Former US President Donald Trump was much more ill after contracting the novel Coronavirus in October 2020 than the White House publicly admitted at the time. According to a new report, after he tested positive for COVID-19 some officials were concerned that he would need to be put on a ventilator.
Four people familiar with the situation told the NYT that Trump experienced "extremely depressed blood oxygen levels". It was reported that the 45th President of the US also developed a lung issue, commonly associated with pneumonia caused by COVID-19.
Trump Was not Well
After Trump tested positive for the Coronavirus caused disease, he was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for several days in October. At that time a memo from White House described him as "fatigued but in good spirits".
Dr. Sean Conley, the healthcare professional who was responsible for ensuring Trump's recovery, was criticized for his statements about the health condition of the former President one day after he was admitted to the hospital. He said that Trump was "doing very well" and there was "no cause for concern".
But New York Times reported that the officials were so worried about Trump's health before he was taken to the hospital that they thought about a situation when he would need to put under life support.
Two of the officials said that Trump had lung infiltrates, which can be a sign of severe illness in Coronavirus patients who are also exhibiting other symptoms. The blood oxygen level was also extremely concerning as it fell into the 80s— while the 90s are considered as a sign of a severe case.
The Show Must Go On
During the treatment, Trump went to see his supporters—a surprising drive-by visit—outside the military medical center two days after he was admitted in the hospital.
As per the images and videos of the incident, at least two secret service agents were seen in the vehicle along with the former President, who contracted the virus just a month before the 2020 Presidential Election.
However, James Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed, called the stunt by Trump "insanity".
Trump not only downplayed the severity of the Coronavirus pandemic for months—at a time when thousands of Americans were dying because of the COVID-19—but also suggested that his recovery is the proof that the SARS-CoV-2 was not a big threat to people as the healthcare officials and scientists claimed.
When Trump returned to the White House after his illness, he told supporters: "You're going to beat it [COVID-19] ... As your leader, I had to do that. I knew there's a danger to it, but I had to do it. I stood out front, and led."
But the situation became worse in the US. As experts predicted the darkest weeks of the pandemic, the US entered the deadliest stage of the health crisis—just a few weeks after Trump's recovery. As of now, the US has reported over 27 million COVID-19 cases and lost more than 475,000 American lives due to the pandemic.