Hours after White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters that Donald Trump’s condition was “very concerning,” the president, who has been hospitalized since Friday, released a video statement in which he claimed to be “feeling much better.”
“I’m doing very well,” he said in a video posted by the @RealDonaldTrump Twitter account on Saturday evening. “I’ll be back. I think I’ll be back soon.”
Trump’s medical team seemed to back up that prediction on Sunday morning, Politico reports, with White House physician Dr. Sean Conley announcing that the president could be discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., “as early as [Monday].”
But those reassurances ring hollower and hollower as details about Trump’s covid treatment emerge.
During Conley’s press briefing on Sunday, the Navy commander confirmed that the president had been given dexamethasone. A common steroid, dexamethasone is usually only recommended for use in patients with severe or critical cases of covid-19, such as those who’ve been hooked up to ventilators or administered supplemental oxygen, which we know the president has been given. Given that, the use of dexamethasone would appear to contradict Trump’s claim that he’s “doing well,” especially when you consider that the steroid can actually harm covid patients with mild cases, as it may suppress the immune system’s ability to fight the virus.
“Nothing matches up,” Ethan Weiss, a University of California, San Francisco, cardiologist told Stat on Sunday. “You can’t say he’s fine and he’s going home tomorrow and by the way he’s getting dexamethasone, which was shown in [a clinical trial] to be helpful in only the sickest patients.”
Beyond dexamethasone and the supplemental oxygen, Trump is also being treated with remdesivir, an antiviral drug that’s also usually reserved for moderately to severely ill covid patients. The president also took a single dose of an experimental drug that’s still being tested in order to boost his antibody count on Friday—totally normal behavior for someone who says he’s doing well.