On Monday evening, Donald Trump checked out of Walter Reed Medical Center. His decision to be released has many infectious disease experts concerned he checked out far too soon.
Dr. Peter Chin-Hong is an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at UCSF, he says that typically for someone who is older and being treated with oxygen and drugs like Remdesivir and dexamethasone it is important to monitor them longer in a hospital setting to ensure that they are stable.
He then added that steroid treatments like dexamethasone can cause mental health side effects and make an individual experience feeling of euphoria as they begin to feel better.
“He’s not yet in the second phase of COVID. We call it falling off the cliff,” Chin-Hong said. “It’s a 7-10 day honeymoon period and then suddenly you could need a trip to the ICU.”
He adds that Trump’s doctors likely know this is the case. “I think they know he’s in this honeymoon period, but they’re not saying that because they don’t want people to worry or panic.”
On Monday, Dr. Bob Wachter, chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, tweeted that he would make a patient in a similar situation as Trump’s sign out against doctors’ orders because it would be ‘so irresponsible.’
“So Trump just said he’ll check out of hospital today. Based on what we know (which is uncertain) & even accounting for WH’s medical facilities, if it were my patient & he was adamant about leaving, I’d have him sign-out AMA (“against medical advice”). More irresponsible behavior,” Wachter wrote.
Leaving Walter Reed on Monday was not the first time Trump left the facility since being admitted. On Sunday he drove around the medical center in a motorcade so he could wave to supporters.
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“There are so many things that are abnormal… You don’t put a patient with COVID with a cloth mask in a hermetically sealed space with no ventilation and recirculated air, and the other people in the car are wearing the wrong mask as well,” Chin-Hong said.
“It’s like if you locked yourself in a closet with someone who had COVID and you only had cloth masks.”
When I saw "Secret Service" trending & read first tweet on Trump's joy ride around Walter Reed, I thought, "This has got to be a joke." But nope, it's real. So massively irresponsible.— Bob Wachter (@Bob_Wachter) October 4, 2020
And another reason to question whether he is capable of making sound decisions at this time.
Wachter would later tweet: “When I saw ‘Secret Service’ trending & read first tweet on Trump’s joy ride around Walter Reed, I thought, ‘This has got to be a joke.’ But nope, it’s real. So massively irresponsible.”
He followed that tweet up with, “Don’t be afraid of COVID.” Are you kidding me? After 210,000 deaths in the U.S. & 1 million deaths worldwide? This either shows a breathtakingly callous, inhumane & counterproductive attitude, or he has altered mental status – in which case the 25th Amendment should be invoked.”
Chin-Hong went on to caution that the worst for Trump could still be ahead of him. He also warned that even after a patient recovers, they could have post-COVID symptoms including long-lasting fatigue, brain fog, or even permanent damage to the heart.
“COVID can affect so many people and it doesn’t matter who you are,” he said. “You’re not out of the woods yet.”
Unlike the flu, there are no proven antiviral treatments for COVID-19
Not to mention, people who contract the virus stand a far greater risk of death than those who get the flu, which are facts cited by the World Health Organization.
WHO also states the COVID-19 is 10 times deadlier than the H1N1 swine flu strain.
The death rate for flu is about 0.1%. The current best estimate for the coronavirus is 1%.