WASHINGTON, DC, October 4, 2020 (ENS) – President Donald Trump is in a military hospital under treatment for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. A statement from the president’s physician Sean Conley, DO, a U.S. Navy commander, says he was first diagnosed with COVID-19 on the evening of Thursday, October 1. He complained of fatigue and feeling run down, and on Friday, still at the White House, he was given supplemental oxygen.

The president’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters Saturday that Trump’s symptoms during the past 24 hours had been “very concerning” and that the next 48 hours will be “critical.”

With worsening symptoms throughout the day, on Friday evening President Trump walked out of the White House to his waiting helicopter for the short trip to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He was admitted to the Presidential Suite, where he is being treated to control the virus.

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President Donald Trump released a video Saturday from Walter Reed Medical Center in which he says he is feeling better and hopes to be back in the White House as soon as possible. Oct 3, 2020 (Screengrab from video courtesy President Donald Trump)

Trump was first treated with a mix of polyclonal antibodies the strengthen his resistance to the virus. After being admitted to Walter Reed, he was given an injection of Remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral medication.

Dr. Conley said Sunday that the President has received dexamethasone, a steroid used to treat inflammation in COVID-19 patients. He said the potential benefits of the steroid outweighed the risks.

Today, the president’s health appears to be improving. Speaking on the steps of the Walter Reed Medical Center, a team of doctors said Trump’s blood oxygen level had dropped suddenly twice in recent days, but he “has continued to improve” since then.

Dr. Conley said the president had a “high fever” and a blood oxygen level below 94 percent on Friday and during “another episode” on Saturday. Blood oxygen saturation is a key health marker for COVID-19 patients.

But then Dr. Conley said, “The fact of the matter is that he’s doing really well.”

Another of the president’s doctors, Dr. Brian Garibaldi, told reporters, “Our plan for today is to have him eat and drink, to be up out of bed as much as possible, to be mobile,” Garibaldi said. “And if he continues to look and feel as well as he does today, our hope is that we can plan for a discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House where he can continue his treatment course.”

First Lady Melania Trump, who also tested positive, is fighting the virus in the White House residence.

The Trumps contracted the virus at a time when the highly infectious disease is surging across the country.

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, warned on Tuesday that the United States could see more than a doubling of current tallies of new cases every 24 hours. “We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day,” Fauci told “The Hill” newspaper. “I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around. And so I am very concerned.”

Virus Spreads Among Republicans

An increasing number of people in and around the White House and elected Republicans have tested positive for the virus. Since the virus broke out early in the year, many Republicans have denied that it exists, called it a hoax, and took the attitude that wearing masks and social distancing were unnecessary.

But COVID-19 teaches its own lessons.

Republican Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina this week announced they have tested positive for the virus.

Both senators attended an event Saturday, September 26 at the White House honoring the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Trump assembled more than 150 people in the Rose Garden, where they sat clsoe together, socialized, shook hands and hugged. Few attendees were wearing masks and no one observed social distancing.

Several others, including former senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, also tested positive on Friday after attending the Judge Barrett event at the White House.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who was also at the Barrett event, announced Saturday morning that he has tested positive. He has been hospitalized at Morristown Medical Center due to his history of asthsma. Christie helped the president prepare for his debate last Tuesday night with Democratic Challenger Joe Biden.

Many other people who spent time close to Trump this past week have also tested positive, and they too are spreading the disease.

Three Minnesota congressmen who flew on Air Force One with Trump boarded a commercial flight after the president tested positive for COVID-19.

Minnesota Republican Congressmen Pete Stauber, Tom Emmer, and Jim Hagedorn were on the same Delta Air Lines flight Friday, two days after they flew with the president aboard Air Force One, a Minneapolis newspaper, the “Star Tribune,” reported.

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Trump supporters gather outside Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, Oct 4, 2020 (Screengrab from video courtesy President Donald Trump)

Trump assessed his own status Saturday night in a video from his hospital suite, saying he was beginning to feel better and hoped to “be back soon.”

And he was back on Twitter early Sunday morning, sharing a video of flag-waving, sign-carrying supporters, most not wearing masks, gathered outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Well-wishes arrived from across the United States and around the world. Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden pulled all of his negative ads and sent a get-well-soon message to the president.

Former President Barack Obama tweeted, “Michelle and I hope that the President, First Lady, and all those affected by the coronavirus around the country are getting the care they need and are on the path to a speedy recovery.”

“COVID-19 is a battle we all continue to fight. Everyday. No matter where we live,” European Council President Charles Michel tweeted, wishing America’s First Couple a speedy recovery.

“President Trump and the first lady have paid the price for his gamble to play down the COVID-19,” tweeted Hu Xijin, editor in chief of China’s “Global Times” newspaper.

Although Trump has refused funding to the World Health Organization and in July pulled the United States out of the organization, WHO leader Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted, “My best wishes to President @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS for a full and speedy recovery.”

To date, the virus has killed more than 207,000 Americans and infected more than 7,256,000 million across the United States.  Globally, WHO reports 34,804,348 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 1,030,738 deaths.

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