On October 2, 2020, President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19. “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately,” he tweeted, referring to himself and First Lady Melania Trump. “We will get through this TOGETHER!”
Trump did survive after a brief hospitalization at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, but a new book, Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta, writes that he came much closer to death than anyone at the time realized.
“Hours after his tweet announcing he and first lady Melania Trump had coronavirus infections, the president began a rapid spiral downward,” an excerpt published in the Washington Post reads. “His fever spiked, and his blood oxygen level fell below 94 percent, at one point dipping into the 80s. Sean Conley, the White House physician, attended the president at his bedside. Trump was given oxygen to stabilize him.”
The doctors gave Trump an eight-gram dose of two monoclonal antibodies through an intravenous tube. That experimental treatment was what had required the FDA’s sign-off. He was also given a first dose of the antiviral drug remdesivir, also by IV. That drug was authorized for use but still hard to get for many patients because it was in short supply.
The president was put on a “dizzying array of emergency medicines” on October 3, and according to Abutaleb and Paletta, “at least two of those who were briefed on Trump’s medical condition that weekend said he was gravely ill and feared that he wouldn’t make it out of Walter Reed.” But before long, he was “badgering” his physician Sean Conley to discharge him from the hospital, even though he was still at risk and contagious.
Trump was back at the White House on Monday night.
Trump’s medical advisers hoped his bout with the coronavirus, which was far more serious than acknowledged at the time, would inspire him to take the virus seriously. Perhaps now, they thought, he would encourage Americans to wear masks and put his health and medical officials front and center in the response.
Ha. Instead, in a staggering act of selfishness, Trump continued to ignore the severity of the virus that nearly killed him, causing tens of thousands of other people to die.
Among the great news nuggets in @damianpaletta and @yabutaleb7’s book, one really hits me. The president was arguably close to death, and the plan for succession appeared non-existent. The authors rightly call this whole episode a “nat’l security failure.” https://t.co/miuWF3oWvl pic.twitter.com/yXyiFlsGr1
— Shane Harris (@shaneharris) June 24, 2021
You can read the rest of the excerpt here.
(Via the Washington Post)