Confusion and contradictions ruled this weekend amid conflicting accounts of President Trump’s condition, a dangerous PR stunt, and signs of super-spreading events tied to the White House and the campaign.
"Kitchen Sink" Treatment Approach:
- Trump’s doctors are giving him several treatments, including remdesivir, dexamethasone and a promising but still unapproved monoclonal antibody therapy made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, CNN reports.
- White House physician Sean Conley admitted Sunday that Trump’s oxygen saturation level dipped below 94% and that he received supplemental oxygen on Friday, after he evaded questions and painted a rosy picture in a Saturday briefing, Axios reports.
- Others questioned the optimism, noting that the use of the steroid dexamethasone is generally reserved for severe cases, according to The New York Times—“ ... much more than just an ‘abundance of caution’ kind of thing,” says Esther Choo, a Oregon Health & Science University emergency medicine professor.
Perilous PR Stunt
- Trump left the Walter Reed medical center briefly Sunday for a motorcade photo op slammed by Walter Reed attending physician James Phillips: “That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack. The risk of COVID19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding,” CNN reports.
White House Superspreading Events
- And, now “the White House and the president’s reelection campaign appear to have become superspreading operations,” according to The Washington Post. Its account traces a growing number of cases among Trump’s inner circle, debate prep team, Republican officials who attended the September 26 event for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as well as campaign events in Minnesota and New Jersey .
- Officials and attendees had to scramble without White House support in the wake of those events, the Post reports, while the CDC was apparently sidelined—reporting it had a contact tracing team ready to go that hadn’t been mobilized as of Saturday.
Your Contact-Tracing Must-Read: The New York Times’ Benjamin Meullerdoes an excellent job explaining why contact tracing is so critical, and why it has faltered in Western nations, where key ingredients—widespread rapid testing and public trust—are in short supply.