The Medical Risks of Pres. Trump’s COVID-19 Diagnosis

President Trump and the First Lady have tested positive for the coronavirus and are now experiencing “mild symptoms” according to the White House. At 74 years old and clinically obese, the president is a high risk patient. Former acting surgeon general Boris Lushniak joins Christiane to explain the medical risks and assess how this infection could have reached the commander in chief.

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BORIS LUSHNIAK, FORMER DEPUTY U.S. SURGEON GENERAL, DEAN, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Well, let’s, Christiane, put this into perspective, right. Yesterday, over 46,000 people in the United States had that same news, right, 46,000. We’re given the news that they, in fact, are COVID positive. And I don’t call them cases, I call them people who have turned positive, right, they are people. It happens to be that two of them are the president and the first lady. And in all those 46,000, we’re now looking at it from a public health perspective, which is what’s supposed to happen? What’s supposed to be done at this point? And in essence, the word to all of them are the same, right, you have 10 days that you have to isolate. And in that time period, you have to determine, right, hope for the best, expect the worst, look at the symptoms that come on, right, are you going to fall into that lucky category of being totally asymptomatic, are you going to have mild symptoms as we hear the president is now experiencing, right, or are things going to turn for the worst? And to a large extent, it’s unpredictable. We know there are risk factors, some which the president has that basically portend the sense that we have to be more careful with his prognosis than with others, younger individuals, individuals who aren’t obese. But at the same time, it’s unpredictable what’s going to happen over the next 10 days with the president and the first lady. They need to be monitored. They need to take isolation very seriously. And those individuals around them who have contact with them need to take quarantine very seriously. And that’s really the message.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: So, what — OK. What exactly does that mean? Because we understand there’s a big, you know, test and trace operation inside the White House. And yet, we still saw, even today, the press secretary coming out, yes, she had a mask on but she took it off before she started speaking to reporters who were, you know, not that far away from her. What would you expect to be happening in the White House right now beyond the careful medical attention the first couple are getting?

LUSHNIAK: Well, just follow the recommendations that public health is giving to all those 46,000, right. Yes, you are unique in the White House, yes, you’re getting tested all the time, right. It’s different than the other 46,000. And yet, as we know, the issue of false negatives in these tests. The issue of us still learning about how quickly the virus evolves in our system, right. The idea of asymptomatic symptomatic spread, transmissibility through aerosols. All this brings with it a certain amount of uncertainty. Therefore, we’re telling all the other 46,000, which is, who are your close contacts? And for those contacts, we’re telling you, quarantine for 14 days. That means stay away from others. That means implement in your own lives the public health recommendations. Wear the mask, wash your hands, stay away from others.

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Journalists and health experts weigh in on President Trump’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis.