A Thursday report from The New York Times claims that Donald Trump’s condition while hospitalized with the coronavirus at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was much direr than previously believed.
The publication cited four people familiar with Trump’s condition, two of which suggested there were concerns among medical officials that he would require a ventilator. Despite these concerns, initial reporting suggested that Trump’s state was not believed to be an emergency.
“The people familiar with Mr. Trump’s health said he was found to have lung infiltrates, which occur when the lungs are inflamed and contain substances such as fluid or bacteria,” the report read.
“Their presence, especially when a patient is exhibiting other symptoms, can be a sign of an acute case of the disease. They can be easily spotted on an X-ray or scan, when parts of the lungs appear opaque, or white.”
In addition, Trump’s blood oxygen level allegedly entered the 80s — lower than the bar of “low 90s” that The New York Times said is used to gauge when a case of COVID-19 is considered severe.
“The new revelations about Mr. Trump’s struggle with the virus also underscore the limited and sometimes misleading nature of the information disclosed at the time about his condition,” the publication wrote.
Notably, Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley, reportedly downplayed the severity of the real estate mogul’s illness and denied the presence of pneumonia or damage to lung tissue. Conley later admitted that he initially gave a positive version of Trump’s health and did not want to release information that could push the illness in a negative direction.
Still, some experts speculated about the severity of Trump’s health after it was revealed he was administered dexamethasone — a medication that is typically only used to boost blood oxygen levels in severe cases of COVID-19. When pressed about Trump’s blood oxygen during his hospitalization, Conley seemingly evaded the question and said his current level was 98.
In addition to dexamethasone, Trump’s recovery was bolstered with the help of the Regeneron antibody cocktail — which was not approved by the Food and Drug Administration at the time — and the antiviral drug remdesivir.
Despite his eventual recovery, Trump appeared to struggle shortly after returning to the White House. At one point, while standing on the White House balcony to greet supporters, he appeared to be using his neck muscles to help him breathe. Per The New York Times, some doctors noted that this is a sign that a person’s lungs are not receiving enough oxygen.