Covid-induced pneumonia? Medical punditry spikes to fever pitch as Trump fights virus

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BY NIKHILA NATARAJAN
New York, Oct 5 (IANS)
Steroid drug dexamethasone in US president Donald Trump’s treatment protocol has sparked intense speculation among doctors about the possibility that Trump may be battling Covid-induced pneumonia. It’s the latest hot take in wall to wall coverage of Trump’s health condition at Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.
According to lung and ICU doctor Vin Gupta at University of Washington, the experimental antibody cocktail Regeneron, in combination with Remdesivir and Dexamethasone suggests that Trump might be struggling with Covid-induced pneumonia. “What does his chest imaging show? The American people deserve basic information on their president”, Gupta tweeted.
In public comments, prominent US physicians are raising several red flags over the mismatch between the strong medical cocktail the US president Donald Trump is getting and the happy talk that the White House is putting out as Trump enters Day 4 of his hospitalisation for Covid-19.
Trump has started receiving dexamethasone, which is usually reserved for patients with severe Covid-19. A June 2020 study found that dexamethasone significantly cut chances that seriously ill patients died from the Coronavirus.
The World Health Organization recommends it is only given to patients with “severe and critical Covid-19.”
Trapped in the confines of Walter Reed Hospital, US president Donald Trump, who is known to be a television binge watcher, is being pummelled with wave upon wave of medical punditry on his Covid-19 diagnosis and treatment – the precise coverage that he tried his best to distract from all these months since the pandemic first arrived in the US.
Trump’s hospitalisation has refocused the election right where Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want it to be: Trump’s failure to lead during America’s worst public health catastrophe. The shifting narrative of his illness, as delivered by Trump’s doctors, is being tweaked daily with grim new details.
“It’s all karma”, is how former White House Coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye describes the full circle of the pandemic infiltrating the most secure and well protected bubble in the world – the president and his immediate family.
Against the nightmare scenario of his own Covid-19 diagnosis and tanking poll numbers, Trump took his motorcade for a spin around the Walter Reed campus Sunday evening, waving to onlookers from inside his ultra high security Chevy.
The spectacle sparked intense criticism from both the medical community and ordinary Americans who lost loved ones while having to say their final goodbyes over the phone.
“My mom died alone in a hospital this May. We couldn’t be with her when she died for one simple reason – to protect others from Covid”, Ryan McCarthy, a ProPublica reporter, wrote on his social timeline. “I can’t believe this happened, and I can’t believe this was allowed. We have to be better than this.”
More than 7.4 million Americans have been infected with Covid-19, more than 209,000 have died. According to a predictive model by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the US toll is likely to hit upwards of 235,000 by election day, November 3.

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