Donald Trump could be discharged from Walter Reed hospital on Monday, after a weekend of confusion and obfuscation by the White House that played down the severity of the US president’s condition when he was admitted to hospital on Friday.
Sean Conley, the White House physician, told reporters on Sunday morning that the medical team treating the president at the military hospital were pleased with the progress Mr Trump had made over the past three days.
“The president has continued to improve,” Dr Conley said. “As with any illness, there are frequent ups and downs . . . particularly when a patient is being so closely watched 24 hours a day.”
Brian Garibaldi, another member of the team, said Mr Trump was doing well and could be discharged on Monday.
“Today he feels well,” Dr Garibaldi said. “If he continues to look and feel as well as he does today, our hope is that we can plan for a discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House where he can continue his treatment course.”
Earlier on Sunday, Robert O’Brien, US national security adviser, said Mr Trump wanted to return to the White House, but would stay at the hospital as he approached a critical phase in his treatment for Covid-19.
“He’s going to stay at Walter Reed for at least another period of time,” Mr O’Brien told CBS television. “Day 7 and 8 are the critical days, so I think the doctors want to make sure they’re there for the president.”
Mr Trump was moved to the suburban Maryland hospital on Friday evening after testing positive for Covid-19 and developing a fever earlier in the day. The White House at the time said he had “mild symptoms” and was being admitted to hospital as a precaution. But it later emerged that he had experienced trouble breathing and needed oxygen.
On Saturday, immediately after Dr Conley gave his first media briefing, Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff, told reporters at the hospital that the situation had been more severe than Dr Conley suggested.
“The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care,” Mr Meadows told the reporters. “We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”
On Sunday, Dr Conley said Mr Meadows’ comments had been misconstrued. He said the chief of staff was referring to a period on Friday morning when Mr Trump developed a fever and started to have lower oxygen levels. He acknowledged that Mr Trump had been given oxygen — which he had refused to say when asked on Saturday.
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