Trump positive for COVID-19, is in high risk groups for severe case
President Donald Trump said Tuesday it’s “a shame” that the U.S. reached the grim milestone of 200,000 deaths due to COVID-19. But he said had his administration not taken the actions it did, that number would’ve been “substantially more.” (Sept. 22)
President Trump has tested positive for the coronavirus, as have more than 7 million other Americans. Here’s what we know about the usual course of the disease.
So far the President’s doctor has said only Trump is “well.” No information is available as to whether he is experiencing symptoms.
About 40% of people who are exposed to COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms at all. It’s too early to know if the President will be among them as symptoms typically appear two to 14 days after exposure, according to the Centers for Disease.
Trump was presumably exposed by his aide, Hope Hicks. It was announced that she had tested positive for COVID-19 and was symptomatic on Thursday. She appears to have been diagnosed on Wednesday evening when she flew with the President to Minnesota.
There is increasing data that people infected with COVID-19 who show symptoms have higher viral loads than those without symptoms. That could mean that Hicks exposed the President to higher levels of the SARS-CoV-2 virus than she would have if she had an asymptomatic case of the disease.
In addition, the President rarely wears a mask in public appearances. “That may put him at higher risk of being exposed to a higher viral inoculum,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine and infectious disease expert at the University of California.
“However, the interplay between host and pathogen is complex and so we will have to wait and observe this carefully,” she said.
If Trump was first exposed to the virus on Wednesday, it is still very early for him to begin exhibiting symptoms. Most people who are symptomatic begin to feel sick within 11 and a half days, according to the CDC. In rare cases it can take even longer.
For the 60% of people infected who do develop symptoms, they can experience fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.
Because of his age and obesity, Trump is in two very high-risk groups for developing severe COVID-19 disease, hospitalization and death.
At 74, the president is five times more likely to be hospitalized and 90 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than someone between the ages of 18 and 29, according to the CDC.
Trump is 6-foot-3 and at his last reported medical checkup weighed 243 pounds, giving him a body mass index of 30.4. That’s just over the line into obesity.
Adults with obesity have triple the risk of hospitalization due to a COVID-19 infection, according to the CDC. This is in part because obesity is linked to impaired immune function and decreased lung capacity and reserve.
Trump took “portions” of his physical exam in November, but the White House never disclosed when he returned to complete that assessment. In general, his physican, Dr. Sean Conley, has pronounced him “healthy.”
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