It may seem obvious the country’s leader would receive extra attention and the best care possible. But some of the treatment he’s getting isn’t even available to the general public.
“Of course, this is the President of the USA. He is going to get the kitchen sink thrown at him medically, offered all there is — whether it’s authorized under emergency use or not, in the case of the antibody treatment,” epidemiologist Dr. Seema Yasmin said.
“But then there are (almost) 210,000 Americans who have died over the past few months because the pandemic response has been so bad. And they certainly didn’t get access to this kind of treatment.”
Trump may be ‘the only patient on the planet’ to get these 3 drugs
In addition to the experimental antibody therapy, Trump was also given remdesivir and dexamethasone.
“The President might be the only patient on the planet ever to receive this particular combination of medicines,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University.
Remdesivir is administered by IV, so patients are typically hospitalized when getting the five-day course. But a special exception might be made for Trump, who could receive the rest of his remdesivir at the White House.
“Our hope is that we can plan for discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House, where he can continue his treatment course,” one of Trump’s doctors, Dr. Brian Garibaldi, said Sunday.
Some patients who have benefited from dexamethasone still die less than a month later, Reiner said.
“But to show you what the stakes are, the patients in that trial who received dexamethasone and derived a benefit still had a 23% 28-day mortality rate. So almost a quarter of the patients treated with dexamethasone were dead by a month out,” Reiner said.
“So the only conclusion one can make from this triple therapy is that the President’s physicians feel that he’s in grave danger.”
Abundant access to testing
The White House has cited Trump’s frequent testing as a reason why he didn’t need to wear a mask in public. But health experts have said that’s flawed logic.
Another physician, Dr. Brian Garibaldi, said Trump was treated with an experimental antibody therapy “about 48 hours ago,” which would have been midday Thursday.
After widespread concerns about that timeline and Trump’s fundraising trip, Conley released a statement saying he meant to say Trump was on his third day of illness Saturday, not that he was diagnosed on Wednesday.
McEnany insisted Trump first tested positive after returning from New Jersey on Thursday.
“It’s important for us to know for his condition, and also for the purposes of contact tracing, to safeguard the health of others around him … not only his senior staff, but also the wait staff, the Secret Service agents, the people who attended his rallies,” Wen said.
“Those people matter, too.”
The lack of details about Trump’s recent testing also means “we don’t actually know what is the course of the President’s illness because we don’t know when he last tested negative,” Wen said.
“If he were actually getting daily tests — let’s say he got a negative test on Wednesday and a positive test on Thursday — then we should be alarmed by how quickly the President is progressing, how quickly his symptoms are developing,” she said.
“But if in fact he had a negative test much earlier, and perhaps a positive test even earlier, too, then that course of the illness actually makes more sense.”
Despite his advantages, Trump’s Covid-19 battle could be lengthy
Even if Trump is deemed fit to be discharged from the hospital soon, that doesn’t mean his fight with Covid-19 is over.
Some patients “seem to be doing OK initially. In fact, many of these patients may get discharged from the hospitals when they first come in,” Wen said.
“But then they go home, and they return because they worsen over time. Actually the median time, from when somebody first starts getting symptoms to when they may need ICU care — if they end up in the intensive care unit — is 10 to 12 days,” she said.
“So we should be relieved that the President is doing well for now, if that’s indeed the case. But we should not be breathing a sigh of relief quite yet because there’s still some time to come.”
CNN’s Jen Christensen, Jamie Gumbrecht, Maggie Fox, Shelby Lin Erdman and Jacqueline Howard contributed to this report.