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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Photos: Trump walks across White House lawn after COVID-19 diagnosis

  • President Donald Trump left the White House on Friday for Water Reed Medical Center, where he will be admitted after testing positive for COVID-19. He wore a mask.
  • Trump and the First Lady went into self-quarantine after testing positive for the virus early Friday morning, but the White House announced he developed a fever and cough later in the day and would be taken to the hospital for a “few days.”
  • Trump left the White House Friday evening, walking across the south lawn to board Marine One without assistance.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump departed the White House Friday evening for Walter Reed Medical Center, where he will be admitted for a “few days” after testing positive for COVID-19 and developing symptoms.

Trump boarded the presidential helicopter, Marine One, after walking across the south lawn without assistance from staff. He wore a mask while making the walk.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days,” the White House said in a statement.

Trump will remain at the military hospital at the doctor’s recommendation and is expected to undergo additional testing, though it is unclear which tests he’ll be given. The White House said he’s not in serious condition and plans to work from an executive office suite inside the facility.

The president announced via Twitter early Friday morning that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19, just hours after Bloomberg and other media outlets reported that his close adviser, Hope Hicks, had also contracted the disease. Trump said he and the First Lady had gone into self-quarantine while awaiting results.

White House physician Sean Conley said in a memo Trump was “fatigued but in good spirits,” while news outlets reported Friday that he is also experiencing a low-grade fever and a cough.

Trump is not the first president to stay overnight at Walter Reed. President Ronald Reagan stayed the night in the hospital in 1989 after a minor surgery to correct a condition that caused a curvature of the ring finger on his left hand.

But Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis is the most serious medical condition a president has faced since Reagan was shot in 1981. Reagan received treatment at George Washington University Hospital.

Watch C-SPAN’s video of Marine One lifting off from the White House lawn Friday.

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