Concerns mount over Trump's health as doctors and officials send mixed signals

3 October 2020, 22:20

Concerns are mounting over the President's current condition after mixed signals
Concerns are mounting over the President's current condition after mixed signals. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Concerns are mounting over Donald Trump's health tonight after officials and doctors spent much of Saturday sending mixed signals.

Confusion remains over the President's current condition as doctors told the public that he was coping well with the Covid-19 infection, but reports later suggested that there were significant worries about his health.

On Saturday morning (US Eastern time), White House physician Dr Sean Conley told reporters outside the Walter Reed Medical Center that Mr Trump was "doing very well" after spending the night being treated by his team.

In a televised briefing he said: "At this time the team and I are extremely happy with the progress the President has made, first he had a mild cough, some naval congestion and fatigue, all of which are now resolving and improving.

The doctor refused to comment on whether Mr Trump was given oxygen at the White House on Friday afternoon being being taken to hospital, but it was later reported that he had.

The conflicting stories over the President's symptoms since his diagnosis sparked confusion about how serious his condition had been in the lead up to hospitalisation.

Read more: ‘Concern’ over Trump’s vital signs after President’s doctor said he was doing well

Read more: Donald Trump is 'doing very well' in hospital with coronavirus, his physician says

It was reported just hours after the briefing that while medical staff were talking positively about his condition, White House staff were briefing reporters about concerns over "vital signs" yesterday.

“The President's vitals over last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We are still not on a clear path to a full recovery," a White House source in understood to have said.

On Saturday afternoon, President Trump posted a series of tweets thanking hospital staff and hailing the United States' "tremendous progress" in dealing with Covid-19.

"Doctors, Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed Medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING!!!" one post said.

"Tremendous progress has been made over the last 6 months in fighting this PLAGUE. With their help, I am feeling well!"

Read more: As it happened: Trump moved to hospital with coronavirus

The tweets have, however, prompted unconfirmed suggestions that a member of his staff could be writing on his behalf while he continues to be treated.

Hours after giving the statement, Dr Conley was made to correct errors about the timing of the President and First Lady's diagnosis - his original briefing

"This morning while summarising the President's health, I incorrectly used the term '72 hours' instead of 'day three' and '48 hours instead of 'day two'," Dr Conley said.

Dr Sean Conley updated reporters on President Trump's condition on Saturday morning
Dr Sean Conley updated reporters on President Trump's condition on Saturday morning. Picture: PA Images

It is not the first time, however, that presidents have misled the public over their illnesses.

In 1893, President Grover Cleveland lied about his cancer diagnosis, but it was revealed later that he in fact had a tumour removed in surgery on a yacht to hide from the press.

Throughout Franklin D. Roosevelt's tenure, his Press Secretary tried to hide the President’s polio by having the press take photos in ways that hid his wheelchair.

Read more: Trump's election hopes destroyed following diagnosis, claims expert

Nonetheless significant questions remain over the health of President Trump and that of his Republican colleagues in the Senate, several of whom have been infected with the virus.

On Saturday afternoon, the political group cancelled all legislative work until 19 October amid concerns over how the virus was sweeping through their ranks.