As President Donald Trump continues to be treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, doctors and senior White House staff members have given conflicting updates about the president’s condition, treatments and when he learned he was infected with the coronavirus.
A timeline of events about the president’s illness is drawn from his tweets, news conferences, statements from the White House and reporting from The New York Times.
Trump and his team traveled to Minnesota for a rally that lasted about 45 minutes — about half the length of his typical campaign speeches.
During the event, one of Trump’s closest advisers, Hope Hicks, started to have symptoms related to the virus.
On the return trip, Trump slept as some of his advisers spoke about the condition of Hicks, who was isolated in the back of the plane.
News that Hicks tested positive for the virus came as Trump left the White House by helicopter around 1 p.m. for a fundraiser at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
At the event, Trump appeared before hundreds of supporters, both indoors and outdoors. One person who saw the president there said he was in contact with about 100 people and appeared lethargic.
On a call with Iowa voters and in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Trump sounded raspy.
Later that night, Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said.
The president had a mild cough, nasal congestion and fatigue.
Close to 1 a.m., Trump said on Twitter that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Later in the morning, Trump had a high fever and his oxygen saturation levels dipped below 94%, Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, said.
The doctor recommended that Trump be given supplemental oxygen.
“He was fairly adamant that he didn’t need it,” Conley said. “He was not short of breath. He was tired, had the fever, but that was about it.”
After about a minute on 2 liters of supplemental oxygen, Trump’s saturation levels were back over 95%, Conley said. The president stayed on the supplemental oxygen for about an hour at the White House.
That evening, Trump was taken to Walter Reed for a more thorough evaluation and monitoring.
Trump received an 8-gram dose of an experimental polyclonal antibody combination. He also took zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and aspirin.
The president also was given his first dose of remdesivir, an antiviral drug that has an emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration as a COVID-19 therapy.
Trump has mild heart disease, similar to many men in their 70s. He also takes a statin drug to treat high cholesterol and aspirin to prevent heart attacks. His health summary, released in June, showed that he crossed the line into obesity at 244 pounds.
The president’s blood oxygen level dropped for a second time to about 93%, which some experts describe as a potential indicator of severe COVID-19, although it was unclear if the president received any supplemental oxygen.
He was given the steroid dexamethasone, which has been used to treat diseases like lupus, arthritis and cancer. A study conducted by scientists at the University of Oxford showed the drug reduced deaths of COVID-19 patients on oxygen by one-fifth.
Trump was given a second dose of remdesivir and did not exhibit any known side effects, doctors said.
Conley said that, as of that night, Trump remained “fever-free and off supplemental oxygen.”
“While not yet out of the woods, the team remains cautiously optimistic,” he added.
Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, offered a more somber description of the president’s health, generating skepticism over Conley’s initial news conference.
“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,” Meadows told reporters. “We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”
In a video shared on Twitter, Trump said he was “starting to feel good” and thanked supporters and well-wishers.
The president’s blood oxygen level improved to 98%, Conley said at a news conference.
Doctors wanted him to eat, drink and be out of bed as much as possible.
The president’s medical team hinted at the possibility that Trump might be discharged to the White House as early as Monday.
Doctors were tracking any damage to his lungs for signs of pneumonia.
“There’s some expected findings, but nothing of any major clinical concern,” Conley said.