‘He’s at a crossroads’: Medical expert discusses Trump’s health as he continues treatment for COVID-19
So, what is President Trump’s current COVID-19 diagnosis at Walter Reed Medical Center?
"The president has continued to improve," says his physician, Dr. Sean Conley. "There are frequent ups and downs, of course."
Since being admitted to the hospital on Friday, Trump has been working there in the Presidential Suite. His team says he could return to the White House as soon as Monday.
The president released a video statement Sunday afternoon in which he said, "We’re getting great reports from the doctors. This is an incredible hospital, Walter Reed, the work they do is absolutely amazing. I want to thank them all."
The president then briefly left the hospital for a drive-by greeting of supporters gathered outside. The White House said appropriate precautions were taken and his medical team approved.
But there also have been mixed messages.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Saturday that Trump is "still not on a clear path to full recovery."
KSTP Medical Expert Dr. Archelle Georgiou has been carefully watching recent developments with the president’s health.
"His symptoms seemed to progress over the weekend, not get better," she said. "He’s not having a mild case of COVID-19. So he is moderately ill with this illness."
For example, Conley said the president had only a "transient limited episode" of high fever and lower blood-oxygen levels.
"That means he’s not needing supplemental oxygen at this time," Georgiou said. "He did have times during his hospital stay so far where he has required additional oxygen, but it sounds like he doesn’t need it right now; that’s a very positive sign."
There were areas of concern.
The president actually had two episodes of falling oxygen saturation, one on Friday and again on Saturday.
"The lower it goes, the more dangerous it is because it means your tissues, your heart, your lungs, your brain are not getting enough oxygen," Georgiou said.
Conley admitted he had withheld that information from reporters on Friday.
"I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, that his course of illness has had," he said. "I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction. And in doing so, you know, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true."
Conley says Trump got about an hour of supplemental oxygen to help.
In addition, doctors are using synthetic antibodies and the drug remdesivir to decrease inflammation, and steroids, to help his lungs battle COVID-19 symptoms.
But his medical team found "expected findings" in CT scans on the president — a warning sign, Georgiou said.
"It indicates that the virus is causing inflammation that’s getting in the way to breathe properly," she said.
So there is a mix, Georgiou believes, of good and bad news for the president.
"I don’t think it’s a smooth-sailing clinical case at this point," she said. "I think he’s at a crossroads, and only his body and his body’s response to this infection is going to tell us what is going to happen."
She doubts that the president will return to the White House on Monday and said the next few days are crucial ones for the president’s health.
"We know the COVID gets worse throughout the first five to seven days," Georgiou says. "He hasn’t reached that point yet, so we can’t say confidently he’s going to turn the corner now. So it’s a wait and see. Keep listening, and hope he does well."