Trump's Doctors Admit to Downplaying Seriousness of His Illness Early On (UPDATE)

White House physician Sean Conley said that Trump is now "just 72 hours" into the diagnosis, which brings the overall timeline into question.

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UPDATED 10/4/2020 2:28 p.m. ET: Following a press conference held by doctor Sean Conley that only further confused people regarding Donald Trump's health, Conley has now admitted that him and other doctors downplayed the severity of his illness early on.

"I didn't want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction, and in doing so, you know, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn't necessarily true," said Conley, as the New York Times reports. Trump reportedly had a "high fever" and his bloody oxygen level dropped on Friday, later doing the same on Saturday.

While it's already been revealed that Trump was administered oxygen before he was flown to the hospital, Conley didn't say whether he had been administered oxygen again on Saturday. He did say that Trump had been given the steroid dexamethasone on Saturday, which is often given to patients showing severe symptoms of COVID-19. Conley added that Trump is doing better, but right now he's "still not on a clear path to full recovery." 

President Trump’s doctors on Sunday said they downplayed the seriousness of the president's illness in earlier briefings. “I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction,” Dr. Sean Conley said.

— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 4, 2020

See original story from 10/03/2020 below.

Sean Conley, a guy roundly referred to in the press as the "White House physician," arguably only added further confusion to the chain of events leading up to Trump claiming a COVID-19 diagnosis during a presser on Saturday.

After getting through a round of thanks and a mention of prayer, Conley gave some opening comments before passing the mic to others on the medical team.

"This morning, the president is doing very well … Just 72 hours into the diagnosis now," Conley said. "The first week of COVID-19, and in particular days 7 to 10, are critical in determining the likely course of this illness. At this time, the team and I are extremely happy with the progress the president has made. Thursday, he had a mild cough and some nasal congestion and fatigue, all of which are now resolving and improving."

Dr. Conley said that we are "72 hours" into Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis. That would be some time Wednesday morning. Trump did not tweet that he was positive until Friday at 12:54am.

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 3, 2020

Of course, the "72 hours" confirmation brings into question the overall timeline of Trump's situation. Notably, he did not publicly mention anything about a reported diagnosis until early Friday. 

Later, when taking questions, Conley offered additional comments which also inspired equal parts concern and dissection. While Conley stated that Trump has been fever-free for over 24 hours, he later said that he did "have a fever Thursday into Friday."

And as for oxygen, Conley's answers to inquiries on that front were noticeably worded to focus on Trump's current situation, with many subsequently pointing out that Conley declined to speak definitively on rather Trump has been on oxygen at all. Instead, Conley stuck to phrasings like "not on oxygen right now" and "right now he is not on oxygen." An Associated Press source, however, was later quoted as saying that Trump "was administered supplemental oxygen" at the White House on Friday.

Conley says we are 72 hours into the diagnosis. We were told around 1 am on Friday morning that POTUS was positive, which is only 36 hours ago.

— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) October 3, 2020

Also, the White House pool received a note Saturday "from a source familiar with" Trump's health alleging that his vitals over the past 24 hours were "very concerning."

WH pool just passed along this vague note from a source familiar with the president’s health.
“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’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) October 3, 2020

Before announcing his diagnosis early Friday, Trump and his followers seemed hell-bent on continuing to downplay the virus despite routinely troubling infection stats from the CDC. 

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