The news about President Trump’s health is encouraging. He continues to improve and could be discharged from Walter Reed Hospital as soon as today.
Dr. Brian Garibaldi, who is part of the President’s medical team, said at Sunday’s briefing that Trump has responded well to treatment for Covid-19.
“He has been up and around. Our plan today (Sunday) is to have him eat and drink, be up out of bed. If he continues to look and feel as well as he does today (Sunday) our hope is to plan for discharge as early as tomorrow (Monday) to the White House where he can continue his treatment course.”
The medical team did disclose that the president had a high fever on Friday and a drop in his oxygen levels. “Given these developments I was concerned for possible rapid progression of the illness,” said Dr. Sean Conley, the President’s personal physician. “I recommended (to) the President we try supplemental oxygen.”
The President had a second episode on Saturday of a drop in oxygen saturation, but his doctors said he was not short of breath. They did not answer questions about whether the President’s lungs were damaged.
The specific details about the President’s health graphically illustrate the seriousness of the virus. Dr. Conley’s concern about “rapid progression” of the disease should serve as a warning to all that Covid-19 is not to be taken lightly.
Health officials generally believe the death rate from Covid-19 is around six-tenths of one percent. That is lower than first feared, but roughly six times higher than the seasonal flu. But less is known about Covid-19 than the flu, and since there is no herd immunity or vaccine, the virus presents a more significant health risk.
The President of the United States receives the best, most immediate health care available. Not everyone does. Individuals who are feeling sick may wait to go for treatment. The elderly are at particularly high risk of having a more serious case.
While it is certainly true that the vast majority of people who become infected will get better, some won’t. Some will die or have serious health complications.
Globally, over one-million people have died from Covid-19. As of yesterday, 209,563 of them were in the United States. In West Virginia, there have been 358 deaths attributed to the virus so far and, as of yesterday, 173 people are hospitalized in the state with confirmed cases. Sixty four of them are in ICU and 30 are on ventilators.
Health and most government officials have said repeatedly that we should continue to wear masks and socially distance. West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and his Democratic challenger Ben Salango have both adamantly encouraged preventive health measures.
President Trump is on course for a speedy recovery. No doubt some will use that as an example to minimize the threat of the virus. However, the President now is in the unique position to consistently practice what others have been preaching for months and encourage all Americans to do the same.