Local doctor says Trump likely has COVID pneumonia

VIDEO: Local doctor weighs in on president's coronavirus treatment

The steroid the president is now taking is a steroid known as dexamethasone. But a local pulmonary doctor said it’s given only to patients suffering from COVID-induced pneumonia.

That indicates a slightly more dire condition than what the public was told in regard to the president’s health.

Dr. J. Randall Curtis stresses he has no inside knowledge about the president. But he said he prescribes dexamethasone to his COVID-19 patients at Harborview Medical Center when they have pneumonia.

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“So I haven’t seen his chest X-rays,” he said. “But in general, and for most patients, if they need oxygen, it’s because the COVID is in the lungs and causing pneumonia.”

Curtis emphasizes what he knows about Trump’s care comes from news reports. But he said the fact that the president is on both the experimental drug remdesivir and the steroid, dexamethasone, indicates he is having trouble breathing.

“And that’s where the dexamethasone has been shown to be helpful,” said Curtis. “If you look at all patients who have been hospitalized with COVID, the ones who don’t need oxygen actually don’t seem to benefit from dexamethasone. In fact, there may even be some harm. But if they need oxygen and have pneumonia, then dexamethasone has been shown to have some benefit in improving survival.”

The president’s doctors have been criticized for being too upbeat since he tested positive for COVID-19. His own chief of staff has raised red flags, saying that the president was much sicker than the public knew Friday, the night he was airlifted to the world-renowned Walter Reed Military Medical Center.

Curtis cautions that there is no silver bullet that cures COVID-19. But he said what the president’s doctors are telling us now is encouraging.

“All I’ve seen is that he did need oxygen, then came off oxygen,” said Curtis. “If that’s true, that’s good news. And it might mean that he will just continue to get better as some patients do.”

Moreover, Curtis said if the president is released Monday, as his doctors said he could be, that would be another good sign.

And if he continues to improve, he could even be well enough for the next presidential debate set for Oct. 15.