Huntsville infectious disease expert talks Trump’s treatment and recovery

Local take on President Trump's treatment

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - President Donald Trump is now back in the White House after spending the weekend at Walter Reed Medical Center.

Since his COVID-19 diagnosis Thursday night, the president has seen his oxygen levels drop twice, has used remdesivir, dexamethasone and a Regeneron cocktail, and has not had a fever since Friday morning.

Dr. Ali Hassoun with Huntsville Hospital said they use both Remdesivir and Dexamethasone on their patients here in North Alabama.

But, he said he only uses Dexamethasone on more severe cases, where the patients need to be on oxygen for much longer than the president’s doctor said he the president has been on it.

“In general, when we use steroid it’s somebody who is on oxygen therapy and needs oxygen therapy continuously, so we don’t use it for someone who just dipped his oxygen one time and it goes away," Hassoun said.

He also added that there can be negative side effects to using Dexamethasone, like high blood sugar, inflammation in the stomach and you could become prone to other infections.

The president’s combination of therapies this early on in his diagnosis make him an unusual case.

“We’re in a bit of uncharted territory when it comes to a patient that received the therapies he has so early in the course,” said Dr. Sean Conley, President Trump’s physician

However, Dr. Hassoun said that he does not give his patients the Regeneron cocktail President Trump got early on his diagnosis.

“I would not have used it in our patients because we really don’t have enough data to be proven that it’s going to be effective,” Hassoun said.

But, Hassoun also said there is a chance Trump’s medical team could have more information that isn’t yet available to the public.

As for Trump’s fever, or lack thereof since Friday, Hassoun said this can be a good sign but there are a lot of other aspects to consider.

“Having a fever is one of the symptoms but not having it doesn’t mean you don’t have phenomena, doesn’t mean you don’t have any progression any further," he said.

Going forward, Trump’s doctors said he isn’t quite out of the woods yet but has met the standards to be discharged from the hospital.

“We’re looking to this weekend, if we can get through to Monday with him remaining the same or improving, better yet, then we will all take that final deep sigh of relief," Conley said.

Now, he’ll continue being treated and recovering from COVID-19 at the White House.

“He’s returning to a facility, the White House medical unit, that’s staffed 24/7, top notch physicians, nurses, PAs, logisticians and the unit here will continue to support us," Conley said.

In the past, Dr. Hassoun has had patients that deal with fatigue long after they test negative for the virus.

Local expert's take on President Trump's recovery

“Because they diagnosed him earlier, and treated him earlier, hopefully that will cut down on these complication,s but I don’t think it will 100%," Hassoun said. "And what we usually tell our patients, especially in the first 2 to 4 weeks is they need to take it easy and not to push it hard.”

Lasing fatigue is certainly something the president does not want right now, Tuesday marks four weeks until the presidential election. President Trump even said MOnday night that he plans to be back out on the campaign trail soon.

Hassoun said these next few days and weeks the president will need to be monitored closely.

“The health of any human being is a top priority," Hassoun said. "The health of the president is very important. If you don’t have health you don’t have anything else.”

As President Trump recovers, more cases are being discovered among high ranking politicians or White House staff. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and two of her aides tested positive on Monday.

“It’s a good lesson for all of us, that none of us are immune from getting this infection, all of us are at risk of getting this infection," Hassoun said.

For McEnany, she said she had tested negative everday since Thursday and had no symptoms.

“It’s very simple, the test is not perfect, you will need to follow the prevention guidelines, you need to follow physical distancing, and masking and hand hygiene and need to be careful," he said. "You can go out, you can do things, but you need to follow these rules.”

Hassoun said contact tracing right now needs to be a top priority for the White House.

“If you don’t find these cases in the beginning this is going to continue to spread, and that can be a problem because the Congress and the Senate and everywhere else have important duties to take care of," he said.

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