White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows disclosed that President Donald Trump’s condition was far worse than officials had made public, saying doctors recommended the president go to the hospital after seeing he had a fever and his blood oxygen level dropped rapidly.
Meadows’ comments on Saturday capped two days of conflicting and opaque assessments of the 74-year-old president’s health since he was hospitalized for coronavirus disease.
“I can tell you this the biggest thing we see is with no fever now, and with him doing really well with his oxygen saturation levels,” Meadows told Fox host Jeanine Pirro. “Yesterday morning we were really concerned by that. He had a fever, and his oxygen level had dropped rapidly. Yet in typical style, this president was up and walking around.”
White House officials said that Trump was experiencing “mild symptoms” on Friday when doctors from Walter Reed and Johns Hopkins recommended that Trump go to the hospital.
“He’s made unbelievable improvements from yesterday morning when I know a number of us, the doctor and I, were very concerned,” Meadow.
Trump’s physicians have been monitoring his heart rate, the level of oxygen in his blood, his respiratory rate and his blood pressure since he was diagnosed, said Priya Sampathkumar, an infectious-disease physician and head of infection prevention and control at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The trends in those results are critical, she said.
The president’s most fervid supporters across the country reacted to his illness with a fatalistic shrug about what that meant for him and for them, as hundreds of maskless supporters gathered shoulder to shoulder for rallies while Trump battled the coronavirus at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
“If the leader of the free world can get this, I think it’s kind of silly for the rest of us to pretend a $3 handkerchief from Walmart is going to protect us,” said Brian Westrate, the Wisconsin Republican Party treasurer who believes the coronavirus is a real threat and complies with a statewide mask mandate but is a “skeptic of the societal response.”
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, who has tested positive for the coronavirus, launched “Operation MAGA” on Saturday with plans to send Vice President Pence, Trump’s children and other top surrogates out across the country to campaign for the president.
“If this virus can get into the Oval, into the body of the president, there’s no place where it could not possibly infect one of our fellow Americans,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who pointed to Trump’s illness as reason for the country to continue to reopen schools and businesses.
“There is no lockdown that can be a panacea to save everyone from everything, and this is proof positive that’s the case,” said Gaetz.
Trump often did not wear a mask or take other measures aimed at avoiding infection from the pandemic, which has killed more than 208,000 Americans so far.
White House physician Sean Conley, said Trump has had no fever since Friday morning and could be discharged as early as tomorrow but other officials admitted that they have been dishonest about the president’s condition.
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