Is Biden White House leaking Trump's health info? Ex-POTUS was much sicker with Covid-19 than believed: Report

The NYT reported the former president was a lot sicker with coronavirus than he made it out to be, citing 'four people familiar with Trump’s condition'


                            Is Biden White House leaking Trump's health info? Ex-POTUS was much sicker with Covid-19 than believed: Report
Joe Biden (L), Donald Trump (Getty Images)

There is widespread speculation whether President Joe Biden's administration is leaking health information about former President Donald Trump to the press after a bombshell report by the New York Times. In October, Trump was taken to Walter Reed Medical Center to receive treatment for Covid-19. At the time, the former President assured reporters he was "doing very well" and was seen walking without medical assistance to board the Marine One for Walter Reed.

U.S. 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. (Getty Images)

Reports at the time stated Trump was only experiencing mild symptoms of the disease with low-grade fever and congestion before he was taken to the hospital. It then emerged that the 45th POTUS experienced a "high fever" later that night and that his blood oxygen levels had dropped twice. Trump was treated with the steroid dexamethasone combined with Remdesivir, an antiviral drug, and was discharged from the hospital a few days later. Now, the Biden White House is being accused of leaking information about Trump to the New York Times.

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The newspaper made waves as it published a report claiming the former president was a lot sicker with coronavirus than he made it out to be, citing “four people familiar with Trump’s condition." The New York Times said two of the people familiar with Trump's condition said his "prognosis became so worrisome" before he was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that some doctors felt he would "need to be put on a ventilator."

"The people familiar with Mr. Trump’s health said he was found to have lung infiltrates, which occur when the lungs are inflamed and contain substances such as fluid or bacteria," the newspaper noted. "Their presence, especially when a patient is exhibiting other symptoms, can be a sign of an acute case of the disease. They can be easily spotted on an X-ray or scan when parts of the lungs appear opaque, or white."

The Times stated that people familiar with Trump's evaluation believed his blood oxygen level itself was cause for "extreme concern" as it dipped "into the 80s." COVID-19 is deemed severe when the blood oxygen levels fall below the 90s.

U.S. President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the South Lawn of the White House on October 2, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

It's worth noting that Trump's doctors were bound by HIPAA -- the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which includes privacy protections designed to shield personal health information from being disclosed without a patient’s consent. Speaking to KHN, Joy Pritts, a consultant in Washington, D.C. and a former privacy official in the Obama administration, explained that "the default rule under HIPAA is that health care providers may not disclose a patient’s health information. Period."

And since Trump was a patient, his doctors are legally bound from sharing his medical information without his consent. Meanwhile, it is important to note that patients can also allow some medical information to be released while demanding that other bits remain private. This was probably why former White House physician Dr. Sean Conley gave the public only select details about Trump's COVID-19 status. The former president could "pick and choose what he wants to disclose,” Pritts told KHN. 

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