Donald Trump could be discharged from hospital on Monday, his doctor says

4 October 2020, 16:49 | Updated: 4 October 2020, 17:25

Donald Trump has been working while being treated at Walter Reed hospital
Donald Trump has been working while being treated at Walter Reed hospital. Picture: AP

By Ewan Somerville

Donald Trump "continues to improve" and could be discharged from hospital on Monday, his physician has said.

Dr Sean Conley said the US president has had "two episodes of transient drops in his oxygen saturation" in the course of his treatment, and is being given the steroid dexamethasone.

But he said Mr Trump could be discharged as early as tomorrow if he keeps improving, but has had "ups and downs" in his condition.

Late on Friday morning the president had a "high fever" and his oxygen levels were low, Dr Conley said, adding he "was concerned for possible rapid progression of the illness".

"I recommended that, 'president, we try some supplemental oxygen', see how he'd respond."

After two litres of oxygen use, Mr Trump's oxygen saturation levels returned to normal and his symptoms became more mild late on Friday.

Dr Sean Conley, Trump's doctor, led a briefing this afternoon
Dr Sean Conley, Trump's doctor, led a briefing this afternoon. Picture: PA

However, on Friday night the president's medical team agreed he should be airlifted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre "for more thorough evaluation monitoring", Dr Conley said.

Mr Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows raised alarm on Saturday night when he told reporters the president battled through a “very concerning” period on Friday and faces a “critical” next two days in his fight against Covid-19. 

“We’re still not on a clear path yet to a full recovery,” he warned.

The comments came moments after the chief White House doctor assured the public the president was “doing very well” hospitalised at Walter Reed military hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. 

Mr Trump offered his own assessment in a video from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre on Saturday evening, saying he was beginning to feel better and hoped to “be back soon”.

And he was back on social media early Sunday morning, sharing a video of flag-waving supporters, most not wearing masks, gathered outside the hospital. 

“Thank you so much!” Mr Trump tweeted.

The progress of his recovery at Walter Reed, where he is still working in a presidential suite, will be critical to the US presidential election campaign with only weeks to go until polling day on 3 November.

His health also represents a national security issue of paramount importance not only to the functions of the US government but to countries around the world, friendly and otherwise.

The coronavirus outbreak affecting the White House is thought to have been linked to a Rose Garden ceremony to celebrate the new US Supreme Court pick earlier this week, nine attendees of which, including Mr Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive.

There were little masks and social distancing and some attendees hugged and shook hands.