President Trump's quick drive was 'unnecessary,' potentially exposed others to COVID-19, doctors say

ByLuz Pena KGO logo
Monday, October 5, 2020
Trump's quick drive potentially exposed others to COVID-19, doctor says
Concerned health experts say President Donald Trump's short drive to wave to his supporters outside of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday could've infected many around him as he battles the novel coronavirus.

SAN FRANCISCO -- President Donald Trump's short drive to wave to his supporters outside of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center could've infected many around him, health experts say.

"Undoubtedly, I would worry that the Secret Service members would have to be quarantined and tested," said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, Professor of Medicine and Infectious Disease Specialist at UCSF.

The same concern was raised by a medical doctor at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where the President has been hospitalized since Friday.

"Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary presidential 'drive-by' just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity," tweeted, Dr. James P. Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed.

Pres. Trump's SUV is bulletproof and sealed against any chemical attacks. This airtight design makes it easier for COVID-19 droplets to linger says Dr. Chin-Hong.

"We call them aerosol and in an enclosed space, even for a few minutes, they can linger particularly if there is no air exchange," Dr. Chin-Hong said. "The president's car is made to be very sealed so it's even riskier than another car."

Hours earlier, President Trump's medical team cleared confusion about his oxygen level dropping twice in recent days.

"The other evidence that he has fairly severe disease is that they started him on two medicines that you generally don't start unless someone does have fairly severe disease. One is the antiviral medicine called Remdesevir and the other is an anti-inflammatory medicine called dexamethasone," said Dr. Robert Wachter, UCSF's Chair of the Department of Medicine.

WATCH: Next 7 days critical for President Trump's COVID-19 recovery, UCSF doctor says

President Donald Trump's doctor said the president has completed his second Remdesivir treatment but is "not yet out of the woods." UCSF Doctor Robert Wachter agrees and says the next 7 to 10 days are vital to see if he responds to the latest treatment.

Dr. Wachter says steroids are used with severe COVID-19 cases.

"One of the unique superpowers of COVID is that the way many, if not most people, die is your own immune system is powerfully trying to attack the virus but attacking your own body at the same time. That's the mechanism through which giving steroids sometimes helps," said Dr. Wachter.

President Trump's doctors announced he may be released from the hospital on Monday.

Dr. Wachter doesn't believe that's the best medical decision for the president, "He should stay for at least another several days. Because if he is rock stable by mid-week then it might be okay for him to leave. At this point, he might think he's out of the woods but he is not."