Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, suggested that officials within the Trump administration ought to keep their “heads up” to the possibility that President Trump’s condition may deteriorate this week (or even next week) after having been treated for COVID-19 over the weekend.
Discussing the issue on Monday evening during a segment on CNN, Fauci said he felt the president “looks fine” at the moment, but that things could change rapidly in the next few days.
“The issue is that he’s still early enough in the disease, that it’s not a secret that, if you look at the clinical course of people, sometimes when you are five to eight days in, you can have a reversal,” Fauci said. “A reversal meaning going in the wrong direction and getting into trouble.”
In a separate interview with New Yorker staff writer Michael Specter, Fauci recognized that most people who contract coronavirus either show no signs of the disease or have mild symptoms associated with it.
“But there are a group of individuals who fall into a certain subset or category, mainly the elderly and those with underlying conditions at any age, who can have a severe outcome,” Fauci added. “And we know that severe outcome could be anything from just feeling really, really sick to requiring hospitalization, requiring intensive care, possibly ventilation and even death.”
Trump is putting forward an image of him having “defeated” the disease, of having overcome coronavirus for what appear to be propagandistic reasons. In reality, his condition looks to be worse than what he and the White House are trying to suggest, according to many observers.
Video of Trump removing his mask at the White House shortly after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center looked to many like he was having difficulty breathing. Indeed, video of Trump at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center also appeared to have been heavily edited, according to some who say the video was cut to hide coughs or other signs of illness. Trump had at least two separate episodes over the weekend where his oxygen levels dropped, and his own chief of staff described his condition as being “very concerning.”
Fauci’s assertions over the need for Trump’s staff to keep an eye out for diminishing health conditions are also shared by the president’s medical team, who stressed after Trump announced he would be leaving Walter Reed, that he was not yet “out of the woods” when it came to recovery.
Trump’s personal doctor, Sean Conley, reported on Tuesday that the president was showing “no symptoms” of coronavirus as of Tuesday afternoon. But Conley’s words may not have credibility with many owing to the fact that in speaking to the media over the weekend, Conley admitted he had been purposely misleading when he had previously spoken about Trump’s condition.
As Trump paints a rosy picture of his own health, he also continued to mislead Americans on the seriousness of coronavirus, wrongly stating in a tweet on Tuesday that the disease was akin to the flu. Twitter later placed a disclaimer on Trump’s tweet that said his message contained “potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”