Donald Trump went through a “very concerning” period on Friday and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care as he battles coronavirus, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has said.
Trump is mobile, has been fever-free for 24 hours and his cough, nasal congestion and fatigue are improving, physician Sean Conley said during the first update since the president was admitted to Walter Reed military medical center near Washington on Friday.
Trump, 74, is not receiving extra oxygen, he added, and is “doing very well”.
A second doctor, Sean Dooley, said the president’s cardiac, kidney and liver function were “normal”.
But a source familiar with the president’s health – later named in US media as White House chief of staff Mark Meadows – gave a much more worrying assessment.
“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,” he said.
“We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”
The White House has not commented officially and Meadows had asked to speak off-the-record before his name appeared as the source in The New York Times and other US outlets.
In one encouraging sign, Trump began tweeting again on Saturday, reassuring that he was “feeling well” and praising hospital staff.
But Conley was evasive when asked whether the president had received supplementary oxygen at any point since falling ill, only confirming that he hadn’t received any at the hospital or on Thursday – the day of his positive test.
Several US media outlets said Trump was on oxygen at the White House on Friday before being admitted to Walter Reed.
Conley added to the confusion by suggesting that Trump had been diagnosed on Wednesday – not on Thursday, per the official account – but he later said he had misspoken.
Soon after Trump arrived at the hospital, Conley said in a memo the president was starting a course of therapeutic drug remdesivir and had received an eight-gram dose of an experimental antibody cocktail.
Neither Trump’s doctors nor the White House explained why the president was taking unproven drugs if his progress was satisfactory.
A handful of supporters set up outside the hospital from early Saturday, one waving an American flag, cheered on by the honking horns of passing cars.
The former vice-president, who stood on a stage with Trump for 90 minutes during their ill-tempered first debate Tuesday, announced that he and his wife Jill tested negative Friday.
Biden reminded voters during the debate that he has pushed consistently for a serious approach to the coronavirus, which has killed more than 208,000 Americans, unlike his opponent who has mocked the Democrat for his rigorous use of masks. Source: AFP