Monday, October 5, 2020

Eight Questons About President Trump's Covid-19 Diagnosis

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine

Ed Hessler

In reporting by Andrew Joseph, STAT considers eight pressing unknowns about the president and his course of illness.

--What is Trump's condition? I mean really. The press briefings this week-end have been very "wooly". First "rosy" but then "chief of staff Mark Meadows said Trump had gone through a 'very concerning' stretch". Since this administration is not known for clarity I suspect we'll never know.

--When was the president diagnosed with Covid-19? Again, this had to be clarified and clarified but right now Thursday night seems to be a reasonable time. Maybe.

--Where did he contract the virus? It takes about "five days after initial exposure for most people who develop symptoms. ...Five days earlier, Trump was announcing the nomination of Amy Comey Barrett to the Supreme Court at the White House. Multiple other attendees at the event now have have confirmed Covid-19 cases as well."

--What wee Trump's interactions...between when he contacted the virus and when he started quarantining? One inference is that Trump "might have been contagious on Tuesday, the day of his debate with...Joe Biden." During preparation for the debate no one on Trump's team of advisors wore a mask during meetings.

--What will the next week be like for the president? "Days seven to 10, are the most critical in determining the likely course of this illness, " according to the president's personal physician Dr. Sean Conley. 

--Why treat him with Regeneron's monoclonal antibody cocktail and Gilead's remsesivir? " Regeron Pharmaceuticals' cocktail...remains in clinical trials and hasn't been authorized by regulators (it mimics infection fighters." Here is the answer given by Dr. Sean Conley: It’s the president. I didn’t want to hold anything back.” (emphasis mine)

--How will Trump's diagnosis affect how Americans view the pandemic? Trump has dismissed the threat more than once, belittled the science and scientists and attacked the credibility of public health agencies..Joseph quotes Michael Mina (Harvard).  “If our president doesn’t do well in this infection, it might cause a lot of people who are thinking that it’s a hoax to think twice.. If he sails through it … then it could potentially create more fuel for somebody who’s already disregarded this virus as not important to continue doing so and to have many people who listen quite dogmatically to him think the same.”

--What does this mean for the campaign?  I especially like Joseph's comments wrote about this.  He knows his territory and what he can comment on knowledgeably. "We here at STAT are health and science reporters, not political journalists. We’ll leave the crystal-ball gazing and electoral insights to others. Still, a number of infections have been confirmed among people who were at the White House’s Barrett event and who were involved in the Trump team’s debate preparation. With a month before the election, debates scheduled, and a campaign that was already hinging on the coronavirus pandemic, we’ll just say that, yep, Trump’s Covid-19 could have an impact."

Joseph reports more fully here

And lo' and behold, the president is now a patient; Sars-CoV-19 caught him although he made it easy. You've seen subsequent reporting, pressers with the medical staff and administration. The response is typical of this administration: botched, confused Personally I thought the White House team's response was botched and confused. The result was obfuscation, walk-backs, obfuscation.

Winston Churchill in his War Memoirs wrote what is good advice: Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it. Ignorance may deride it. Malice may distort it. But there it is.

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