BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday was administered supplemental oxygen at the White House hours after being diagnosed with COVID-19 and before being flown to a military hospital.
A person familiar with Trump’s condition confirmed that Trump was given oxygen at the White House, after the president’s physician, Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley, sidestepped the question at a press briefing Saturday. Conley said Trump was not administered oxygen on Thursday or since he has been a patient at Walter Reed Medical Center.
According to a person familiar with Trump’s condition, some of Trump’s vital signs over the past 24 hours were “very concerning.” The person, who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care.
Conley had said Trump has been fever-free for 24 hours as he updated the nation on the president’s condition from Walter Reed Saturday afternoon. Trump was admitted Friday after testing positive for the coronavirus and has been undergoing treatment.
While Conley said the president is not currently on oxygen, he refused to say whether the president had ever been on oxygen, despite repeated questioning.
“Thursday no oxygen. None at this moment. And yesterday with the team, while we were all here, he was not on oxygen,” he said. He said that Trump’s symptoms, including a cough and nasal congestion “are now resolving and improving.”
“He’s in exceptionally good spirits,” said another doctor, Sean Dooley.
The administration has consistently been less than transparent about the president’s health as the virus spread inside the White House. Aides had declined to share basic health information about the president, including a full accounting of his symptoms, what tests he’s undertaken and the results. The first word that a close aide to Trump had been infected came from the media, not the White House.
In a memo released shortly before midnight, Conley did report that Trump had been treated at the hospital with remdesivir, an antiviral medication, after taking another experimental drug at the White House. He added that Trump is “doing very well” and is “not requiring any supplemental oxygen.”
The White House said Trump was expected to stay at the hospital for “a few days” out of an abundance of caution and that he would continue to work from the hospital’s presidential suite, which is equipped to allow him to keep up his official duties. In addition to accessibility to tests and equipment, the decision was made, at least in part, with the understanding that moving him later, if he took a turn for the worse, could send a worrying signal.