President Donald Trump is currently being treated with the steroid dexamethasone after experiencing two episodes of low oxygen levels, his medical team told reporters on Sunday. However, he could be discharged for treatment at the White House as soon as tomorrow, a physician said.
During a press conference at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday morning, the President’s medical team shared more details about Trump’s treatment for COVID-19. After yesterday’s briefing, White House physician Sean Conley was criticized for apparently evading questions. Today, he continued to avoid directly answering crucial questions about the President’s illness, including whether the Trump has suffered damage to his lungs.
Conley acknowledged that the President experienced two periods of low oxygen levels. The first episode was on late Friday morning, when Conley said the President was running a high fever and oxygen levels below 94%, but did not feel short of breath. The President was then put on oxygen, and his oxygen saturation levels soon rose to over 95%, Conley said. Then on Saturday, the President’s oxygen levels dipped to about 93%, Conley said.
As a result of the periods of low oxygen, the President’s medical team decided to treat Trump with dexamethasone, said Dr. Brian Garibaldi, a pulmonary and critical care specialist from Johns Hopkins University. The National Institutes of Health recommends the drug for hospitalized COVID-19 patients who require supplemental oxygen or are on ventilators. The President also received a second dose of remdesivir, an anti-viral drug, last night, and his doctors have not detected side effects, Garibaldi said.
Garibaldi added that the President “feels well” today, and that if he continues to look and feel as well as he does today, he could be discharged as soon as tomorrow.
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During the press conference Conley also addressed his previous reluctance to say whether the President had even been placed on oxygen over the course of his illness. Hours after yesterday’s conference, the Associated Press reported that the President had been put on supplemental oxygen on Friday.
“I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the President, that his course of illness has had,” Conley said. “I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction and in doing so it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true.”
However, on Sunday Conley again omitted additional details about Trump’s condition. He said the physicians are “tracking” whether the President has pneumonia or lung damage, but did not explain specifically what doctors had discovered, stating, “There are some expected findings, but nothing of any major clinical concern.”
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