Was Trump's Covid-19 condition worse than he admitted? Officials felt he would be put on ventilator: Report

Was Trump's Covid-19 condition worse than he admitted? Officials felt he would be put on ventilator: Report
Former President Donald J Trump's coronavirus condition was so alarming that some officials thought he would need ventilator support (Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump put up a strong face after getting diagnosed with coronavirus in early October last year and it has been reported that he was much sicker than what the White House publicly said at the time, so much so that some officials were worried that he would need ventilator support. 

The New York Times on Thursday, February 11, cited four sources informed with Trump’s then condition to report that the Republican had “extremely depressed blood oxygen levels” besides a lung problem, which is generally associated with pneumonia caused by Covid-19. Trump was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he underwent treatment for many days after testing positive for the virus. It was a crucial time with the 2020 presidential election just around a month away and the White House then said that the former president aged 74 was “fatigued but in good spirits”



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Dr Sean Conley, who was in charge to see Trump overcome his sickness, was slammed for his ambiguous statements on the president’s condition one day after he was admitted to the hospital. When asked about the president’s oxygen levels, Conley said Trump was “doing very well” and there was “no cause for concern”. 


A supporter of President Donald Trump holds a campaign sign through the moonroof of a car as they drive past Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after the President was admitted for treatment of COVID-19 on October 4, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Getty Images)

But the NYT report said the officials found Trump’s prognosis so alarming before he went to the Bethesda center that they feared he would have to be put on a ventilator. Two sources familiar with the former president’s condition said he had lung infiltrates which could be a sign of severe illness in people having Covid-19 and showing other symptoms. Trump’s blood oxygen levels were reportedly a concern as they plummeted into the 80s – far lower than even the low 90s, which is considered a severe case. Trump was administered the experimental drug Regeneron while at the White House. But former first lady Melania Trump, who also tested positive, turned it down, according to the NYT report.  


Trump went out of the hospital to drive by his supporters

The former president, however, decided to make a surprise drive-by visit to supporters outside the Bethesda medical center a couple of days after his admission to boost them. He was criticized for the act, particularly for endangering the health of at least two secret service personnel who accompanied him inside the closed vehicle that took him for the short drive to greet his supporters outside the hospital. The doctors were not impressed with Trump and James Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed, called the stunt “insanity”. The president also allegedly sent pizzas to his supporters who assembled outside the hospital in large numbers praying for his recovery. 


Former President Donald Trump removes his mask upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 05, 2020, in Washington, DC. Trump spent three days hospitalized for coronavirus. (Getty Images)

Trump, who stayed at the center for three days, posed before the media to put up a "superhuman" face after returning to the White House. He climbed up the South Portico stairs instead of taking the elevators and took off his mask while standing on the portico facing South Lawns for a few minutes. He also saluted Marine One. His loyalists said Trump was strong and upbeat. 

Trump also downplayed the Covid-19 virus on his return to the White House and compared the coronavirus with flu. On Twitter where he is banned now, the former president said: “Flu season is coming up! Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid.” He also suggested that his own recovery proved that the virus was not as severe a threat as public officials made it look like. 

“You’re going to beat it [coronavirus] … As your leader, I had to do that. I knew there’s danger to it, but I had to do it. I stood out front, and led,” the former president said. Trump's illness saw the second presidential debate which was scheduled to be held on October 15 getting canceled as he refused to join a virtual debate which was proposed by the Commission on Presidential Debates. 

More than 475,000 people have died of the virus in the US so far while 27.3 million have been affected -- the most in any country in the word. Trump’s alleged failure in dealing with the pandemic is one of the reasons why he fell short of a victory in his re-election bid against President Joe Biden in the 2020 battle.


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 Donald Trump far sicker Covid19 coronavirus admitted Walter Reed oxygen ventilator report Bethesda