By Shabtai Gold
Washington – US President Donald Trump, who is ill with the novel coronavirus and being treated at a military hospital, is seeing his condition improve, his physician said on Saturday.
The president no longer has a fever and is not currently on oxygen to help him breath, said Sean Conley, the physician to the president, addressing reporters outside the hospital
“This morning the president is doing very well,” said Conley, adding that the medical team is “extremely happy with progress the president has made.”
The president contracted coronavirus and was moved to the Walter Reed medical centre, a military facility outside Washington, on Friday, in what his team said was a move taken out of an abundance of caution.
A source told reporters that Trump’s vital signs had at times been worrying.
“The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery,” the source told White House reporters travelling with the president.
The statement by the source was confounding, as it came just minutes after the doctors updated the public, and was issued on condition of anonymity.
The timeline of the president’s infection remains unclear. This has become a particularly important point, as the president held a fundraiser in New Jersey on Thursday, after hosting a political rally on Wednesday in Minnesota.
Trump tweeted early Friday morning he and the first lady had tested positive.
But Conley said on Saturday that Trump was “72 hours” into his treatment, raising questions about why the president would then attend such events and when the president knew he was infected.
The medical team said Trump has received an experimental anti-body cocktail in addition to a therapeutic medicine, Remdesivir, which is usually a five-day treatment plan.
“He’s not on oxygen right now,” Conley said. The doctor confirmed that the president had a fever on Thursday and Friday morning, but has been “fever free for 24 hours.”
He declined to say if the president had ever received oxygen in the past days. Conley was also unable to discuss a discharge date.
“More than anything he has felt run down,” the doctor said, describing the president’s condition, noting that Trump had a mild cough, nasal congestion and fatigue, initially, which were “now improving.”
The doctor insisted Trump is still able to work.
Trump is 74 years old and is overweight, the medics noted. Also, as a male, he is in a higher risk group for complications from Covid-19.
The cluster of people around Trump who have announced in the past two days that they have coronavirus continues to rise.
Chris Cristie, the former governor of New Jersey who was part of the team that helped Trump prepare for the first presidential debate on Tuesday this past week, was the latst person to confirm he contracted the coronavirus.
Trump’s wife Melania, his campaign manager, Bill Stepien and a top adviser, Hope Hicks, have all tested positive, among a number of other people in their proximity.
The illness comes at a crucial point in Trump’s reelection campaign, with him trailing Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the polls. Trump has been aggressively hitting the campaign trail, and these events are now being cancelled as he cannot travel.
There is also a group of Republican senators who have tested positive, two of whom were with the president last Saturday at a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden where Trump announced judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.
A spokesman for Senator Rob Johnson of Wisconsin said he has tested positive, making him the third Republican senator to contract the virus this week – the two others sit on the judiciary committee.
He “feels healthy and is not experiencing symptoms,” but will remain in isolation for the near future, the spokesman said.
A number of people who were at the nomination cremony have contracted the virus. Johnson was not at that ceremony.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is the body that must first confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, judge Amy Coney Barrett. Hearings are set to start on October 12.
Republicans are intent on filling the Supreme Court vacancy before the November election, despite anger from Democrats who feel the process should not take place so close to polling day.
The centre-left are also concerned that a conservative judge will get a lifetime appointment to the highest judicial body, replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg who did last month and was seen as a liberal stalwart.