The revelation that Donald Trump has tested positive for the coronavirus set off a domino effect of potential consequences, including his possible death from an illness that he once dismissed as a “hoax” and lied to the American people about. But what about the president’s personal health? Does he have any pre-existing conditions that might present any challenges to him recovering from COVID-19, which is responsible for killing more than 200,000 people in America and more than one million worldwide?
The questions kept pouring in as details were scarce following Trump’s tweet early Friday morning that he and his wife, Melania, tested positive.
The disclosure came hours after it was reported that senior White House adviser Hope Hicks had tested positive for the coronavirus.
There were many things to think about after his announcement, including the health of Joe Biden, who was on a debate stage with Trump exchanging sharp barbs Tuesday night. It was unclear whether Biden’s health was compromised during the debate, but he was mocked by Trump at one point for wearing masks, the personal protective equipment recommended to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
But Trump, who is 74, may not only be at risk of having serious complications from his age alone. While Trump has repeatedly claimed that he’s “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,” it was only in late August when a report came out that Trump suffered a series of “mini-strokes” that hospitalized him last year.
That report followed a video that seemed to show Trump having problems lifting a glass of water without it shaking during an appearance at the commencement ceremony for the United States Military Academy at West Point.
The University of Chicago Medicine in April addressed the possibility of stroke survivors having an increased chance of contracting the coronavirus.
“In the data that has been published to date, we have seen that some patients with risk factors for stroke and heart disease, as well as those who have previously experienced a stroke, are at higher risk of serious complications of COVID-19, including death,” the report said. “If you have had a stroke or are at risk for experiencing a stroke, take extra caution during this pandemic.”
Of course, Trump has repeatedly downplayed the coronavirus and openly tried to shame people for wearing masks, resulting in his rallies and other events he has appeared at being attended by people without any of the personal protective equipment who have parroted the president’s controversial opinions on COVID-19.
The CDC listed a number of pre-existing health conditions that could exacerbate a coronavirus diagnosis, including — like The University of Chicago Medicine — a stroke, which “may increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”
In addition to his possible previous history of having “mini-strokes,” Trump’s age, weight and sex complicate his contraction of the coronavirus. Someone between the ages of 65 and 74 with the coronavirus is five times more likely to be hospitalized and 90 times more likely to die from it.
While the rate of death for coronavirus patients in their 70s with no health issues is at 10 percent, those same patients’ increases by more than three times if there is a pre-existing health condition in the equation.
Also, technically, Trump is obese, a weight factor that could adversely affect his coronavirus diagnosis.
The Los Angeles Times cited a study showing “COVID-19 patients who came to emergency rooms … who were under the age of 60 and had a BMI at the low end of the obesity range were twice as likely as non-obese patients to be admitted to the hospital rather than be sent home. They were also 80% more likely to spend time in intensive care.”
Statistics also show that men have a greater likelihood of dying from the coronavirus than women who have contracted the disease.
Meanwhile, Biden was reportedly expected to get tested for the coronavirus later Friday.
Vice President Mike Pence, who is scheduled to debate Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris on Wednesday, has reportedly tested negative for the coronavirus.
But it was unclear how Trump’s self-imposed quarantining would affect his next debate against Biden on Oct. 15, which falls at the tail-end of the recommended two-week period of isolation.
There were questions months ago about whether Trump had contracted the coronavirus following a meeting with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. The two shook hands in March at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida a week before his Brazilian counterpart tested positive for the coronavirus.
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.