- Trump developed dangerously low oxygen levels and inflamed lungs while fighting COVID-19 last fall, per The Times.
- These reported symptoms are significantly more severe than those the White House previously revealed.
- Officials believed Trump would have to be put on a ventilator before he was hospitalized, two sources told The Times.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Former President Donald Trump suffered from dangerously low oxygen levels and inflamed lungs while infected with COVID-19 last fall, The New York Times reported on Thursday.
Trump developed lung infiltrates, which can include bacteria or fluid in the lungs. His blood oxygen level also dropped into the 80s, while the CDC says normal oxygen saturation is between 95 and 100%.
The White House, however, never revealed that Trump exhibited these symptoms, which indicate that he suffered from a much more severe case of COVID-19 than was previously known. Two sources told the Times that officials believed Trump would have to be put on a ventilator before he was hospitalized on October 2.
Still, the president reportedly resisted being taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment. He was only convinced to admit himself after members of his staff warned that he may have to be carried out of the White House by the Secret Service if he waited until he could no longer breathe well enough to walk.
So Trump agreed to be flown to the hospital, where he spent three days. During that time, his doctor, Sean Conley, downplayed his illness to the media and the public. The then-president was given several strong drugs, including experimental therapies generally reserved for patients suffering from severe COVID-19 cases.
At the time of Trump’s hospitalization, Conley said the president’s oxygen level had fallen to 93 percent — a claim now disputed by the Times’ new reporting. And Trump reportedly became enraged when his then-chief of staff Mark Meadows tried to privately inform reporters than Trump’s COVID-19 case was severe.
Last fall, physicians told Insider that the treatments Trump received were for patients who are much sicker than Trump’s team said he was.
“If the president is more ill than the press conferences are letting on, then his treatment may well be reasonable,” Dr. Patrick Jackson, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Virginia, told Insider in October. “If the president is doing as well as the press conferences describe, then his treatment is very aggressive.”
After receiving some of the highest-quality medical care in the world, Trump told the public not to be “afraid” of COVID-19, which had killed about 209,000 Americans at that point.
“Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life,” he said. “We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
As of Thursday, over 27 million Americans have been infected and more than 474,000 people have died from COVID-19 as the virus and new variants of it continue their devastating march across the country, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries.
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