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EVMS doctor says 'mixed messages' surround seriousness of Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis

An infectious disease expert at Eastern Virginia Medical School said the White House and doctors need to be more straightforward.

NORFOLK, Va. — President Trump spent another night at Walter Reed Medical Center on Sunday, after being diagnosed with COVID-19. 

EVMS infectious disease expert, Dr. Edward Oldfield, said there are mixed messages about what’s going on. 

“It’s really unfortunate that he became infected and we all hope that he gets better," Oldfield said. “How sick he is, I think, is quite confusing.” 

Doctors gave the president a potent antibody cocktail called Regeneron, the experimental anti-viral drug Remdesivir, and a powerful steroid: Dexamethasone. 

"The confusing issue is, he received Dexamethasone," Oldfield said. “Dexamethasone is only for people requiring supplemental oxygen.” 

Doctors initially sidestepped questions about whether the president received oxygen - before later admitting he did, confirming Trump experienced two oxygen drops.  

“From his hospital room he looks pretty good, he doesn’t look short of breath but the very interesting thing about COVID is that there’s something called the happy hypoxia," Oldfield said. "In other words, your oxygen is so low that with other conditions, people would be thinking about putting you on a ventilator but you’re talking on a cell phone.” 

Oldfield said it’s critical doctors are truthful with the details.  

“This isn’t the first time a president’s health has been hidden or the facts not straightforward,” Oldfield said, noting Woodrow Wilson had a stroke, Franklin Roosevelt had polio, and John Kennedy had Addison’s disease.

“We can handle it, and I think people will do better knowing the information."

Sunday, Trump did a drive-by photo-op, waving to supporters. 

RELATED: Trump declares 'I get it,' then leaves hospital for drive-by wave to supporters

“I think it was dangerous to do that,” Oldfield said. "Dangerous to the secret service agents." 

More people he’s been in contact with have also tested positive for the coronavirus. 

“You wonder if that Rose Garden event where people were sitting side by side, no social distancing, hugging, rarely did anyone have a mask on – it looks like a lot of people that have become infected were at that event,” Oldfield said.  

“The message is clearly: you need to wear a mask.”

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