CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – President Donald Trump’s behavior while battling COVID-19 is concerning to some infectious disease experts.
“We're still talking about a really risky virus,” said Dr. Patrick Jackson, an infectious disease expert at the University of Virginia who helped develop treatments the President is taking like remdesivir and dexamethasone.
Dr. Jackson said he was alarmed when he saw President Trump leave Walter Reed Military Medical Center during his treatment to wave to his supporters from a vehicle.
“When we go into rooms with patients who have COVID-19, which are larger than the inside of that vehicle, we wear full personal protective equipment,” said Dr. Jackson. “I think everyone who was in that car was subjected to a risk of infection. Hopefully, they were able to minimize that risk by wearing appropriate PPE, but even so that seems like an unnecessary risk to run for them and for their families.”
Dr. Jackson also addressed the President’s grand gesture of taking off his mask in front of the White House moments after leaving the hospital, while still infected with COVID-19.
“If I were discharging a patient, I would recommend strongly that they continue to isolate themselves [and] that they wear a mask when they have to be out in public, and to minimize being out in public as much as possible,” Dr. Jackson said.
Dr. Jackson said while many of the treatments the President is receiving are showing promise, it doesn’t mean he will be free from COVID-19 complications.
“I certainly have prescribed them for my patients and would still say that while I think they're a great advancement and I'm very encouraged by the state of the science, certainly if you get hospitalized with COVID-19, it is not a great situation,” said Dr. Jackson. “We still have patients who die from this disease. We have patients who are in the hospital for prolonged periods of time and may have negative health consequences.
“So these great therapies are impressive,” he continued. “But certainly they're not a reason not to wear a mask or not to practice social distancing.”
Dr. Jackson stressed the use of Virginia’s COVIDWISE app to help with contact tracing across the state.