POST 127. February 12, 2021. CORONAVIRUS. “… Trump only agreed to be hospitalized when aides told him that he could walk to Marine One or he could wait until his case progressed and he would be carried out.”

“The severity of COVID-19 symptoms suffered by President Donald Trump after contracting the coronavirus was worse than was publicly acknowledged and the president was nearly put on a ventilator, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Citing four sources familiar with Trump’s condition in October, the Times said Trump’s blood oxygen percentage level had dipped into the 80s; low 90s is considered a sign of severe infection. Trump’s lungs were also inflamed and contained “infiltrates” such as bacteria or fluid, which were also troubling signs, according to the Times….

Trump had a fever and was twice given oxygen as well as an antibody cocktail from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, the steroid dexamethasone and the antiviral drug remdesivir.”  (A)

“The details invite new scrutiny over waffling remarks by Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, who last year refused to directly answer reporters’ questions about whether Trump was on oxygen, repeatedly emphasizing that he was not “right now.” When he was asked if Trump had received it at all, Conley said: “He has not needed any this morning, today at all.” Asked if he had ever been on supplemental oxygen as part of his treatment, Conley said: “Right now he is not,” adding, “Yesterday and today, he was not on oxygen.”

Mark Meadows, who was White House chief of staff, was forced to clarify Conley’s remarks to reporters the following day, in which he conceded Trump’s vitals “were very concerning” and that he was “still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”” (B)

“White House officials began working to get the Regeneron antibody cocktail, which was not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration, to Trump on Oct. 1, the night of his diagnosis. After Trump was discharged from the hospital he repeatedly touted its benefits, saying his recovery was “proof it works.”

However, health officials reportedly maintained a running private joke based on the fact that the aim of the cocktail is in fact intended to prevent symptoms from advancing to the point of hospitalization.” (C)

“CNN also reported Thursday there were concerns about Trump possibly needing to go on a ventilator, while the Times—citing four people with knowledge of his condition—said Trump’s blood oxygen level was dangerously low and he had a lung complication related to pneumonia called lung infiltrates.

According to the National Institutes of Health, that issue is related to a “hyper-inflammation phase” that usually occurs during the late stages of a Covid-19 infection….

Trump announced in an early morning tweet on Oct. 2 that he and former First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for Covid, which came as part of a large White House outbreak. His condition apparently deteriorated quickly, leading to him reluctantly agree to be hospitalized later in the day. Trump spent the weekend in the hospital, where he received a treatment consisting of Remdesivir, the steroid dexamethasone and a then-unapproved experimental antibody cocktail from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. The aggressive treatment regimen was an early indicator Trump’s infection had become severe. Trump was released from the hospital the evening of Oct. 5, filming a video as he returned to the White House where he ripped off his mask and saluted his departing helicopter.

After he returned from his hospitalization, Trump tweeted a video where he said “don’t be afraid of Covid,” and “don’t let it dominate you,” after his normally rampant tweeting notably declined while he was hospitalized. Trump’s apparently severe Covid infection seemed to do little to impact the former president’s precautions, or lack thereof, when it came to preventing Covid spread—he regularly packed thousands of mostly maskless supporters into rallies across the country leading up to Election Day.” (D)

“While Mr. Trump was hospitalized at Walter Reed, his medical team sought to downplay the severity of the situation, saying that he was on an upswing. At 74 and overweight, he was at risk for severe disease, and was prescribed an aggressive course of treatments. He left the hospital after three days in which he at one point staged a brief ride in his armored sport-utility vehicle to wave at the crowd of supporters outside the building.

A person close to the former president denied that he had been seriously ill, echoing comments Mr. Trump himself made after he was sick.

There are still unanswered questions about whether Mr. Trump was already sick with Covid-19 when he participated in a presidential debate on Sept. 29, just two days before the public announcement that he had been diagnosed with the disease and three days before his deteriorating condition forced him to go to Walter Reed…

Mr. Trump appeared to still be struggling with the disease when he returned to the White House, where he stationed himself on a balcony in a choreographed scene, tearing his mask off and saluting his helicopter. Doctors at the time noted how Mr. Trump used his neck muscles to help him breathe in those moments, a classic sign that someone’s lungs are not taking in enough oxygen.

Mr. Trump removed his mask immediately after returning to the White House from the hospital, although he still appeared to be struggling with the disease.

On the night of his diagnosis, Oct. 1, White House officials scrambled to get the Regeneron antibody cocktail — not at that point authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment — to Mr. Trump.

A top lawyer in the White House Counsel’s Office, Patrick F. Philbin, called Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, the F.D.A. commissioner at the time, to discuss how the agency could approve the drug’s use for two senior administration officials he did not want to identify, according to one person who heard about the call.

Mr. Philbin was exploring how the president could quickly get access to the drug through normal F.D.A. procedures. Regeneron had already signed off on the use of the doses, Mr. Philbin told Dr. Hahn.

Dr. Hahn and other F.D.A. officials, including Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, the top federal drug regulator, worked to clear the drug through a standard process known as an emergency investigational new drug application, often used for very ill patients who agree to take an experimental drug still being tested in clinical trials. The agency reviews the medical histories of those patients to identify whether there might be severe risks to take a treatment.

Regeneron shipped a package of doses that included extras, “in case of any administration issues,” a company spokeswoman said.

The extras were never returned. Dr. Conley at one point told associates they had been sitting in a refrigerator in the White House’s medical office.

Only in the days following the application’s approval did White House officials acknowledge that the doses were for Mr. Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, who also tested positive for the coronavirus but turned down the drug, which is infused intravenously for about an hour. The person close to the former president also denied that Mrs. Trump had turned down the drug.

Around that time, as other people close to Mr. Trump started getting sick, his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, offered to facilitate getting the Regeneron treatment for them, two people with knowledge of the discussions said. An aide to Mr. Kushner disputed that he had made such an offer at that time.

In the weeks after his hospitalization, Mr. Trump was convinced that the Regeneron treatment had saved his life, telling aides, “I’m proof it works.”  (E)

“As was previously reported, Trump only agreed to be hospitalized when aides told him that he could walk to Marine One or he could wait until he his case progressed and he would be carried out. And while it was known in October that the former president was given a drug cocktail that was not widely available to the public — which made him quite peppy at post-infection rallies — the Times report has new details surrounding his treatment. In addition to a steroid treatment and a five-day course of the antiviral drug remdesivir, both of which were signs of the severity of his case, Trump was also given a drug developed by the pharmaceutical firm Regeneron. (It had not yet been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for coronavirus treatment.) In the weeks after his infection, Trump boasted about the drug in public and reportedly told aides, “I’m proof it works.”” (F)


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