The confusing and contradictory statements about Trump’s health

Information about President Trump’s condition has been incomplete, confusing and, at times, contradictory since early Friday morning when the commander in chief announced that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Trump’s medical team, led by White House physician Sean Conley, has been criticized for painting a rosy portrait of Trump’s condition Saturday, without disclosing that the president had been given supplemental oxygen or put on a steroid that is usually reserved for severely ill coronavirus patients.

[Trump returns to White House, downplaying virus that hospitalized him]

“I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, over his course of illness, has had,” Conley said. “I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction. And in doing so, you know, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true. … The fact of the matter is that he’s doing really well.”

Conley and his team cleared Trump to be discharged from the hospital Monday evening, though many experts note that the president is still at a stage in the illness when patients are prone to unexpected complications, and Conley himself acknowledged that he wouldn’t take a “final deep sigh of relief” until early next week.

Mixed signals on the severity of Trump’s illness

Trump and his doctors have repeatedly assured the public that all is well, though Robert Wachter, chairman of the University of California at San Francisco’s department of medicine, told The Washington Post that, based on the details we know about the president’s hospitalization and treatment, it seemed unwise to discharge him from the hospital.

“For someone sick enough to have required remdesivir and dexamethasone, I can’t think of a situation in which a patient would be okay to leave on Day 3, even with the White House’s medical capacity,” he said.

Conley and his team have also refused to discuss the president’s lung scans, saying only that “there’s some expected findings, but nothing of any major clinical concern.”

Statements are from Trump’s doctors, President Trump or other White House officials.

Friday Oct. 2
Friday afternoon
Friday evening
I’m going to Walter Reed hospital. I think I’m doing very well. President Trump
Saturday Oct. 3
Saturday evening
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. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery. Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff
Saturday night
President Trump continues to do well, having made substantial progress since diagnosis. This evening he completed the second dose of Remdesivir without complication. Sean Conley
Sunday Oct. 4
Sunday morning
The President has experienced two episodes of transient drops in his oxygen saturation … It was the determination of the team … that we initiate Dexamethasone. Sean Conley
Sunday morning
[Asked why he was
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White House physician walks back a confusing timeline of Trump’s coronavirus infection that implied he was diagnosed days before announcing his test results



a man wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump disembarks from the Marine One helicopter followed by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows as he arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after the White House announced that he "will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days" after testing positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Joshua Roberts/Reuters


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President Donald Trump disembarks from the Marine One helicopter followed by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows as he arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after the White House announced that he “will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days” after testing positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Joshua Roberts/Reuters

White House physician Sean Conley offered a new timeline for the president’s coronavirus infection during a press briefing Saturday morning. He later walked back the statement.

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Conley held the briefing to review President Donald Trump’s condition after he was hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday evening. The physician said Trump’s condition had improved, but he also said the president’s COVID-19 infection had been identified a day earlier than previously thought.

“Just 72 hours into the diagnosis now,” Conley said. “The first week of COVID, and in particular days 7 to 10, are the most critical in determining the likely course of this illness.”

That would mean that Trump had been diagnosed on Wednesday.

Dr. Brian Garibaldi, a physician on the team caring for the president at Walter Reed, also said that Trump had received an experimental antibody treatment “48 hours ago,” which would be roughly Thursday morning.

This was a different timeline than the one constructed by incremental statements from the White House. Trump announced his positive test results early Friday morning, and the White House disclosed his experimental antibody treatment later that day.

When asked to clarify, Conley contradicted his earlier statement.

“Thursday afternoon following the news of a close contact is when we repeated testing, and given kind of clinical indications had a little bit more concern. And that’s when late that night we got the PCR confirmation that he was [positive],” he said.

Shortly after the briefing, Conley released a statement retracting his initial timeline from the press briefing, saying he “incorrectly” said 72 hours instead of “day three” and 48 hours instead of “day two.” (Even though Garibaldi said “48 hours,” not Conley himself.)

“The President was first diagnosed with COVID-19 on the evening of Thursday, October 1st and had received Regeron’s antibody cocktail on Friday, October 2nd,” the statement said.

The company that makes the antibody treatment is called Regeneron.

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