Chris Christie is the latest in Trump orbit to get virus

Trump’s doctor backtracks on president’s Covid-19 timeline as reports say he had supplemental oxygen on Friday

Trump’s doctor backtracks on president’s Covid-19 timeline as reports say he had supplemental oxygen on Friday

Trump’s doctor backtracks on president’s Covid-19 timeline as reports say he had supplemental oxygen on Friday

Donald Trump’s doctor has walked back comments made on Saturday about the president’s health, including when he first tested positive for Covid-19, after a team of physicians appeared to dodge questions about whether he was treated with supplemental oxygen.

It came as Mr Trump’s chief of staff admitted his condition a day earlier had been “very concerning”, contradicting the picture painted by Mr Trump’s doctors and the White House over a chaotic two days in Washington.

Dr Sean Conley, the White House physician, released a statement which sought to clarify comments in which he suggested the president received his Covid-19 diagnosis “72 hours” before the briefing on Saturday.

Had the president been diagnosed on Wednesday, that would mean he attended a fundraiser in Minneapolis, held a rally later that night and flew on Air Force One to attend another fundraiser in New Jersey the next day, all while being infected with the coronavirus that has killed more than 200,000 Americans.

But Dr Conley said he “incorrectly used the term ‘seventy-two hours’ instead of ‘day three’” while referring to when the president was diagnosed with Covid-19. 

Donald Trump arrives in Minneapolis for fundraiser

According to the White House, Mr Trump tested positive for coronavirus late on Thursday and began reportedly suffering symptoms associated with the virus on Friday when he was flown to Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland.

Dr Conley also sought to clarify comments previously made at the briefing about when the president received a Regeneron treatment, writing: “The president was first diagnosed with Covid-19 on the evening of Thursday, October 1st and had received Regeneron’s antibody cocktail on Friday, October 2nd.”

Doctors also refused to say whether Mr Trump was on steroids, what his heart and lung scans had revealed and what his fever reached when he began suffering symptoms associated with Covid-19.

Dr Conley also appeared to be mistaken in comments he made surrounding the treatment Mr Trump received, which he called a polyclonal antibody cocktail.

In a statement to NBC News, the makers of the therapy said: “It is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies — meaning each was produced by making identical copies, or clones, of an antibody gene in a single B cell. Polyclonal antibody cocktails refer to antibodies made by mixtures of B cells.” Dr Conley misspelled the treatment in his clarification statement sent from the White House, writing “Regeron” rather than Regeneron.

Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, briefed reporters after Dr Conley’s address to say that Mr Trump had gone through a “very concerning” period on Friday and that the next 48 hours “will be critical” in his hospital care. “We’re still not on a clear path yet to a full recovery,” Mr Meadows told the Associated Press.

His comments went against the rosy assessment of Mr Trump’s condition offered by his staff and doctors, who said he was “doing very well” and took pains not to reveal the whether the president had received supplemental oxygen at the White House before his hospital admission.

Yet Mr Meadows also told Reuters on Saturday: “The president is doing very well. He is up and about and asking for documents to review. The doctors are very pleased with his vital signs. I have met with him on multiple occasions today on a variety of issues.”

AP reported that Mr Trump received supplemental oxygen on Friday at the White House, citing an anonymous source. The Trump administration did not confirm whether the president received oxygen as of Saturday afternoon.

Later in the day, the president’s Twitter account posted several updates, hailing the medical staff at Walter Reed and even calling for Congress to work together and pass a stimulus package amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Doctors, Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed Medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING,” one tweet read. “Tremendous progress has been made over the last 6 months in fighting this PLAGUE. With their help, I am feeling well!”

Another tweet calling for bipartisan coronavirus legislation read: “OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you!”

They followed an earlier message the president’s Twitter account posted on Friday night which read: “Going welI, I think! Thank you to all. LOVE!!!”

On Saturday, a group of the president’s supporters gathered outside the medical centre where he is staying for treatment to offer their well-wishes. Many were not wearing face masks.

About a dozen members of Mr Trump’s circle have now also contracted Covid-19, from White House adviser Hope Hicks to a slew of GOP allies, including Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel and senators Mike Lee, Ron Johnson and Thom Tillis.

Several who have reported testing positive for coronavirus had attended a recent Rose Garden speech the president delivered in which he officially nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Some experts have now labelled the ceremony, delivered to a largely mask-less crowd, “super-spreader” event.

Judge Barrett has tested negative.

Joe Biden, who also tested negative for Covid-19 on Friday two days after encountering Mr Trump at the first presidential TV debate, has ordered his campaign staff to “refrain from posting about the situation on social media unless otherwise directed by your manager”.

The Democrat’s campaign has committed to publicly announcing if he ever does contract Covid-19. The same goes for his vice presidential nominee, Kamala Harris, who also wished the president well in a tweet and said she was keeping him and “the entire Trump family in our thoughts” following the diagnosis. 

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