What does the Trump hospitalization mean?

As often happens, the White House is leaking out the bad news about Trump’s condition in dribs and drabs. First he tested positive but had no symptoms. Then they said that he had mild symptoms but nothing serious and would be ‘working’ from his residence. Given that Trump’s ideal workday consists of sitting in his bed in his pajamas and watching Fox News while eating cheeseburgers and drinking Diet Coke and tweeting endlessly, that seemed like he could easily manage that.

The first sign that things may not be going that well was the fact that Trump, after the tweet very early yesterday morning announcing that he and Melania had tested positive, did not tweet anything at all for the rest of the day, except for a brief 18-second video video late in the afternoon saying that he was fine but going to the hospital.

The news that he was being flown to Walter Reed hospital and would be there for a few days would normally seem like a reasonable precaution even if he was not that sick but what struck me was this news item that he is undergoing an experimental treatment while there.

Biotechnology company Regeneron released some early results of tests using its antibody cocktail in coronavirus patients Tuesday, and said it seemed to reduce levels of the virus and improve symptoms in patients.

The greatest improvements were seen in patients who hadn’t already mounted a natural response to the infection, the company said.

The results only involve 275 patients of the 1,000 they have enrolled in this particular trial, but appear “very promising,” Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, the director of the division of infectious diseases at University of Alabama at Birmingham, told CNN.

Because the company released the information in a news release and not as a scientific report, it’s unclear who was enrolled in the study and how reflective they were of the population. The treatment would have to be tested in many more people to know for sure how well it works. Scientists will also want to know more about how many patients w

I am under the impression that one usually submits to experimental treatments only if one is in a serious condition and traditional treatments are not working, or one is enrolled in a clinical trial. Although Trump has cavalierly promoted all manner of crackpot treatments like injecting bleach or somehow using lasers or taking hydroxychloroquine, that was meant for other people. I am surprised that his physicians suggested this to him and that he agreed unless they are worried that he is not responding well to the measures taken so far. Adding to this is the fact that Melania Trump is not getting this treatment which means that his condition must be worse than hers. She is of course much younger and not overweight like him, which reduces her risk factors.

But even more concerning than using experimental treatments is that they resorted to it so quickly, less than 24 hours after he tested positive. This treatment is meant to stimulate antibodies (see Ridana’s correction) so the only thing I can think of is that they found that despite having symptoms, Trump has not produced antibodies in the expected amount.

On CNN, their resident medicine expert Sanjay Gupta said that the fact that they are trying this experimental treatment shows that there is some concern among his physicians about Trump’s condition, probably triggered by reports that he is fatigued and having trouble breathing, common symptoms of covid-19, along with the fever that he apparently developed overnight.

Meanwhile, on the morning show Fox and Friends that allows Tump to call in whenever he wants to and ramble on about anything and everything, co-host Brian Kilmeade tried to find a silver lining in Trump’s quarantining, saying that this frees up his time to plan and strategize and study for the next debate.

This very idea of Trump studying for anything is risible since he seems to spend all his time watching TV. Thanks for the laugh, Brian!


  1. mastmaker says

    This very idea of Trump studying for anything is risible since he seems to spend all his time watching TV. Thanks for the laugh, Brian!

    Not to mention the fact that he has been the president for 4 years now. He should know the most of this stuff already. He shouldn’t HAVE to study this.

  2. sonofrojblake says

    “they resorted to it so quickly, less than 24 hours after he tested positive”

    We don’t know when he tested positive. All we know is when they announced the result.

  3. John Morales says

    Heh. I remember (looks up quotation) Trump tweeting about his tests back in May:

    And I tested very positively in another sense, this morning. I tested positively toward negative, right? So I tested perfectly this morning. Meaning I tested negative. … But that’s a way of saying it: positively toward the negative.

    (This time, it’s the converse — so, he’s tested very negatively 🙂 )

  4. Ridana says

    This treatment is meant to stimulate antibodies

    No, it’s meant to provide antibodies when the body doesn’t. The cocktail is made of two monoclonal antibodies, one which targets the protein spike on the virus, and the other, a different part of the virus. Vaccines stimulate antibody production to whatever antigen is in the vaccine. Which made me scratch my head when one of the article’s infectious disease experts was quoted as saying, “vaccine that target these proteins.” I guess she meant vaccines that incorporate those proteins so the body will produce antibodies to them, and people misspeak on the fly.

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