WASHINGTON — In the most serious health crisis of his presidency and just 30 days out from the Nov. 3 election, President Donald Trump is “in good spirits” and “is not on oxygen at this time,” his medical team said in a press conference Saturday morning.
However, serious questions remain as to how quickly he can recover, what would happen if a foreign enemy were to try to take advantage of the situation and how Trump’s absence from the campaign trail will affect his presidential campaign.
The Real Clear Average of national polls puts former Vice President Joe Biden ahead at the moment by 7.4 points.
The top battleground state polls are closer, but Biden is still ahead by 3.5 points.
At 74, Trump is in a vulnerable age group and has told reporters that he has at least six friends who have died of the coronavirus in recent months.
Doctors were not direct about whether the president had a need for supplemental oxygen at any point, just reiterating that he presently, during the press conference, was not on oxygen. The Associated Press, however, reported that someone at the White House, who is not allowed to speak publicly, said the president was administered oxygen while he was there, before he was transferred to the hospital.
Prayers and statements of sympathy have been pouring in from government and religious leaders across the U.S. and from all over the world, including Israeli and Arab leaders.
“Like millions of Israelis, Sara and I are thinking of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and wish our friends a full and speedy recovery,” Netanyahu tweeted.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi Tweeted in Arabic, “My sincere wishes for a speedy recovery for US President Donald Trump and the First Lady, and for them to pass this stage quickly to return in full health and wellness to continue leading the efforts of the United States capable towards working to combat this virus worldwide in the interest of all humanity, may God protect our peoples and all peoples of the world.”
Evangelical leaders are calling for prayers for the President and First Lady, many citing 1 Timothy 2:1-3.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior.”
The president was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon.
Battling a fever, cough, nasal congestion, and fatigue, Trump was airlifted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center by Marine One on Friday evening in an event the White House describes as a “precautionary measure.”
He is now receiving a range of medical treatments, including the anti-viral drug Remdesivir.
Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s personal physician and a commander in the U.S. Navy, told reporters outside of Walter Reed on Saturday that “this morning, the president is doing very well.”
“At this time, the team and I are extremely happy with the progress the president has made,” Conley added.
“The president has been fever free for over 24 hours,” Conley said, adding that “we remain cautiously optimistic” but that “days 7 to 10” are the most critical to watch and we are only on day 3.
Though pressed repeatedly on the issue, neither Conley nor any of the nine other members of the president’s medical team who appeared at the press conference would say whether Trump had been on supplemental oxygen on Thursday night or Friday morning.
But the implication appeared that he had been.
“This morning, the president is not on oxygen, nor having difficulty breathing or walking around,” one of the physicians told reporters.
An unnamed “senior administration official” told the White House press pool that “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. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”
On Thursday, the president’s personal physician first announced that Trump and his wife had tested positive for the coronavirus, but stated that “they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.”
Airlifting Trump to the U.S. military’s premier hospital in Maryland signaled a significant worsening of his condition and drew international attention.
Vice President Mike Pence is healthy and does not have COVID. Nor does his wife, Karen Pence.
“Earlier this morning [Friday] under my care, Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for COVID-19,” the VP’s White House physician, Dr. Jesse T. Schonau, a Lt.-Commander in the U.S. Navy, said in a statement on Friday.
“Under the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the vice president is not considered a close contact with any individuals who have tested positive for COVID, including President Donald J. Trump — Vice President Mike Pence does not need to quarantine,” Schonau said.
“Vice President Mike Pence remains in good health and is free to go about his normal activities,” the statement concluded.
However, the president’s campaign manager, the head of the Republican National Committee, and several U.S. senators close to Trump have just been diagnosed as having COVID.
The Biden team announced that it is taking down all negative ads for the time being while Trump is ill.