Different Takes: Briefings On President’s Health Need To Be Honest

Editorial pages focus on the information about President Donald Trump’s condition and other news about how to combat the virus.

The Wall Street Journal:
White House Medical Confusion

President Trump’s doctors said Sunday he could be released from Walter Reed medical center as early as Monday if his symptoms keep improving. This is good to hear, but it also underscores the need for the White House to be transparent about Mr. Trump’s condition on a daily basis. Sunday’s briefing was more forthcoming than Saturday’s fiasco when the President’s physician, Scott Conley, was evasive on whether Mr. Trump had at any time been administered oxygen. That refusal served no purpose, as the media naturally took it as an invitation to find the answer. The press was soon reporting that Mr. Trump had received oxygen at the White House when his breathing was labored before he was taken to Walter Reed on Friday. (10/4)

The New York Times:
The American People Need The Truth About Trump’s Condition

The American people deserve better than to be misled about the health of the president. Several days into President Trump’s battle with Covid-19, even basic facts about his illness — when he was diagnosed, how high his fever climbed, what triggered his hospitalization — remain hard to come by. The White House is being evasive and secretive. That’s nothing new, nor is it unreasonable to withhold some sensitive information from the public. But too often in the past few days, the administration has appeared to be actively misleading the American people. (10/4)

The Washington Post:
Doctors Say Trump May Go Home Monday. Based On What They’ve Told Us, That’s A Bad Idea.

Based on the limited information we have about President Trump’s health, it’s too risky to send him back to the White House on Monday. Admittedly, there is a lot that we don’t know. On Sunday morning, the president’s physician, Sean Conley, gave a second briefing to the public about Trump’s condition. Like the first one Saturday, this briefing omitted critical pieces of information. The American people are forced to play detective work. What little information we have raises alarms. Let’s begin with what we know about the president’s vital signs, which are called “vital” for a reason. (Leana S. Wen, 10/4)

The Washington Post:
Only The Trump Team Could Spin This Into Even Riskier Messaging About The Virus 

There is never a silver lining to somebody else’s illness, but you might have thought that President Trump’s infection at least could have offered a learning moment for his supporters. If so, you would have underestimated the cynicism and amorality of the Trump campaign. So far, although it wouldn’t have seemed possible, the Trump team is using this occasion to peddle even more dangerous misinformation and advice than before. (Fred Hiatt, 10/4)

Donald Trump Coronavirus: He Failed To Protect America And Himself 

The consequences of Donald Trump’s hubris and apathy, for him and about 7.3 million other Americans who’ve been infected, have been dire. Lives have been upended and 208,000 of them were lost. A nation sitting atop what appeared to be a sophisticated public health apparatus and economic juggernaut has been unspooled. Social and political divisions have come to a boil. Racism’s stranglehold on the American experiment has become more overt. And the man who most embodies the conflicts and otherworldliness of 2020 now watches his political future, his personal well-being and his monarchical sense of entitlement circumscribed by a virus wearing a crown. (Timothy O’Brien, 10/2)

The Wall Street Journal:
Trump Can Champion Coronavirus Awareness

Now that President Trump has tested positive for Covid-19, he has a unique opportunity to become a poster boy for awareness of the disease. He can transform himself into a strong advocate for individual responsibility to combat the pandemic: urging Americans to follow all the standard recommended protocols, from frequent hand-washing to wearing a mask and social distancing. Doing so would not only be a smart political move but also a monumental service to the nation, clinically and economically. This proposal is based more in fact than opinion. (Bob Brody, 10/2)

Fox News:
Trump COVID-19 Hospitalization Doesn’t Mean He’s Seriously Ill — I Expect His Full Recovery

The decision to hospitalize President Trump on Friday night for several days after he tested positive for COVID-19 appears to be a wise one, taken out of an abundance of caution. It shouldn’t lead anyone to conclude he is seriously ill at this time. As a pulmonologist and intensive care physician who has treated COVID-19 patients at NYU Langone Health, where I practice, I know full well that the disease caused by the coronavirus can be quite serious — and fatal in some cases. But importantly, I also know that the vast majority of COVID-19 patients recover from the disease. (Qanta Ahmed, 10/2)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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