14 lingering questions about President Donald Trump, coronavirus and the future of his presidency

And we all know that a minimum of eight folks — together with Trump and first woman Melania Trump — who attended final Saturday’s announcement of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden have since examined optimistic.

But past that, there are nonetheless a LOT of unknowns — questions that the White House both refuses to reply or just can’t present good solutions on. Below, an inventory of simply some of these questions.

* How sick is Trump, actually?: We do not precisely know. Minutes after White House doctor Sean Conley said on Saturday that “the President is doing very well,” a “source familiar with the President’s health” mentioned this: “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. We are still not on a clear path to a full recovery.” On Sunday, Conley mentioned that Trump had a “high fever” on Friday morning and was given supplemental oxygen regardless of his resistance to doing so. “The President has continued to improve,” mentioned Conley, and Trump tweeted Monday that he is leaving the hospital after three nights, declaring he’s “feeling really good!” and that coronavirus is nothing to concern. Here’s what we do know about his keep: 1) Trump was having problem respiratory on Friday and had a excessive fever 2) He was given supplemental oxygen at the White House 3) he was transported to Walter Reed Friday evening 4) He had not required any extra oxygen since arriving at Walter Reed. And we additionally know that at 74 years previous and overweight, technically talking, Trump is at a better threat of having issues from Covid-19.
* When did Trump final take a look at adverse for the virus?: We know that Trump examined optimistic twice on Thursday for the coronavirus — once a rapid test, the other a more reliable PCR test. But neither the White House nor Trump’s physician, Conley, have been prepared to say when he final had a adverse take a look at. Which makes it onerous to find out when Trump may need been contagious to others he was round.
* Why did Trump go to New Jersey and do a fundraiser?: The White House has made clear that Trump did not take a look at optimistic till after he returned from his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf membership the place he held a donor occasion Thursday afternoon. (State well being officers are seeking to contact greater than 200 individuals who might have come into contact with Trump throughout the fundraiser.) Trump’s journey is all the extra baffling provided that some members of the White House knew senior Trump aide Hope Hicks had examined optimistic as early as Thursday morning. As New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said in a tweet on Monday afternoon: “The President & his staff acted recklessly in coming to New Jersey knowing that they had been exposed to someone with a confirmed positive test.”
* Is the White House contact tracing?: Given how many people in and around the President have tested positive for the virus — White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany joined their ranks on Monday morning — you’d suppose the White House could be engaged in a mass contact tracing effort to restrict the unfold. And they could be! But it doesn’t seem like all that thorough, provided that The New York Times White House reporter Michael Shear, who examined optimistic for the virus on Friday, told CNN’s “New Day” Monday that he hadn’t heard from anyone in the White House yet.
* Is Trump the first world chief to have Covid-19?: No! A quantity of world leaders have contracted it, together with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro in July and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in March. Johnson, like Trump, was hospitalized as a result of of the virus however, not like Trump, spent several days in an intensive care unit.
* What drugs is Trump being given?: As I famous above, the White House doctor has been considerably cagey about the course of therapy for the President. But here’s what we do know the President has been given: 1) Regeneron’s dual antibody cocktail on Friday. The cocktail is taken into account an experimental drug as a result of it has not been accepted to be used by the Food and Drug Administration. 2) A five-day course of remdesivir, an antiviral drug that has proven to hurry restoration amongst some Covid-19 sufferers. 3) Dexamethasone, a steroid, was administered to Trump on Saturday as a consequence of transient episodes through which his oxygen degree dropped, based on Conley. Conley mentioned Monday that Trump has not taken fever-reducing medication — however dexamethasone can mask fever. 4) Zinc and vitamin D, which may be aimed toward boosting the immune system 5) Melatonin 6) A heartburn drug referred to as famotidine and 7) a every day aspirin.
* What occurs if Mike Pence will get Covid-19?: The vice chairman has examined adverse for Covid-19 on a minimum of 4 events since Friday — together with on Monday morning. He is anticipated to move to Salt Lake City to arrange for Wednesday evening’s debate with California Sen. Kamala Harris regardless of there being major questions about whether he should still be quarantining. If Pence did get sick and was unable to carry out his duties, a lot would rely upon Trump’s well being. To date, Trump has not felt as if he wanted to switch energy to Pence as a consequence of ongoing points with the coronavirus. Assuming he continues to really feel the identical or higher, Trump would stick with it being president if Pence occurred to be incapacitated as a consequence of Covid-19. If, for no matter cause, each Trump and Pence had been incapacitated, the presidential line of succession would make House Speaker Nancy Pelosi president, though the legislation there’s considerably obscure and such a transfer would doubtless be challenged.
* What is Joe Biden doing?: At the second, the former vice chairman continues to maintain a marketing campaign schedule though he has taken down all negative TV ads whereas Trump continues to convalesce. Biden is about to take part in an NBC News city corridor at eight p.m. Eastern Monday. He will marketing campaign in communities in and round close to Miami earlier than the townhall. Biden last tested negative for coronavirus on Sunday.
* Is the subsequent presidential debate going to occur?: The quick reply is we do not know. The subsequent presidential debate is about for October 15 in Miami. Based on the at-times complicated timeline supplied by the White House, Trump examined optimistic for coronavirus in some unspecified time in the future on Thursday, October 1. He was displaying indicators of sickness that very same day. Which implies that he might, in concept, take part in the debate. According to the CDC’s guidelines, an individual with Covid-19 may be round others 10 days after the onset of signs, assuming they don’t have any fever and different coronavirus-related signs are enhancing. Biden, for his half, mentioned Monday that he would take part “if scientists say that it’s safe,” including: “I’ll do whatever the experts say is appropriate for me to do.”
* Will Amy Coney Barrett nonetheless be confirmed earlier than Election Day?: That prospect appears a lot much less doubtless right now than it did even 5 days in the past. The cause? Three Republican senators — Utah’s Mike Lee, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis and Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson — have all examined optimistic for Covid-19 since Friday, which means that they’re isolating for a interval of time (the CDC suggestions are 14 days). That outbreak precipitated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to announce over the weekend that the Senate was not planning any votes till October 19. That mentioned, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) continues to be planning to carry Barrett’s affirmation listening to the week of October 12 — a transfer that has created important controversy, as Democrats insist that it isn’t clear the Senate is secure at the second. And then there’s the onerous math: Two GOP senators (Lisa Murkowksi of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine) have mentioned they oppose holding a vote to verify a Supreme Court justice this near the election. That means McConnell can afford to lose just one extra vote and nonetheless be assured of affirmation. If any of the trio who’ve contracted coronavirus are unable to vote, that eliminates McConnell’s margin. (Much extra on all of that here.)

* What occurs if Barrett is not confirmed earlier than Election Day?: The choice for the White House and Senate Republicans is to get Barrett on the Court earlier than November 3. But as famous above, that’s not a positive factor at the second. If the votes aren’t there earlier than the election, my guess is that Trump and Senate GOPers will attempt to affirm her in a lame-duck session — which means one after the election however earlier than the subsequent Congress is sworn in. That’s no large deal if Trump wins and Republicans preserve management of the Senate. But if Trump loses and Republicans lose management of the Senate in the November election; it isn’t clear whether or not McConnell would have the ability to spherical up the 50 votes he must get Barrett confirmed and, even when he might, how that will play with a public who would watch Republican senators who had misplaced solid a massively monumental vote to put in a justice on the nation’s highest courtroom for all times.

* How a lot management does Trump have over his docs?: This is a tricky one to reply solely as a result of a really small quantity of folks know the precise reply — and they don’t seem to be speaking. But from all indications over the weekend, Trump’s medical workforce appears very, very conscious of their affected person and his views. Conley, requested about his evasiveness-bordering-on-falsehood in a briefing on Trump’s situation on Saturday, mentioned this on Sunday: “I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the President in his course of illness has had.” (Note: The President just isn’t a medical physician.) Then there was Trump’s drive-by of his supporters on Sunday evening, which the White House insisted was OKed by his docs. (One wonders whether or not the docs thought-about the health of the two Secret Service agents tasked with parading Trump around.)

* If Trump is discharged, does that imply he’s out of the woods?: I’m not a health care provider (sorry Mom!) however all indications are that if Trump is launched by his medical workforce from Walter Reed that they consider is in out of instant hazard from the virus for now. Conley put it this manner: “Though he may not be entirely out of the woods yet, the team and I agree that all our evaluations, and most importantly, his clinical status, support the President’s safe return home, where he’ll be surrounded by world class medical care.”

Of course, Covid-19 continues to be a really new illness — we did not even understand it existed a yr in the past! — and infectious illness consultants proceed to study extra and extra about its long-term results on the physique. There are already a quantity of documented circumstances of so-called “long haulers” — individuals who proceed to battle with Covid-19 issues weeks and months after the preliminary onset of signs.

“We’re in a bit of uncharted territory when it comes to a patient that received the therapies he has so early in the course,” Conley mentioned on Monday. “So we’re looking to this weekend — if we can get through Monday with him remaining the same improvements — better yet, then we will all take that final deep sigh of relief.”

* How many extra Trump aides will get Covid-19?: McEnany in addition to two different junior White House press aides examined optimistic on Monday. That brings the quantity contaminated on this White House (and Trump marketing campaign, in addition to his GOP orbit) cluster to 14. (Full list here). As McEnany’s optimistic take a look at — after a number of days of adverse exams — proves, the virus might take a number of days to manifest in somebody’s physique. (The incubation interval for Covid-19 is 2 to 14 days.) Given the quantity of folks in Trump’s orbit who’ve already examined optimistic and the lackadaisical angle the President and his prime aides have taken to mask-wearing and social distancing, it appears doubtless that there will probably be extra circumstances.

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