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What we know and what we don't about Trump's COVID illness

President Donald Trump’s release from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and return to the White House make one thing clear: The president wants to get his battle with COVID-19 behind him as his reelection campaign draws to a close.

Posted: Oct 5, 2020 1:50 PM
Updated: Oct 6, 2020 6:05 AM

President Donald Trump's release from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and return to the White House make one thing blindingly clear: He is eager to get his battle with COVID-19 behind him, as a reelection campaign clouded by the pandemic draws to a close.

Little else about the president's illness was certain, though. Trump’s doctors and aides were withholding key information on just how sick the president was, what risks lie ahead for Trump under progression of the illness and under treatment by a novel combination of powerful medications, and whether the White House’s aides, security guards, cooks, cleaners and servers from infection by the still-contagious president.

What we know, and what we don’t know:

WHAT WE KNOW

Trump made clear he is eager to put his three-night stay at Walter Reed behind him, and to play down a pandemic that has killed more than 209,000 Americans. “Feeling really good!” he tweeted. “Don’t be afraid of Covid.”

Disclosures over the weekend that the president’s blood oxygen levels had dropped below normal levels at least twice, and that he was receiving steroid treatment typically used in more serious cases, suggested the president was enduring more than a mild case of COVID-19.

Doctors say that Trump will continue to receive his treatments from the White House. Trump on Friday began a five-day course of remdesivir, a Gilead Sciences drug currently used for moderately and severely ill patients. He received a single dose Friday of an experimental drug from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. that supplies antibodies to help the immune system fight the virus.

Trump’s also received treatment with the steroid dexamethasone. It has only been proven to help in more serious cases. Among concerns with its use — steroids can tamp down the body’s own ability to fight off infection.

Trump's doctor, Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, said Monday that Trump “may not entirely be out of the woods yet” but he and the team “agree that all our evaluations and, most importantly, his clinical status support the president’s safe return home, where he’ll be surrounded by world-class medical care.”

Conley said the president could resume his normal schedule once “there is no evidence of live virus still present.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says those with mild to moderate symptoms — and it's not clear if the president's case falls within that range — should isolate for at least 10 days.

Back at the White House, the ranks grew Monday of infected people in the president’s circle. Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced she had tested positive for the virus Monday and was entering quarantine.

The White House says it is doing contact tracing for people who have been at White House events and with Trump and that “appropriate notifications and recommendations are being made.”

Stephanie Grisham, the spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump, said “all precautions are being taken” to safeguard those serving the ailing Trumps in the White House’s residential quarters, in consultation with the White House’s medical unit.

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW

We don’t know how sick Trump got. We don't know how sick Trump is now.

Conley in daily news briefings at Walter Reed has detailed vital signs like temperature and blood pressure when they are normal, but repeatedly refused to give information that would indicate how serious the president’s respiratory troubles may have been, in particular.

Conley also has failed to explain why Trump is receiving treatment typically reserved for difficult COVID-19 cases.

Trump’s doctors said Monday the president had refused to waive patient-doctor confidentiality to allow them to discuss the results of his lung scans. COVID-19 can cause significant damage to lungs. Scans reveal signs of pneumonia and other problems.

With treatment still evolving in the pandemic, Trump’s doctors concede they themselves don’t know everything about the interplay of the medications he is taking. “We’re in a bit of uncharted territory,” Conley said.

Conley also refused to detail when Trump last tested negative for COVID-19. That's important for contact tracing of those he might have been in close contact after that time.

The White House also is withholding details on what steps it is taking to stop the spread of the outbreak underway in Trump’s circle. More than a dozen aides, lawmakers and political figures around Trump have confirmed positive tests in recent days.

Officials aren’t saying what measures are being adopted to protect the health of White House staffers — from aides and secretaries to cleaners and valets — around Trump as the infectious president returns home.

And it’s not known if Trump — who long mocked people wearing masks — has committed to abide by any precautions. Trump on Sunday insisted on a drive outside Walter Reed to wave to supporters, heightening risk of infection for those guarding and driving him.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 304023

Reported Deaths: 3580
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin641421113
Ramsey27059502
Anoka21526225
Dakota21268190
Washington13529113
Stearns13524108
St. Louis8433108
Scott820154
Wright746139
Olmsted653534
Sherburne570941
Clay483956
Carver455913
Blue Earth405214
Rice403136
Kandiyohi396821
Crow Wing353431
Nobles304929
Chisago304410
Otter Tail300522
Benton293348
Winona273730
Mower257423
Douglas250735
Polk248923
Morrison228029
Lyon213411
Beltrami211917
McLeod205011
Becker199815
Goodhue196728
Steele19137
Itasca185523
Isanti184917
Todd178413
Carlton177715
Nicollet158725
Freeborn15125
Mille Lacs149931
Le Sueur144911
Cass138610
Waseca137811
Brown136415
Pine13138
Meeker12398
Roseau11454
Hubbard111924
Martin111220
Wabasha10301
Redwood91619
Chippewa8527
Dodge8380
Cottonwood8333
Watonwan8334
Renville83124
Wadena7736
Sibley7724
Rock7569
Aitkin75529
Pipestone71018
Houston6854
Fillmore6770
Yellow Medicine63311
Pennington6277
Kanabec59613
Murray5783
Swift5758
Faribault5422
Pope5281
Stevens5063
Clearwater5058
Jackson4841
Marshall4758
Lake4066
Koochiching3855
Wilkin3715
Unassigned36759
Lac qui Parle3613
Lincoln3511
Norman3417
Big Stone3072
Mahnomen2904
Grant2726
Kittson2138
Red Lake2053
Traverse1461
Lake of the Woods951
Cook660

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 225897

Reported Deaths: 2345
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33451334
Linn14206164
Scott1116385
Black Hawk10849134
Woodbury10323124
Johnson948636
Dubuque918291
Story677621
Dallas633657
Pottawattamie624570
Sioux369125
Webster357833
Cerro Gordo351544
Marshall347846
Clinton327540
Buena Vista304114
Des Moines287920
Muscatine286468
Warren279611
Plymouth274242
Wapello255071
Jones229813
Jasper217443
Marion204320
Lee202217
Carroll197322
Bremer194212
Henry18227
Crawford174316
Benton169519
Tama153840
Jackson144313
Delaware143221
Washington140214
Dickinson138210
Boone136311
Mahaska126727
Wright12336
Clay11714
Buchanan116410
Hardin115010
Page11294
Clayton11105
Hamilton11059
Cedar107413
Harrison106729
Calhoun10617
Kossuth10566
Floyd104116
Mills10407
Fayette103310
Lyon10268
Butler10116
Poweshiek98913
Winneshiek96212
Iowa94612
Winnebago91723
Hancock8607
Louisa85816
Sac8578
Grundy85611
Chickasaw8494
Cherokee8374
Cass80823
Allamakee79911
Mitchell7884
Appanoose78710
Humboldt7695
Union7676
Shelby76211
Emmet76024
Guthrie75215
Franklin73521
Jefferson7112
Madison6804
Unassigned6620
Palo Alto6514
Keokuk5967
Pocahontas5574
Howard5529
Greene5220
Osceola5211
Ida48713
Clarke4824
Taylor4643
Montgomery46211
Davis4619
Monroe44312
Adair4408
Monona4332
Fremont3573
Van Buren3555
Worth3550
Lucas3236
Decatur3160
Wayne2987
Audubon2952
Ringgold2112
Adams1692
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