President Donald Trump was sicker than he admitted when he had COVID-19 in October, with officials fearing he would need to be put on a ventilator.
The New York Times reported new details Thursday about Trump’s condition – and revealed the effort to get him experimental drugs not available to the American public.
The White House announced that the president and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus on October 1, after Bloomberg News had reported that top aide Hope Hicks had experienced symptoms on Air Force One the night before.
Hicks also received a positive test. The whole group was returning from a campaign rally.
President Donald Trump gives reporters a thumbs up as he walks to Marine One to go to Walter Reed to be treated for COVID-19 on October 2. The Times reported Thursday new details about Trump’s COVID case, including officials feared he may need to be put on a ventilator
President Donald Trump took a ride around the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he was being treated for COVID-19 in early October
The night before that, Trump and the first lady had traveled to Cleveland so he could participate in the first presidential debate against Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
The Trump White House refused to tell the public when Trump had received his last negative COVID-19 test – something that remains a mystery.
New details The Times shared include that Trump was found to have lung infiltrates, which are often a marker of acute disease. His lungs could have contained fluid or bacteria, easily spotted on an X-ray or scan because the lungs look opaque or white.
The newspaper also reported that Trump’s blood oxygen level was dangerously low – in the 80s.
Even numbers in the low 90s are considered dangerous for COVID-19 patients.
In both these instances, Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, had painted a rosier picture.
Conley was asked if there was evidence of pneumonia or damage to Trump’s lungs and he replied there were ‘expected findings, but nothing of any major clinical concern.’
President Donald Trump returns to the White House after being hospitalized with COVID-19 at Walter Reed Medical Center. The Times reported that his case was worse than he said
The New York Times’ reporting further proves that Dr. Sean Conley was painting a rosier picture of President Donald Trump’s condition when he had COVID-19 in early October
President Donald Trump’s supporters gathered outside Walter Reed Medical Center while he was hospitalized at the facility
He also reported that Trump’s blood oxygen level had dipped to the low 90s – not the 80s as The Times’ sources said.
Trump received the treatment Regeneron while still at the White House.
The Times reported that White House officials scrambled to get Trump the antibody cocktail the night of October 1, when his diagnosis was made public.
Patrick Philbin, a top lawyer in the White House Counsel’s Office, phoned Food and Drug Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and asked how the agency could approve the drug’s use for two senior administration officials.
Philbin did not name the Trumps as those officials, The Times report said.
The lawyer also told Hahn that Regeneron had agreed to hand over the doses.
DID HE HAVE COVID THEN? One of the outstanding mysteries of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus battle was when he last had a negative COVID-19 test. The White House refused to divulge and he had been with rival Joe Biden two nights before on the debate stage
Hahn, Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, the top federal drug regulator and other FDA officials cleared the drug’s use through a process called an emergency investigational new drug application.
That process is used for very sick patients who agree to an experimental treatment whlie a drug is still going through clinical trials.
The agency will look at the medical records for the intended patients to determine if the risks outweigh the benefits.
Regeneron shipped a package of its cocktail to the White House and included extra doses ‘in case of any administration issues,’ The Times report said.
The extras were never returned to the company, with Conley at one point saying they were sitting in the fridge of the White House medical office.
The Times also reported that Melania Trump turned down the drug, which a person close to the former president denied.