Hey, there, it is the NPR politics podcast on Daniel Kurtz leaving. I cover politics. I'm Frank Ordonez. I cover the White House and I'm drove. Hello, I'm from the science desk and it is 5 p.m. On Saturday October 3rd. We're coming at you with the special update on the president's condition. He has been admitted to Walter Reed National military Medical Center as a patient and we got an update from his doctor today. Let's listen at the store or extremely happy with the progress. The president has made.
Thursday he had a mild cough with a nasal congestion fatigue all of which are not resolving improving outside of wall to read about the president's condition. We also know heard from a White House official who said quote the president's vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We're still not on a clear path to a full recovery. So I feel a little whipsawed here Franco and our listeners might to it feels like we're getting some mixed messages. So what do we know? Yeah, I mean, we really are getting a lot of mixed messages from dr. Connelly and his team they're talking about the president doing very well that he's up that he's talking about feeling like he can get out of there saying that that you know, the mild conditions that he had fever cough has no kind of all improved. I'm on the other hand immediately after the brief.
We heard from another source who is familiar with the president's Health that the president is not on a clear path to full recovery. So we're hearing very different things about the president conditions. This White House is often had a big challenges delivering clear messages about you no issues of imports and this is another one and it just creates a lot of uncertainty and you know a lot of fear about you know, what is really going on and what is happening?
And Franco that confusion got worse later in the day. The doctor said this about the president's condition just 72 hours in the diagnosis. Now the first week of covid-19 QR 7 to 10 of the most critical in determining the likely course of this illness 72 hours ago. That would have been Wednesday morning that the president got a positive test which is earlier than we knew but this afternoon he walked that back saying he meant today is quote D3 of the diagnosis that came on Thursday. So Joe, what do we know thus far about the president's treatment while on Friday the White House said that the president had received a experimental drug made by the company called regeneron. It's a drug that's called a monoclonal antibody cocktail monoclonal antibodies are synthetic versions of the antibodies that we produce in our bodies when we fight off disease and so these are intended to be helpful in and they're specifically designed for being infected with
Thesaurus Covey to the fight the coronavirus that causes covid-19. So they're supposed to help this medication hasn't been approved by the FDA or authorized by the FDA. But the company said that the president got it under what's called compassionate use so they made a call and got this drug. The other thing that they've decided later in the day was after evaluating his condition little further they decided to give him REM death of ear remedy severe is annex. Not an experimental drug that's been in there has been some evidence to show that it's effective and the FDA is issued an emergency use authorization so it can be used more or less Broadway and during this health emergency, but it's a drug that's given intravenously over a 5-day course, usually to patients who are hospitalized and it's also an antiviral drug that supposed to help prevent the virus from spreading inside somebody's body so that their immune system can do a better job.
Have an easier job of fighting it off. We talked a little bit here about how this messaging has been mixed or at the very least confusing the doctor was evasive and talking about whether or not the president had received oxygen therapy. And when you as a person who covers this quite a bit, what can you tell us that you can glean from this about his condition there does seem to be some disconnects. I mean if you think about it carefully what the doctor said isn't totally at odds with with this background Source said the doctor said that this is a critical. In the course of this illness 7 to 10 days after symptoms first appear as when patients either start to get better and you know, the disease results or they crash and get much worse. So he's not to the critical moment yet, but there were there were some very strange things. I got a question of did the president require supplemental oxygen.
He doesn't have oxygen now. Yes, but did he needed any time and he's what's today Saturday? No, no, Thursday Thursday. No oxygen not at this moment and yesterday with the team all here. He was not on oxygen. There was a lot of lack of clarity which could have been just said, yes, he did and wooden over with but a but by not just spilling it out it made you think the what's going on here. You know, what we're seeing here. Is that how people respond to this virus is very unpredictable, you know, this impacts people in different ways some people impacted by and it hits them very hard others it hits them. So differently the doctors are obviously trying to put forth a positive message, but there is another message being delivered.
The fact of those mixed message. I just think it raises so many questions and I think it raises a bit of a little bit of level of distress that is concerning knowing what day that the president is on is super important here. You mentioned that 7 to 10 day range being the range that's most critical. We know that a person's symptoms can change rapidly from one day to another so tell us, you know, if he's doing well now it sounds like that doesn't mean he's out of the woods, right? No, I think that's fair to say to people who tend to have the worst outcome in this in this illness are people first of all who are all over 65 or older and second of all have some other underlying health conditions. Well, the doctor said that he doesn't have high cholesterol and he doesn't have high blood pressure but he is overweight and that's one of the risk factors that tends to be associated with a poor outcome. So,
Everything could be fine in a few days or know it might not be and right now it you know for an individual you couldn't say as a population matter. He's not in the world's best population group to have a positive outcome of people around the president who have been infected but first, let's take a quick break our sponsor the showtime limited event series the good Lord bird based on the award-winning novel by James McBride this Epoch pre Civil War Story centers on abolitionist John Brown and his holy crusade to end slavery Brown forms and unexpected Allegiance with a newly freed teenager on an odyssey that takes them on adventures both absurd and tragic Ethan Hawke daveed Diggs and Joshua Caleb Johnson star in the good Lord bird premiering October 4th only on Showtime.
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And we're back and I don't want to talk about the ballooning number of cases among high-profile Republicans who surround the president or have been around him at least people like former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also former presidential advisor kellyanne Conway, but also importantly Republican Senators now Mitch McConnell is saying he's delaying the Senate's return. So Frankel it start with you. What are the implications of this are what we know about the implications regarding Amy Coney Barrett snob a nation to the Supreme Court. It's a big deal. There are a lot of questions about how this could impact her confirmation to Republican Senators who are on the Judiciary Committee Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah. They have tested positive. They are at the ceremony for President Trump nominated Barrett for the Supreme Court now Senator Lindsey Graham who has the Judiciary Committee. He says things will move forward that these kind of hearings can
Happen over zoom over Skype but he will need them back. He said by about October 15th when the committee's supposed to start debating the nomination. So there are a lot of questions about what their health will be. Will they be healthy enough to come back and their sickness could you know kind of slow things down? So it's also look ahead to debates though because we have this debate this week between vice president Mike Pence and Joe Biden's running mate Kamala Harris, California Democratic senator, we should say they both have tested negative. In fact this morning vice president Pence tested negative for a second time. But let's start with you. You know, if Mike Pence has been around the president do we know? Is there a sort of safe window of time Beyond which we can say? Yes, he is not infected. Obviously. He's not going to be infected by the president now has the presidents Inn in the hospital, but there is a. Of time between
Wednesday when his symptoms started to appear and even before that where he could conceivably have been what they say shedding virus putting off our pirate particles just from his normal speech or or if you happen to sneeze or cough or something like that. So it's possible the vice president was exposed to the president's illness and if the president infected other people in the White House that didn't have symptoms yet, but we're infected or haven't been tested yet. They could have done it. So it raises this whole set of questions and it's just going to be well, I don't know 4 5 6 7 8 days before people can say with certainty that they're in the clear started feeling sick. I mean do we have any sense of when he might no longer be contagious? I mean cook. Can he do any more in-person events before the election?
That could happen. I'm usually they say there's a certain time. After the last fever day of fever and two negative tests in a row will be enough to prove that. He's not infectious to anyone. The question is, you know, when does this when does his illness and and how he's still going to be feeling because a lot of people who have this virus even not even a case that requires hospitalization say that they feel wiped out for quite a bit of time afterwards. We will be back daily or more as we learn more Joe. Thank you so much for coming on your welcome and thank you for listening to the NPR politics podcast.