Feb. 12, 2021 -- Former President Donald Trump’s condition after being diagnosed with COVID-19 in early October was more worrisome than portrayed for the public, The New York Times reports, citing four unnamed people familiar with his condition.
The Times said Trump had lower blood oxygen levels than his doctor reported; that X-rays found lung infiltrates, which can be a sign of an acute case of the virus; and that officials considered putting Trump on a ventilator at one point.
The Times also cited an unnamed person “close to the former president” who denied Trump had ever been seriously ill.
Trump announced his positive coronavirus diagnosis by Twitter early on Oct. 2 and checked into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center later that day. While at the hospital, he tweeted a video to the public and took a ride in a sports utility vehicle to wave at supporters outside the hospital. He was discharged Oct. 5 and returned to the White House, saying he was never seriously ill and urging people to not be “afraid” of the virus.
The newspaper said Trump’s oxygen levels dipped into the 80s during his bout with COVID-19. Generally, a blood oxygen level lower than 89% means a person may not have enough oxygen in their blood to meet the body's needs.
His doctor, Sean Conley, DO, told reporters at a news conference in October that the president’s blood oxygen levels had dropped, but he never said they went into the 80s. At one point, he said Trump’s blood oxygen levels were below 94%.
The Times also said X-rays found Trump had lung infiltrates, which the newspaper says “occur when the lungs are inflamed and contain substances such as fluid or bacteria.” Lung infiltrates can be a sign of an acute case of coronavirus, especially when combined with other symptoms.
Conley told reporters Trump had X-rays but the findings were “nothing of a major concern.”
Two officials believed Trump would need to be put on a ventilator even before he went to Walter Reed, two of the people familiar with his condition told the Times.
Conley said Trump was given supplemental oxygen twice before going to Walter Reed.
Conley also said Trump received the steroid dexamethasone. The Times said dexamethasone “is usually recommended only for Covid-19 patients who have severe or critical forms of the disease, often those who need mechanical ventilation or supplemental oxygen.”
Trump also received the antimalarial drug remdesivir and Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody drug combination, though the latter had not been authorized by the FDA at the time. Trump said the drug greatly helped in his recovery.