October 4 Trump Covid-19 news

By Ben Westcott, Brett McKeehan, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt, Fernando Alfonso III, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 1:15 p.m. ET, October 5, 2020
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4:45 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

Trump is taking a steroid drug for coronavirus. That could be serious, doctors say

From CNN's Maggie Fox and Shelby Lin Erdman

Dr. Brian Garibaldi speaks with reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 4 in Bethesda, Maryland.
Dr. Brian Garibaldi speaks with reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 4 in Bethesda, Maryland. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

One of the physicians treating President Trump, Dr. Brian Garibaldi, said Sunday the President is being given the steroid drug dexamethasone as part of his Covid-19 treatment.

It's an indication that Trump's condition is worrying, as the drug should not be given to anyone who is not ill enough to justify the downsides of taking steroids -- including that it suppresses the immune system.

"We decided that in this case the potential benefits, early on in the course, probably outweighed the risks at this time," White House physician Dr. Sean Conley told reporters outside Walter Reed medical center Sunday.

Some more background on this drug: At least one large, randomized study has shown coronavirus patients do better if they are given dexamethasone, a cheap and widely available corticosteroid drug that tamps down dangerous inflammation. 

The National Institutes of Health says in its guidelines on treating coronavirus infections that "patients with severe Covid-19 can develop a systemic (all-of-body) inflammatory response that can lead to lung injury and multisystem organ dysfunction." Based on the results of the one trial, the NIH panel of experts recommended giving dexamethasone to Covid-19 patients who need oxygen. 

"The panel recommends against using dexamethasone for the treatment of Covid-19 in patients who do not require supplemental oxygen," the NIH guidelines read.

In the study on dexamethasone, which was conducted in Britain, about 23% of patients who got dexamethasone died, compared to about 26% of those who did not.

Read more here.

4:03 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

White House communications aide commits to sharing West Wing Covid-19 numbers

From CNN's Allie Malloy

White House communications aide Alyssa Farah speaks with a reporter at the White House on October 4 in Washington, DC.
White House communications aide Alyssa Farah speaks with a reporter at the White House on October 4 in Washington, DC. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

White House communications aide Alyssa Farah told reporters that the White House will share the number of positive Covid-19 tests in the West Wing going forward.

“We’re giving updates as we have them about numbers within the West Wing and initiating contact tracing,” Farah said while speaking to reporters on the north lawn Sunday.

When asked whether those numbers could be shared with reporters, Farah said: “Okay let me make sure I have the most accurate information and I’ll circle up and get it to the pool.”

Farah wouldn’t comment on the New York Times reporting that two members of the residence staff tested positive for the coronavirus roughly three weeks ago, saying she wouldn’t comment on private citizens.

3:30 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

White House pushes back against allegations of mixed messaging around the President's health  

From CNN's Sam Fossum

White House Director of Strategic Communications Alyssa Farah waits to speak on FOX News outside the White House on October 4 in Washington, DC.
White House Director of Strategic Communications Alyssa Farah waits to speak on FOX News outside the White House on October 4 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The White House has pushed back against allegations of mixed messaging after two briefings from the President's physicians at Walter Reed medical center have left the public with more questions than answers on the status of President Trump's health.  

"Just candidly we've provided three letter updates from Dr. Conley who's given two on camera briefings, the President has spoken directly on camera twice. We've had Chief of Staff Meadows and Kayleigh give briefings, we're going to continue to do this you have my commitment you'll get regular updates," White House spokesperson Alyssa Farah told reporters after an interview on Fox News. 

Farah also tried to explain the discrepancy between what White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and the President's doctors told reporters on Saturday as a "snapshot in time."

"It's kind of a snapshot in time. Saturday the President was doing extremely well, Friday was a little bit more concerning, but he continues to trend upward," Farah said Sunday. "So, Dr. Conley was giving an update from that morning. The other point I would make, which was what Conley alluded to, is when you're treating a patient, you want to project confidence, you want to lift their spirits and that was the intent, but of course Chief of Staff Meadows came out to give you guys more information just to try to be as transparent as you can be throughout this." 

However, when Meadows first approached reporters on Saturday his comments to the press pool at Walter Reed were on background, not on the record. 

"We can trust the information he's giving but if we later have supplementary information you have my commitment, we'll get that to you," Farah said of Dr. Conley. 

When asked on Fox News about Conley's acknowledgement today that he wasn't as forthcoming yesterday with information about the President's health, she said the White House is "committed" to transparency but wanted to be careful with the information they share. 

"We're committed to being transparent with the public, but what I've learned in these moments is that accuracy is more important than speed," Farah said. 

On reports that Meadows is in the doghouse with Trump following the confusing messages coming from the administration on Saturday, she emphatically denied them. 

"No, absolutely not, Mark Meadows has barely left the President's side," Farah said. "He has been at Walter Reed, hours a day working with him, bringing him different documents he's had to sign, briefing him on giving him Hill updates. Honestly, if anything, I think the chief of staff's comments reflect how close their relationship is that he's so close to this individual when he sees him in, you know not feeling well not his tough strong self that we all know, that he wanted to make sure to convey that to the public."

 

3:06 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

Attorney General Barr not showing any Covid-19 symptoms, will stay home Monday

From CNN’s Evan Perez

Attorney General William Barr attends President Donald Trump's announcement of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House on September 26 in Washington, DC.
Attorney General William Barr attends President Donald Trump's announcement of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House on September 26 in Washington, DC. Alex Brandon/AP

Attorney General Bill Barr still has no Covid-19 symptoms, has tested negative for the virus so far and is mostly staying home, Department of Justice spokesperson Kerri Kupec said. 

According to Kupec, Barr has had two rapid coronavirus tests and one PCR test since Friday morning. All of those have been negative. Barr went to the Justice Department for only one meeting on Friday and stayed home this weekend other than getting tested. He goes to the White House to get tested.

Barr will stay home tomorrow, Kupec said.

Some context: Barr attended the White House Rose Garden announcement of President Trump’s selection of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Several attendees of that event have subsequently tested positive for Covid-19.

 

 

2:36 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

Here's a timeline of Trump's Covid-19 illness so far

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the South Lawn of the White House on October 2 in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the South Lawn of the White House on October 2 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Following two briefings from President Trump's doctors over the weekend, more details about the course of his Covid-19 illness are emerging — but some questions still remain.

Here's a brief timeline of what we know so far:

Friday

Since announcing his illness on Twitter early Friday morning, the President's has had frequent "ups and downs," White House physician Dr. Sean Conley said during a briefing at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday.

On Thursday night and into early Friday morning, Conley said the President "was doing well with only mild symptoms" and his oxygen level was in the high 90s — but then late Friday morning, "the President had a high fever and his oxygen saturation was transiently dipping below 94%," Conley said.

The President was given oxygen.

"And after about a minute on only two liters, his saturation levels were back over 95%. He stayed on that for about an hour maybe, and was off and gone," Conley said. 

Later that Friday, Conley added, the President was out of bed, moving around the White House residence and had only mild symptoms. 

On Friday afternoon, Conley said in a White House letter that Trump received an antibody cocktail — an investigational treatment from the biotechnology company Regeneron — and had taken zinc, vitamin D, the heartburn drug famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin.

The President was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for monitoring.

The President has remained without fever since Friday morning, Dr. Sean Dooley, one of Trump's physicians, said during Sunday's briefing. Yet his oxygen level was transient again on Saturday.

Saturday

The President had a second episode of his oxygen level dropping.

"Yesterday there was another episode where it dropped down to about 93%," Conley said on Sunday. "We watched it and it returned back up."

Trump's physicians decided to give him the corticosteroid drug dexamethasone, which has been shown to help patients with Covid-19 and is typically given to patients on supplemental oxygen or ventilation.

Sunday

As of Sunday around noon, Trump feels well, Dr. Brian Garibaldi, one of Trump's physicians, said. 

"He's been up and around. Our plan for today is to have him to eat and drink, be up out of bed as much as possible to be mobile," Girabaldi said. "And if he continues to look and feel as well as he does today our hope is that we can plan for discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House where he can continue his treatment course."

1:33 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

Chuck Schumer wants Mitch McConnell to delay hearings on Supreme Court nominee

From CNN’s Ganesh Setty

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks during a press conference in New York on October 4.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks during a press conference in New York on October 4. CNN

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to delay Judiciary Committee hearings on Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett and demanded full transparency on President Trump’s health during a news briefing late Sunday morning.  

Schumer — who at the beginning of the press conference held up a picture of the Rose Garden ceremony and alleged attendees were “encouraged to take off their masks,” when they got inside — said it makes no sense to hold hearings on Barrett. 

It “makes no sense” to hold hearings on Judge Barrett despite three senators testing positive for coronavirus and McConnell saying it’s not safe for the Senate to meet in session, Schumer said, adding that McConnell is also endangering Hill staff as well.  

“If it’s not safe for the Senate to meet in session, it’s not safe for the hearings to go forward,” said Schumer, adding that virtual hearings are not sufficient for something as important as a Supreme Court nomination. “A virtual hearing is virtually no hearing at all."

Though Democrats cannot stop virtual hearings from taking place, Schumer said Democrats will procedurally use “every tool in the toolbox” to delay any future votes in committee or on the Senate floor.

He did not disclose any specifics on what those measures would be. 

“We all know the President’s cavalier attitude towards Covid, towards masks, towards social distancing, has endangered many people, including himself,” Schumer continued.

He demanded full transparency on Trump's health, along with anyone who has contracted the virus in the Senate and White House. 

“When you don’t have full transparency, when there’s cover-ups, contradictory statements, even lying about something as vital to the nation’s security as the President’s health, the nation is severely endangered,” Schumer said. 

1:23 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

Mike Pence and Karen Pence test negative for Covid-19

From CNN’s Betsy Klein

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence join Trump administration officials on stage after President Donald Trump delivered his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on the South Lawn of the White House August 27 in Washington, DC.
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence join Trump administration officials on stage after President Donald Trump delivered his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on the South Lawn of the White House August 27 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Both Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for Covid-19 on Sunday, an official confirmed.

1:57 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

White House physician sows confusion with briefings

From CNN's Betsy Klein, Sam Fossum and Tami Luhby

Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on October 4.
Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on October 4. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

With President Trump battling coronavirus at Walter Reed medical center, White House doctor Sean Conley has come under fire for making confusing and misleading comments — including one he later walked back — about the President's condition.

After Saturday's televised briefing at Walter Reed, a White House official offered a more alarming assessment of Trump's health to reporters. That reporting was initially given to a pool of reporters attributed to an official familiar with the President's condition.

Later, the Associated Press and the New York Times identified that official as White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Conley claimed at Sunday's briefing that Meadows' widely reported statement contradicting him was "misconstrued."

"The chief and I work side by side," Conley said. "And I think his statement was misconstrued. What he meant was that 24 hours ago, when he and I were checking on the President, that there was that momentary episode of the high fever and that temporary drop in the saturation, which prompted us to act expediently to move him up here."

Conley added: "Fortunately, that was really a very transient limited episode, a couple hours later he was back up. Mild again. You know, we, I'm not going to speculate what that limited episode was about so early in the course but he's doing well."

Conley on Sunday also defended the decision to not disclose that the President was administered oxygen by saying he wanted to "reflect the upbeat attitude of the team."

"I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the President, his course of illness has had. I didn't want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction, and in doing so it came off that we were trying to hide something," Conley said, adding that "wasn't necessarily true."

Joe Johns reports:

12:34 p.m. ET, October 4, 2020

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: President Trump should not be discharged Monday

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta discussed President Trump's health status and the treatments that he's received.

WATCH: