New details suggest that President Donald Trump may have learned about his positive COVID-19 diagnosis earlier than he originally stated, potentially putting many others around him at risk.
Trump is currently at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where he arrived Friday night.
In a press conference Saturday, his team of doctors, led by White House physician Dr. Sean Conley, told reporters that Trump was “improving” and “doing very well,” but refused to provide any specifics.
However, a person with close knowledge of the Commander-in-Chief’s health nearly contradicted that message, on the condition of anonymity. “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care,” The New York Times quoted them as saying. “We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”
This, after the president’s oxygen levels reportedly dropped Friday. A source told CNN the president did receive supplemental oxygen then.
Conflicting reports and off-the-record briefings, hallmarks of this administration, have added a layer of confusion to the current status of the health of the president.
Conley also said Saturday that Trump was “72 hours into the virus,” which would mean he tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, and not on Friday as the president himself tweeted in the wee hours of that morning.
If that is the case, it suggests Trump knew his positive coronavirus diagnosis when he went to campaign events on Wednesday and Thursday—including one at his own golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Since then, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has warned everyone who was at the president’s campaign event to self-isolate for 14 days and to get tested. Murphy says contact-tracing is also underway.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is also currently one of the President’s current top campaign staffers, helped Trump prep for Tuesday’s first presidential debate in Ohio. He tweeted Saturday that he, too, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
This timeline could also mean Trump wasn’t forthright with the debate commission about testing negative for COVID-19 ahead of Tuesday night’s debate with Democratic Presidential Nominee, Joe Biden.
The pair remained 12 feet apart, and did not shake hands. During the bout, the president repeatedly mocked Biden for constantly wearing a mask when out in public. “I don’t wear masks like him,” he said. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away and shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen,” Trump said.
Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, both tested negative for COVID-19 twice Friday as they sent the Trump and First Lady Melania well wishes and continued along the campaign trail in Michigan.
Officials with the Commission on Presidential Debates say there was a low risk of transmission at Tuesday’s debate.
The Cleveland Clinic says they followed CDC guidelines for the event, including implementing temperature checks and hand sanitizing. “Individuals traveling with both candidates, including the candidates themselves, had been tested and tested negative by their respective campaigns,” the Cleveland Clinic said in a statement, according to Fox News. The outlet says they asked the Cleveland Clinic if either campaign provided proof of their negative diagnoses. They declined to comment.
In Trump’s own words Saturday afternoon, he updated the country on how he is feeling using his favorite social media platform.
“Doctors, Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed Medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING!!! Tremendous progress has been made over the last 6 month in fighting this PLAGUE. With their help, I am feeling well!” he tweeted.