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President Trump said in a video posted Saturday evening that he is doing well and expects to “be back soon” after going to a hospital with covid-19.
Saturday night, a letter from his physician released by the White House press secretary said the president has made “substantial progress” since his coronavirus diagnosis and will be closely monitored Sunday in between doses of an experimental drug,
The statements of optimism came after the White House created a startling amount of confusion about Trump’s health status and coronavirus diagnosis through conflicting statements, injecting an extraordinary degree of uncertainty into the nation’s understanding of the president’s condition and who may have been exposed. Earlier Saturday, members of Trump’s medical team said the president was making good progress but refused to answer key questions about when he was first diagnosed and first symptomatic, and whether he had received supplemental oxygen.
A senior administration official confirmed reports Trump was given oxygen at the White House on Friday before going to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, while Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, said Trump went through a “very concerning” period over the last day.
“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,” Meadows said Saturday afternoon. “We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”
Meadows echoed Saturday evening in a Fox News interview that the next two days could be “tough” but underscored the president’s improvement since Friday.
Here are some other significant developments:
- Trump’s medical team suggested the president knew he tested positive for the coronavirus earlier than had been reported. Sean P. Conley, Trump’s physician, said we are “72 hours into the diagnosis,” meaning the president could have tested positive as early as Wednesday. The White House later issued a statement saying Conley misspoke.
- Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who helped Trump prepare for last week’s debate, said Saturday that he has gone to a hospital as a “precautionary measure” after testing positive for the virus.
- At least seven people who were at a Rose Garden event announcing Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court have confirmed infections, including Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), former senior adviser to Trump, Kellyanne Conway and University of Notre Dame President John I. Jenkins.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), both said Saturday that the committee’s confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett will move ahead starting Oct. 12, despite some members having the coronavirus.
- Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and top White House aide Hope Hicks have also tested positive.