SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — President Trump released a video via Twitter Saturday afternoon but his doctors say they will not be providing another update. For reaction to their earlier briefing KPIX reached out to Dr. Bob Wachter, Chair of the UCSF School of Medicine. He says understanding the severity of the president’s condition will take time.
“The news, as it was discussed, is a little bit more hopeful than one had feared,” Dr. Wachter said midday Saturday. “I mean, if it is a factual piece of data that he’s not short of breath, that his oxygen saturation is 96%, that would be good. On the other hand, we now know that he was pretty short of breath yesterday, his oxygen level was low, he needed oxygen. A 74-year-old obese guy, that’s pretty prognosticly dicey and he’s certainly not out of the woods.”
So what are Wachter’s top questions, given what the public knows so far?
“I think the issue of the super spreader event and trying to figure out exactly who was infected at that event and following them. I mean, it’s a disaster. I want to know more about that and who was in contact with who. In terms of the president’s health you would want to know his oxygen saturation and not just today, when it seems like it was OK, but yesterday. And I would want to know the results of the CT scan of his lungs, which undoubtedly they have done. Those two pieces of data would tell you more about what’s going on with his lungs and ultimately his prognosis than anything we heard during the press conference,” Dr. Wachter said.
As for how long it will take for doctors to better understand how the virus is progressing and how treatments are working, that will take more than a few days.
“Certainly it will take another week,” Wachter says. “This is a disease that has a number of uncertain paths and, even with the experience now of millions of patients, all we can say is certain patients have a higher risk of something going south, other patients have a lower risk and we suspect they will do well. Then time does its thing and the time really is 7 to 10 days. The odds are still with him but there is no good way to say which way things are going to go.”