What we know about President Trump's treatment, hospitalization + 5 more COVID-19 updates

President Donald Trump was prescribed the steroid dexamethasone as a COVID-19 treatment, reports NBC News. The president has already received remdesivir and Regeneron's experimental antibody cocktail as a precautionary measure.

During an Oct. 4 news briefing, White House physician Sean Conley, DO, said the steroid was given to President Trump in response to his blood oxygen levels dropping twice. The steroid is recommended for hospitalized COVID-19 patients who need oxygen or are on ventilators. This treatment development has further stirred confusion about President Trump's condition, as his medical team said he was doing well and did not require supplemental oxygen as of Oct. 4, according to Dr. Conley. 

However, President Trump's medical team on Oct. 4 did acknowledge that his condition was more serious than described a day prior. After sidestepping reporters' questions about whether the president had needed supplemental oxygen Oct. 3, Dr. Conley clarified that President Trump did receive oxygen at the White House Oct. 2. 

"I didn't want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction and in doing so, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true," Dr. Conley said during the Oct. 4 media briefing.

President Trump briefly left Walter Reed Oct. 4 in a motorcade to greet his supporters outside the hospital, reports The Washington Post. Some physicians and health experts have expressed concerns about the move, arguing it contradicts federal health recommendations and unnecessarily put at least two Secret Service agents in the vehicle with the president at risk of contracting the virus, reports NBC News. However, White House Spokesperson Judd Deere said the president's medical team cleared the decision and that appropriate precautions were taken to protect against COVID-19. 

While the exact timeline of President Trump's diagnosis is unclear, sources told The Wall Street Journal that he first tested positive during the day on Oct. 1 but did not disclose the test results. That night, President Trump appeared on a Fox News segment while reportedly awaiting the results of a more accurate follow-up test.  

Five other updates:

1. The U.S. COVID-19 death toll could hit 232,000 deaths by Oct. 24, according to CDC projections. Based on predictions from 44 modeling groups, the agency believes deaths could climb to between 219,000 and 232,000 deaths over the next four weeks.

2. The HHS renewed its national public health emergency declaration for another 90 days, HHS secretary Alex Azar said Oct. 2. The declaration goes into effect Oct. 23.   

3. About two thirds of the U.S. is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases, particularly states in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain area, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. Texas, California and Wisconsin have reported the highest number of new infections in the last seven days, according to Oct. 2 CDC data cited by The Wall Street Journal. North and South Dakota have reported the most new cases per capita, followed by Wisconsin. Due to increasing cases, New York City may reverse its reopening in areas with positive test rates above 3 percent, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Oct. 4, pending state approval, according to Politico

4. At least seven COVID-19 cases have been tied to a Sept. 26 White House Rose Garden event, reports The New York Times. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump account for two of the cases, along with Utah Sen. Mike Lee; North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis; former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; former senior White House aide Kellyanne Conway; and the Rev. John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame (Ind.). Six of the seven sat in the first few rows of a nomination ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the White House Rose Garden.

5. Former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden again tested negative for COVID-19 Oct. 4, marking his third negative test since sharing the debate stage with President Trump last week. On Oct. 3, the Biden campaign said it would disclose every test result he receives, reports The Washington Post.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 7,418,836
Deaths: 209,734
Recovered: 2,911,699

Counts reflect data available as of 8:45 a.m. CDT Oct. 5.

More articles on public health:
11 COVID-19 cases linked to presidential debate at Cleveland Clinic
34% of Americans don't think vaccines are effective
28 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Oct. 5

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