President Donald Trump is spending several days at Walter Reed Military Hospital where he is being treated for COVID-19. He was brought there Friday evening as a precaution after he experienced a fever and other symptoms from the coronavirus that initially appeared to be worsening. Over the weekend, after he received various medications including the antiviral drug remdesivir and an antibody drug produced by Regeneron, the president’s condition was reportedly improving.
President Trump is living proof that therapeutic drugs can work to slow the progress of COVID-19 and hopefully prevent it from reaching a life-threatening stage. Remdesivir reportedly works by interfering with the virus’s ability to replicate itself. REGN-COV2 is described as an antibody cocktail that has been reportedly shown to reduce viral load. Both drugs are still experimental and undergoing clinical testing.
President Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, reported on Saturday that President Trump was “doing very well” and that his early symptoms, including a fever, had subsided. Dr. Conley said he was “extremely happy with the progress the president has made.” He also warned, however, that an “inflammatory phase” of the disease could lie ahead, which makes the next several days critical in determining whether the president is on the path of recovery or instead may be entering a more critical phase of the disease.
Also, on Saturday, President Trump appeared in a video posted to social media during which he admitted to not having felt well before he arrived at the hospital but said “I feel much better now.” He shared his personal experience with the disease that has “happened to millions of people all over the world.” The president pushed back at the notion that he had been too cavalier about the seriousness of the disease. “I had to be out front, and this is America,” he said. “As a leader, you have to confront problems.”
On Sunday, Dr. Conley told reporters that President Trump was continuing to do well. The president could be discharged from the Walter Reed medical center as early as Monday if he continues to improve, said Dr. Brian Garibaldi of Johns Hopkins University, who is consulting on President Trump’s medical treatment. “He has been up and around. Our plan today is to have him eat and drink, be up out of bed,” Dr. Garibaldi said. “[I]f he continues to look and feel as well as he does today our hope is to plan for a discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House where he can continue his treatment course.”
Dr. Conley provided more details to reporters on Sunday concerning the initial course of the president’s disease and treatment starting last Friday that had prompted him to recommend the president’s transfer to the Walter Reed medical facility. “Late Friday morning when I returned to the bedside,” Dr. Conley said, “the President had a high fever and his oxygen saturation was transiently dipping below 94%. Given these developments I was concerned for possible rapid progression of the illness. I recommended the President we try supplemental oxygen, see how he would respond. He was fairly adamant he didn’t need it. He was not short of breath. He was tired, had a fever, that was about it. After about a minute only two liters his saturation levels were back over 95%.”
President Trump experienced another transient drop in his oxygen saturation on Saturday. He was given the steroid dexamethasone, although it was not clear whether the president had also been administered any further supplemental oxygen. But in any event President Trump was moving about and working. His vital signs remained in the normal range with no significant side effects from the medication he was taking.
President Trump appeared more vigorous in a video message that was released on Sunday than he had on Saturday. The president said that he had learned a lot about the coronavirus from his first-hand experience. “It’s been a very interesting journey; I learned a lot about Covid,” President Trump said in the video. “I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school, this isn’t the let’s-read-the-book school. And I get it and I understand it and it’s a very interesting thing and I’m going to be letting you know about it.”
President Trump reportedly was briefed on national security matters during a secure phone call on Sunday. To demonstrate his grit in the face of adversity, the president emerged from the hospital wearing a mask and rode by car with a thumbs up past his supporters who had gathered in front of the Walter Reed medical center.
However, at least for the time being, President Trump will not be out on the campaign trail himself. While the vice-presidential debate is expected to proceed as scheduled on Wednesday, the timing of the two remaining presidential debates may be affected.
President Trump’s rival Joe Biden has so far tested negative for the virus. After having spent much of the last several months hunkered down in his Delaware home, Biden is increasing his in-person events on the road while President Trump is temporarily sidelined. Biden has pulled back a bit from his constant criticisms of the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his campaign for now has taken its negative ads off the air. That pause is likely to be very short-lived.
In normal times, the country would be expected to rally around its commander-in-chief and the leader of the free world. But these are far from normal times and Election Day is less than 30 days away. The Trump-haters, like vultures, are out in force exploiting President Trump’s diagnosis, kicking him while he is down. They are raising doubts about the White House‘s truthfulness in reporting on the president’s condition, while gleefully blaming the president for his own predicament.
The New York Times, for example, ran a story with the banner headline, “A White House Long in Denial Confronts Reality.” The New York Times also ran a story on Friday raising questions about whether President Trump “should remain on the ballot at all” and suggesting that the president’s illness throws “the nation’s leadership into uncertainty.” The Times does not even want to wait for the election. All the president should do is step aside and the mainstream media’s favorite candidate will win by default.
The editor-in-chief of the state-run Chinese newspaper Global Times, Hu Xijin, sounded a similar snarky note as the New York Times writers. He tweeted about an hour after the diagnosis was first announced that “President Trump and the first lady have paid the price for his gamble to play down the COVID-19.” If not for China’s lies and early coverup of the coronavirus that originated in China, it is far less likely that the president and millions of other people around the world would have been infected in the first place.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, while saying she is praying for the president and his family, couldn’t resist her own obvious jab. “This is tragic, it’s very sad, but it also is something that going into crowds, unmasked and, all the rest, was sort of a brazen invitation for this to happen,” Pelosi said. On Sunday, she accused the president of being anti-science.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took a similar tack. He said that President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis shows what happens “when you ignore science.”
The narrative that President Trump has not been listening to and following the advice of medical experts is complete nonsense. President Trump imposed travel restrictions and closed the country down early on, as the experts recommended to slow the spread of the virus. He did so despite the political risk to his re-election fortunes from the resulting drastic economic downturn.
After saying that she does not wish the virus on anyone, Squad member Rep. Ilhan Omar lit into the ailing president. “For months,” she said, “we have been hoping for a simple acknowledgment from the President—to hear the words, ‘We will get through this together.’ And now we only hear those words when it is about him—not the hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their lives, and the millions whose families have been touched by it because of his malfeasance. (Emphasis in the original) Omar added, “The President of the United States and Republicans in Minnesota are actively spreading a deadly virus. They are a risk to the public health of my constituents and our country.”
Omar’s fellow Squad member Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted after the president’s diagnosis announcement that “He only cares about himself and his life, NOT those around him or the people he took an oath to protect. Too many lives lost because of his deadly lies.”
President Trump’s critics accused him of endangering others, in addition to himself and those immediately around him, by traveling across the country for meetings and campaign rallies, often without wearing a mask. They pointed particularly to the White House event held in the Rose Garden on September 26th when President Trump announced before a packed audience his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
At least eight people who attended the ceremony have tested positive for the coronavirus, including Republican senators, the president of Notre Dame, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and several of the president’s closest aides and advisers. However, the Atlantic, without any solid medical evidence, went too far in characterizing the Rose Garden event as “a super-spreading catastrophe.” Just because several individuals attending the Rose Garden event tested positive for the coronavirus does not necessarily mean that the event itself caused the spread of the virus. Correlation is not the same thing as causation.
Even worse than the typical anti-Trump carping of Democrat politicians and their friends in the press, social media was ablaze with death wishes for the president. For example, Zara Rahim, former spokesperson for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, said in a tweet: “It has been against my moral identity to tweet this for the past four years, but I hope he dies.” Even the major social media platforms, which often display an anti-conservative bias, felt it necessary to issue warnings that they would remove content wishing the president would die from the coronavirus. The president’s enemies were not happy with being unable to so easily broadcast their poison.
One tangible bit of possible collateral damage from the spread of the coronavirus on Capitol Hill is the Democrats’ shameless attempt to twist this news in a concerted effort to derail President Trump’s Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. They are using the fact that at least three senators, including two Republican members of the Judiciary Committee – Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina – have tested positive for the coronavirus as an excuse to postpone indefinitely the confirmation hearing and vote. Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has also tested positive.
So far, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said there will be no delay in the confirmation timetable. The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings are still scheduled to begin on October 12th, even if portions will be conducted virtually rather than in person. Senator Schumer condemned the Republican majority’s plan to move forward. “Leader McConnell and Chairman Graham’s monomaniacal drive to confirm Judge Barrett at all costs,” Schumer said, “needlessly threatens the health and safety of senators, staff and all those who work in the Capitol complex.” Schumer is hyperventilating as usual.
President Trump appears to be on his way to recovery from COVID-19. Let us hope and pray as Americans that the president can completely surmount the disease and resume his full performance of the duties of his office on behalf of the American people.