Monday, October 5, 2020

Typhoid Donald takes a trip

Mary Mallon, also known as Typhoid Mary, was an Irish-born cook believed to have infected 53 people with typhoid fever, three of whom died, and the first person in the United States identified as an asymptomatic carrier of the disease. (From Wikipedia)

Is Donald Trump, the COVID–19 Typhoid Donald? Read on.

The AP (via the Daily Star) reports that [Trump leaves hospital in car to wave at supporters; the latest knowns and unknowns of his condition][aw0l].

President Donald Trump declared, “I get it,” in a message to the nation Sunday evening before briefly leaving the hospital to salute cheering supporters from his motorcade, a surprising move that raised new questions about the president’s understanding of the coronavirus that has killed more than 209,000 [Scriber: now over 210,000] Americans.

Hours earlier, Trump’s medical team reported that his blood oxygen level dropped suddenly twice in recent days and that they gave him a steroid treatment typically only recommended for the very sick. The doctors also said his health is improving and that he could be discharged as early as Monday.

“It’s been a very interesting journey. I learned a lot about COVID,” Trump said, standing in his hospital room in a video posted on social media. “I learned it by really going to school.”

He added, “I get it, and I understand it."

Really? If this dotard understood it, we wouldn’t have 210,000 dead. And he would not have broken quarantine thus endangering others including the Secret Service detail. And he did not have to get infected himself in order to understand the magnitude of the covid–19 pandemic.

Before the video was posted, the infected president cruised by supporters in his bulletproof SUV, windows rolled up, driven by Secret Service agents in protective gear who were potentially exposed to the disease that has swept through the White House in recent days.

“This is insanity,” tweeted Dr. James P. Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where Trump has been hospitalized since Friday evening.

“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," the doctor wrote. “For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater.”

Trump’s doctors earlier in the day sidestepped questions about exactly when Trump’s blood oxygen dropped — an episode they neglected to mention in multiple statements the day before — or whether lung scans showed any damage.

It was the second straight day of confusion and obfuscation from a White House already suffering from a credibility crisis. And it raised more doubts about whether the doctors treating the president were sharing accurate, timely information with the American public about the severity of him condition.

For more on What we know, and what we don’t, about Trump’s diagnosis, see the Daily Star/AP report here.

Let’s look at some of the questions raised by Typhoid Donald’s excursion.

  • Was he not under quarantine?
  • How did he get to the SUV from his hospital room?
  • Same question in reverse: how did he get from the SUV back to his hospital room?
  • Who was exposed to such transports?
  • Given a release to WH, and Trump suffers a relapse, then what? Another stay at Walter Reed?

Some answers can be found in this report by CNN’s Kevin Liptak.‘That should never have happened’: Inside Trump’s Walter Reed parade..

Pacing the well-appointed presidential suite at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center between intravenous doses of remdesivir and near-hourly checks of his vitals, President Donald Trump has told more than one well-wisher he’s desperate to fly the coop.

So on Sunday he did. Just past 5 p.m. ET, a combination of boredom, agitation and yearning for adulation while convalescing from coronavirus brought the President to the rear seat of a black Chevy Suburban, waving frantically as he rode at a crawl down Rockville Pike while two US Secret Service agents, dressed in medical gowns, respirator masks and eye protection, stared stoically ahead.

It was an image concocted by the President himself and the very tight group of aides who have accompanied him to Walter Reed, including chief of staff Mark Meadows and social media adviser Dan Scavino, a person familiar with the matter said. They hoped it might reassure Americans that Trump remains both hale and in command after what he deemed exaggerated news coverage of his condition and – in particular – outsized prognostications he planned to transfer power to Vice President Mike Pence.

But his seconds-long parade only underscored the relaxed attitude toward transmission that appear to have landed Trump in the hospital to begin with. The contained space inside the presidential limousine hardly allowed for social distancing from the driver and agent. While Trump wore a mask, his status as a Covid-positive hospital patient precluded him from falling within anyone’s recommendations for a public appearance.

Reactions from the Secret Service

Afterward, members of the Secret Service voiced escalating concern at what many of the agency’s personnel have determined is total disregard for their well-being amid a deadly and highly contagious pandemic. Agents have tested positive for the virus while traveling for the President’s political rallies, which he insisted on maintaining even against federal health guidelines. As employees self-quarantine or isolate in place, others have been forced to work longer hours to fill the void.

It’s a situation that has prompted growing and more vocal concern.

“That should never have happened,” one current Secret Service agent who works on the presidential and first family detail said after Trump’s drive-by, adding that those agents who went along for the ride would now be required to quarantine.

“I mean, I wouldn’t want to be around them,” the agent said, expressing a view that multiple people at the Secret Service also voiced in the wake of Sunday’s appearance. “The frustration with how we’re treated when it comes to decisions on this illness goes back before this though. We’re not disposable.” Another veteran Secret Service agent also expressed deep dismay at the Walter Reed ride, though was sympathetic for those around the President given the difficulty in pushing back on the commander-in-chief.

“You can’t say no,” the agent said.

A third agent told CNN: “It was simply reckless.” But another sought to downplay the concern.

“I’ve watched some of the news today and it’s ridiculous to say the President is trying to kill off his detail,” said another current agent on Sunday. “He’s unconventional, but we get the job done.”

In a statement, the White House insisted measures were taken to protect others in the car with Trump.

“Appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the President and all those supporting it, including (personal protective equipment). The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do,” deputy press secretary Judd Deere said.

Anything but safe

Medical experts and physicians said the episode appeared anything but safe.

“That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack,” Dr. James P. Phillips, who is affiliated with Walter Reed, tweeted. “The risk of COVID19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play.”

Dr. Leana Wen, an ER physician and CNN medical analyst, tweeted that if Trump were her patient, “in unstable condition + contagious illness, & he suddenly left the hospital to go for a car ride that endangers himself & others: I’d call security to restrain him then perform a psychiatric evaluation to examine his decision-making capacity.”

Thanks to Editor at Large Sherry for an alert.

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