Trump’s COVID Case could be Entering a Crucial Stage
By Monique Brouillette | Scientific American
(10-9-2020) Early in the morning on October 2, President Donald Trump tweeted that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Only 33 days away from a highly contentious election, the diagnosis plunged the nation into uncertainty. Doctors, scientists and pundits quickly began speculating on what will happen to the president, and the White House has been both tight-lipped and prone to giving conflicting information about the VIP patient.
U.S. President Donald Trump removes his mask upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Oct. 05, 2020, in Washington, D.C.
(Image: © Win McNamee/Getty Images)
But in general, the course of this disease is no longer a complete black box to medicine. Trump will be at a fork in the road during the latter half of this week, say infections disease and critical care physicians who spoke with Scientific American. He could be heading for a bad stretch in a prolonged illness or he could be on an upward swing to recovery. Doctors sadly have the experience of treating more than 36 million COVID-19 patients worldwide and more than 7.5 million in the U.S. Using this clinical history, many now divide the disease into several stages , each with distinct symptoms and treatments. Based on when he first reported symptoms, Trump appears to be at the end of one phase and the verge of the next. Here is the sequence that physicians usually see and how it applies to the president.
Exposure and Incubation
A COVID-19 infection begins when the SARS-CoV-2 virus enters cells in the body and begins to replicate. This period of time, after infection but before symptoms start, is called the incubation period—and it occurs between two and 14 days after contracting the virus. While people may not know they are sick, they often become contagious two or three days before symptoms begin.