Leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday said that President Donald Trump’s health could still worsen in the coming days despite his improved appearance after returning to the White House from a hospital stay for coronavirus.
“The issue is that he is still early enough in the disease that it’s not secret that if you look at the clinical course of people, sometimes when you’re five to eight days in, you could have a reversal,” Fauci told CNN’s Chris Cuomo late Monday. “A reversal meaning going in the wrong direction and get into trouble.”
Fauci, who is also the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that while a sudden turn for the worst was unlikely, the President’s medical need “need to be heads up for it.”
“He knows it, the physicians know it, but he certainly does look very well,” Fauci said, referring to the President’s photo-op which appeared to project good health.
“You saw the way he came out of the helicopter into there. He looked like he was in pretty good shape,” Fauci added.
The comments come after President Trump returned to the White House on Monday after being rushed to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday for close monitoring and treatment for COVID-19.
White House physician Sean Conley acknowledged during a briefing earlier on Monday that the President “may not entirely be out of the woods yet.” At that time Conley refused to address questions about Trump’s lung health, but said that the President met requirements for discharge.
Since his discharge, President Trump has refused to accept responsibility for how his own reckless behavior likely put at risk the health of more than a hundred others after he attended a fundraiser at his Bedminster golf club amid knowledge that one of his senior aides had contracted coronavirus. Since his own announcement just hours after that event that he had also tested positive for coronavirus, others in recent close proximity with the President have also come forward with positive tests.
Trump’s message amid his own battle with the virus, has not been about taking the guidelines of health experts within his own administration more seriously, nor has it been an admission of his own failure to take appropriate precaution to avoid spreading infection — it’s that Americans shouldn’t “be afraid of COVID.”
Trump appears emboldened to tell Americans even more explicitly than ever not to fear catching coronavirus because “we have the best medicines in the world.” But absent from Trump’s call to cast aside caution, is any acknowledgment that as president he has had access to premium health care and advanced experimental treatments that many Americans will never receive if they fall sick.
Fauci appeared to point at this very fact on Monday saying that he was “strongly suspicious” that an treatment still in clinical trials called regeneron which involves infusing the body with antibodies that had been successfully used to treat ebola had dramatically improved Trump’s condition.
“The president got that as a compassionate use,” Fauci said.