‘Trump not yet on clear path to recovery’

PRESIDENT Donald Trump is not yet on a clear path to recovery from COVID-19 and some of his vital signs over the last 24 hours were very concerning, a person familiar with the situation told reporters.

The source, who asked not to be identified, said the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of Trump’s care. The assessment seemed at odds with that of Trump’s doctor during a brief press conference.

The president’s doctor said Trump was “doing very well” and is fever-free at a military hospital on Saturday a day after he tested positive for COVID-19.

But a person familiar with the situation said some of Trump’s vital signs over the last 24 hours were very concerning, and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care.

Trump was moved to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center near Washington on Friday just hours after his diagnosis, an extraordinary development that upended the U.S. presidential race a month before the Nov. 3 election.

White House doctor Sean P. Conley told reporters outside the hospital on Saturday that Trump had not experienced difficulty breathing, and had not been given supplemental oxygen.

“The team and I are extremely happy with the progress the president has made,” Conley said.

The White House has said Trump, 74, will work in a special suite at the hospital for the next few days as a precautionary measure. He had no public events scheduled on Saturday.

The diagnosis was the latest setback for the Republican president, who is trailing Democratic rival Joe Biden in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Trump has downplayed the threat of the coronavirus pandemic from the outset, even as the disease has killed more than 200,000 Americans and hammered the U.S. economy.

Conley said Trump had received a first dose of a five-day course of Remdesivir, an intravenous antiviral drug sold by Gilead Sciences Inc that has been shown to shorten hospital stays. He is also taking an experimental treatment, Regeneron’s REGN-COV2, one of several experimental COVID-19 drugs known as monoclonal antibodies, as well as zinc, Vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and aspirin, Conley has said.

Trump announced on Twitter early on Friday that he and the first lady, Melania Trump, had contracted the virus.

He is at high risk because of his age and weight. He has remained in apparent good health during his time in office but is not known to exercise regularly or to follow a healthy diet.

A number of other prominent Republicans also tested positive on Friday, including former White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway and Republican Senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis.

On Saturday, a third senator was diagnosed with COVID-19: Republican Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie also said he tested positive.

Vice President Mike Pence, who would take over presidential duties if Trump became severely ill, tested negative, a spokesman said. The former Indiana governor, 61, is working from his own residence about three miles from the White House. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.