice President Joe Biden in Cleveland.

He was not at Trump’s Bedminster fundraiser in New Jersey on Thursday.

He had tweeted Friday morning that he had last tested negative ahead of Tuesday’s debate.

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12:30 p.m.

Senate Republicans have canceled legislative work until Oct. 19 as the coronavirus sweeps through their ranks and lawmakers increasingly call for comprehensive testing on Capitol Hill.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Saturday that confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett are still on.

One by one, President Donald Trump and a series of GOP lawmakers have fallen ill with the virus that has killed more than 208,000 Americans.