TGH COVID doctor weighs in on Trump’s risk of developing complications


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — President Donald Trump, who is considered to have at least two COVID-19 risk factors, will spend the next few days in isolation and under observation at Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland.

This comes a day after the president and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany reported late Friday afternoon that the president will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed “out of an abundance of caution.”

His symptoms reportedly remain mild so far, including fatigue and a low-grade fever. The First Lady is also in isolation and reportedly experiencing a mild cough and headache, according to the White House physician.

The president’s age and weight theoretically put him at greater risk for complications. But doctors in Tampa who have been treating COVID-19 patients for months the disease is highly unpredictable and no two patients respond the same.

“What is the likelihood the president could be incapacitated?” 8 On Your Side asked Dr. Seetha Lakshmi, an infectious disease expert with TGH and USF.

“You know, I wish I could tell you,” Lakshmi said. “It’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced before.”

At 6’3” and 224 lbs, as CNN reported earlier this year, the president is considered mildly obese. According to the CDC, that triples his risk of hospitalization.

At 74 years old, he is also in an age group that is five times more likely to be hospitalized. The first lady is 50, which puts her in a less risky age group.

“There are 90-year-olds who have done really well and 20-year-olds who haven’t done so well,” Lakshmi said.

Until now, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was arguable the most powerful world leader to knowingly contract COVID-19. Johnson, who is also overweight but nearly 20 years younger than Trump, wound up on a ventilator but has since recovered.

“There is something about obesity that we are still learning is independently associated with doing poorly,” Lakshmi said.

The president’s doctor released an update Friday that explained Trump had been given a precautionary antibody cocktail as well as zinc, vitamin D, and aspirin.

Dr. Lakshmi said it typically takes five to seven days for the worst of coronavirus symptoms to manifest.


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