74 and Chubby, Trump Faces Further Dangers From ‘a Very Sneaky Virus’

74 and Overweight, Trump Faces Extra Risks From ‘a Very Sneaky Virus’

WASHINGTON – President Trump, like many men in the 1970s, has mild heart disease. He's taking a statin drug to treat high cholesterol and aspirin to help prevent heart attacks. And at 244 pounds in a health summary published in June, he's crossed the line to become obese.

All of this, experts say, increases the risk of a serious attack of Covid-19. So far, White House officials say Mr Trump's symptoms are mild – mild fever, fatigue, nasal congestion, and cough – but it's far too early to say how the disease will progress.

"He's 74 years old, strong, and male, and those three things together make him a higher risk group of developing serious infections," said Dr. William Schaffner, Infectious Disease Specialist at Vanderbilt University, added, "Although he is He's meticulously watched and can do well for a few days. He's not out of the woods because people can fall after that time. This is a very devious virus. "

Mr Trump will no doubt benefit from the best medical care the United States has to offer. On Friday evening, he was taken to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., The country's premier military hospital, to be tested. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Mr. Trump would stay there "for the next few days" out of "great caution and on the recommendation of his doctor and medical experts". She said he would work in the hospital's presidential suite.

His doctors have already taken extraordinary steps; On Friday they gave him a single infusion of an experimental antibody cocktail that is showing promising results in early clinical trials. He also takes vitamin D, zinc, melatonin, famotidine (an antacid better known as pepcid), and daily aspirin, as per a memo by Dr. Sean P. Conley, the President's Doctor, emerges.

It is impossible to accurately calculate the risks to Mr. Trump. Every patient is different and doctors have learned that people can react to the disease in different ways. Some remain asymptomatic. Some develop symptoms that last for months. Some patients take dire turns that die within a few days.

Still others can have serious health effects that leave them unemployed for long periods of time. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government's leading infectious disease expert, told lawmakers last month that scientists were dismayed to find "a worrying number of people with heart infections" among those who have recovered and appear asymptomatic.

"These are the things that tell us that we need to be humble and that we do not fully understand the nature of this disease," said Dr. Fauci.

As with all Covid-19 patients, Mr Trump's overall health will make a difference in his pricing. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that approximately 64.7 percent of Covid-19 patients with underlying health conditions in their age group had to be hospitalized and 31.7 percent have died.

"It's really important to say that there is no way to predict what an individual patient will experience," said Michael T. Osterholm, epidemiologist who heads the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. "We can generally say that older men, for example, have a twofold risk of developing life-threatening illnesses or dying through others, and obesity increases the risk."

Dr. Osterholm said, however, that many people in the same risk category as Mr Trump have made a full recovery.

Mr Trump's persistent refusal to wear a mask can also change the course of his illness. If he became infected while his face was exposed, he may have been exposed to higher levels of the virus, which, according to experts who have not examined him but were able to talk about patients like him in general, also increases his risk of serious illness.

"My great fear is that he has likely been exposed to greater exposure," said one such expert, Dr. David A. Nace, geriatrician and medical affairs director for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's network of 35 care facilities. "He's fine at the moment, but we're early and really have to watch him for the next two weeks."

However, Mr. Trump's true state can remain a mystery. The president has never commented on his health – other than being in excellent physical shape – and has never published full medical records like the presidents before him. In recent years he has asked himself more and more questions on this topic.

Speculation swirled in June after videos surfaced of him tentatively walking down a ramp at the US military academy at West Point and having trouble putting a glass of water in his mouth while giving a speech.

In November 2019, Mr Trump made an unannounced visit to Walter Reed because White House officials later said it was a "regular primary check-up" – even though the president had only undergone his annual physical exam nine months earlier.

Early Friday, White House officials said the president would be recovering at the White House. At the end of the day he was in the hospital.

Mr. Trump is looked after by Dr. Conley, a Navy doctor who is the President's official doctor, and a team of experts he oversees. (Dr. Fauci said in a short text message on Friday that he had not been asked to consult about Mr. Trump's care.)

In his memo on Friday after Mr Trump received his experimental treatment, Dr. Conley that Mr. Trump "completed the infusion without incident" and that he "remains tired but in good spirits". He made a point of going to the presidential helicopter to fly to the Washington suburbs.

Mr Trump also has the benefit of getting Covid-19 at a time when doctors have learned to deal with the disease, unlike in the early stages of the pandemic when many doctors were flying blind and death rates were far higher than they are now. For example, doctors now know that steroids can be useful in treating Covid-19.

And there are now two therapeutics approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Covid-19 in an emergency: the intravenous drug remdesivir and convalescent plasma, a therapy that uses blood from people who have recovered to trigger an immune response. Both are generally only used on hospital patients.

A line of demarcation in Mr. Trump's treatment will be whether the president develops shortness of breath; If so, his doctors could decide to keep him in the hospital and almost certainly treat him more aggressively, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, infectious disease expert and senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Dr. Adalja said some doctors are trying to use "monoclonal antibodies" – laboratory-made molecules that act as surrogate antibodies that can stimulate the immune system – to prevent early-stage patients from being hospitalized.

The antibody cocktail Mr. Trump received is made by Regeneron, a biotech company, which reported this week that its drug increased virus levels – known as viral load – and the time it takes to relieve symptoms in out-of-hospital patients with Covid- 19. The company's executive director said Mr Trump's doctors asked for special permission to use the drug and the Food and Drug Administration approved it.


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