President Donald Trump's vital signs were "very concerning," White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters, appearing to contradict Trump's staff doctors' comments moments earlier outside Walter Reed Medical Center. Trump announced he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus early Friday morning and was taken to the hospital later that day. Dr. Sean Conley also caused more confusion by saying Trump tested positive 72 hours ago, which he later said was incorrect.
Shortly after Conley and other doctors wrapped up their press briefing, an anonymous source told the White House pool reporters different details on the president's condition. "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," the statement read. According to the Associated Press, the source was Meadows, who was caught on camera speaking with reporters before he asked for the comments to be off the record.
UPDATE: Immediately after the press conference ended and before the anonymous statement was sent out, Mark Meadows briefed reporters without cameras—but he was caught on a feed asking to be off the record. pic.twitter.com/JyrhSmu1Y0— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) October 3, 2020
Meadows' comments contradicted some of Conley's comments. Conley refused to directly answer questions about whether or not Trump, 74, needed supplemental oxygen and would not share specific details about when Trump fell ill. Colney claimed Trump started showing "clinical indications" of COVID-19 Thursday afternoon. "Thursday no oxygen. None at this moment. And yesterday with the team, while we were all here, he was not on oxygen," he said.
Conley also told reporters Trump was "just 72 hours into the diagnosis now." If that was the case, this means Trump could have tested positive for the virus as early as Wednesday and still gone to Bedminster, New Jersey to meet with donors, notes CBS News. Trump had "repeated testing" on Thursday afternoon, Conley said, still without outlining exactly when Trump was infected. Trump "has been fever-free for over 24 hours," Conley said, adding that he was "extremely happy with the progress the president has made."
Later, the White House released another statement from Conley, in which he said he meant to say "day three" instead of "72 hours" during his conference. "The President was first diagnosed with COVID-19 on the evening of Thursday, October 1st, and had received Renegeron's antibody cocktail on Friday, October 2nd," the statement read.
Sources told the Associated Press Trump was administered oxygen at the White House Friday before he was taken to Walter Reed. Trump's symptoms allegedly include a cough and nasal congestion, and they are "now resolving and improving," Conley said. At 74 and clinically obese, Trump is among those at high risk of facing serious complications from the coronavirus. More than 7 million Americans have tested positive and over 200,000 have died.