Former US President Donald Trump’s condition with Covid-19 became so concerning last year that there was talk of putting him on a ventilator, according to what Trump told one person at the time, raising questions over whether the White House downplayed the seriousness of his situation.
The new details of what happened while Trump was hospitalized at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in October were first reported by The New York Times on Thursday. CNN reported at the time that Trump had received supplemental oxygen, citing a source with knowledge of Trump’s treatment.
The details invite new scrutiny over waffling remarks by Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, who last year refused to directly answer reporters’ questions about whether Trump was on oxygen, repeatedly emphasizing that he was not “right now.” When he was asked if Trump had received it at all, Conley said: “He has not needed any this morning, today at all.” Asked if he had ever been on supplemental oxygen as part of his treatment, Conley said: “Right now he is not,” adding, “Yesterday and today, he was not on oxygen.”
Mark Meadows, who was White House chief of staff, was forced to clarify Conley’s remarks to reporters the following day, in which he conceded Trump’s vitals “were very concerning” and that he was “still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”
The New York Times report also said Trump was found to have lung infiltrates, “which occur when the lungs are inflamed and contain substances such as fluid or bacteria.” The report added that their presence could be “sign of an acute case of the disease.”
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q: With coronavirus variants here, should I still get the vaccine?
A: Absolutely, says CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen. The efficacy of vaccines against new variants will need to be continually studied, and it’s possible that as more mutations and variants emerge, we will need booster shots, or even an annual vaccine like the flu shot, which is updated every year.
But we simply don’t know when these booster shots might come out, Dr. Wen said. “It may be months, and the booster shots may require that you first have completed the vaccine series. If you have the opportunity to get the vaccine now, you should do so to protect yourself. Remember that the vaccines we have are still effective against the variants.” Read here for more information from Dr. Wen.
Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
Fans banned from Australian Open after state records 13 Covid-19 cases
The Australian state of Victoria will lock down for five days in a bid to curb the spread of a more contagious coronavirus variant, meaning the Australian Open in Melbourne will go ahead without fans during what is usually its busiest few days.
Australia has largely contained the virus, and often imposes strict state-wide “circuit-breaker” lockdowns when new clusters emerge. Authorities identified 13 new cases tied to an employee of a quarantine hotel in Melbourne, who tested positive for the UK variant on Monday.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said Friday that “this hyper-infectious variant is moving at hyper-speed,” pointing to five confirmed infections in a 24-hour period. “We are facing a new kind of enemy. A virus that is smarter, and faster, and more infectious,” he said, adding that the country would continue taking its stringent approach to the virus until it obtained vaccines. Australia has not yet begun rolling out coronavirus vaccines.
Pfizer shot triggers strong immune response to new variants
A study has found that people who have received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine show strong immune responses to the Covid-19 variants first identified in the UK and South Africa.
The lab study, which is yet to be peer reviewed, found antibodies were less effective against the variant in the UK and even less so against the variant found in South Africa. After two doses, though, the T-cell response was especially strong, showing how important it is to get that second shot.
Meanwhile, an intravenous anti-inflammatory drug used for rheumatoid arthritis called Tocilizumab has been shown to reduce the risk of death for patients hospitalized with severe Covid-19. It also reduces the risk of ventilation and the duration of hospitalization, preliminary results from a trial in the UK show. The results, which have not yet been peer reviewed, showed a death rate of 29% in people severely ill with Covid-19, down from 33% for those who did not take the medication.
WhatsApp and sermons: How some Britons are getting more Black people and other ethnic minority groups to take a vaccine
Christine Lloyd-Jones was hesitant to get a Covid-19 vaccine, but after losing three loved ones to the virus in just five days, she changed her mind, in what she describes as “one of the hardest decisions I have made in my life.” Now she is trying to spread the word through WhatsApp in a community where vaccine hesitancy is rife.
According to data from OpenSAFELY, Black people in the most vulnerable age group of over 80 were around half as likely to be vaccinated as their White counterparts in late January, even though Black people are disproportionately impacted by the virus, Christopher Johnson writes.
Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities have also shown more hesitancy, inspiring a collective of imams to deliver sermons explaining vaccine safety in more than 100 mosques across the country.
ON OUR RADAR
- Canada secured enough Covid-19 shots in early agreements to vaccinate its population four times over, yet supply problems have stalled its inoculation program.
- The UK economy just had its worst year in three centuries, contracting 9.9% in 2020.
- A report by Human Rights Watch shows that 83 countries have used the pandemic to justify silencing critics or to clamp down on protests, with some even using the military or police to assault journalists and other critics of government pandemic responses.
- Israel has a world-beating coronavirus vaccine program, having given at least one dose of the vaccine to almost 50% of its target population of over 16-year-olds. CNN visits an Israeli vaccine distribution center.
- The US city of San Francisco has filed an emergency court order in an effort to force its public schools to reopen for in-person instruction, saying closures are “unconscionable and unlawful” and violate children’s constitutional rights.
- President Joe Biden says the US is on track to have vaccines for 300 million Americans by the end of July and announces plans to purchase more Moderna and Pfizer shots.
For nearly a year, children have been navigating social isolation, deeply stressed parents, the effects of financial uncertainty, as well as home and remote schooling. While Covid-19 itself has largely been sparing of children’s physical health, studies have shown it has taken a toll on their mental health, associated with an increase in suicide-related behaviors, experts say.
Experts suggest keeping a watchful eye on not just children who have expressed feelings of anxiety or depression, but any child who becomes moody or withdrawn, or has major changes in appetite or sleep. If they do, consider finding a mental health service provider. Here are some more tips on how to keep kids socially connected and talk to them about this difficult time.
“Keep your head up. Take a moment every now and then to appreciate the good stuff. The incredible scientific achievement that has gotten us this far.” — CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta
More than 33 million Americans have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and the Johnson & Johnson shot could receive an emergency use authorization in the coming weeks. Dr. Gupta is optimistic, and he’d like to tell you why. Listen now.