Donald Trump’s Health Likely to Worsen From ‘Second Wave’ of COVID-19 in Coming Days
President Donald Trump’s condition has deteriorated quickly since he announced his COVID-19 diagnosis last Friday. Trump struggled to breathe and squirmed in pain upon returning to the White House from Walter Reed Military Medical Center on Monday after a weekend of receiving, antiviral medication, antibody treatments, and steroid injections.
Though he has claimed to be “feeling great,” and has not reported any symptoms as of Tuesday, Trump is still highly contagious, and two lung experts believe the president’s condition is likely to collapse – soon – as the coronavirus propogates through the 74-year-old’s aging, obese, and vulnerable body.
“The whole thing is unconventional,” Professor Peter Openshaw, a lung specialist at Imperial College London, said in an interview with Sky News. “It would be unusual for someone to be allowed to go home in those circumstances, but he does have a strong medical team. The statistics show even with his risk factors he is likely to survive, but we do not know what the long term consequences will be.”
Stephen Holgate, a respiratory specialist at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom, added that “the disease can get worse very quickly.”
If Trump’s condition declines, Holgate stressed, it will do so very quickly.
“He is still in the first wave. The second is yet to come, when the immune system goes into overdrive. It will probably hit him in two to three days’ time,” he said.
Holgate disagreed with Trump’s doctors’ “not textbook” decision to cut the president loose.
Trump’s labored breathing, for example, was “a cardinal symptom of lung involvement,” Holgate explained. “Even people with mild disease have small lesions in their lungs.”
Sky News noted:
Some patients with the disease can appear to improve, but then relapse as the immune system swamps the lungs with signalling chemicals – resulting in inflammation. That can lead to blood clotting and damage to the air sacks that transfer oxygen into the blood.
This is what happened to former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who appeared to make a recovery and then suddently died. Cain likely contracted COVID-19 at a Trump rally in June because he was not wearing a mask.
A humbling Herman Cain/coronavirus timeline:
6/24: Attends Trump rally, maskless
7/2: Tests positive for Covid-19
7/10: Says he’s improving
7/15: Says his doctors seem happy
7/27: Says he’s really getting better
— Tim O'Brien (@TimOBrien) October 5, 2020
For treatment, Trump was prescribed Remdesivir, an anti-viral, and dexamethasone, a steroid that can lead to aggression, delusions of grandeur, and psychosis.
Trump was also given an infusion of COVID-19 antibodies.
These drugs, particularly Remdesivir, Holgate cautioned, are unproven as reliable treatments for coronavirus.
“The clinical trials are not persuasive,” he said. “I’m not at all confident in the treatment.”
Nevertheless, this is what Trump and his closest medical advisers wanted.
Trump owns stock in Gilead and Regeneron, the pharmaceutical giants that manufacture Remdesivir and therapeutic antibodies, respectively.
Holgate said that the cocktail of drugs administered to Trump makes no sense unless the patient requires a ventilator.
The secrecy surrounding Trump’s condition has Holgart wondering if the administration is adequately prepared for that scenario.
“He does have a place there, but if you need a ventilator you need it quickly. It does not creep up on you,” Holgart said. “The key thing is does he have access to acute medical team and equipment.”