President Donald Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said Monday that she tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the latest among the president’s inner circle to be confirmed to have it, as Trump’s doctors consider whether to release him from the hospital Monday.
The president’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, described Monday the president’s “unbelievable progress” in his fight against the coronavirus. The rosy description of his condition has been questioned, as the treatments he is undergoing are typically used on people with severe cases of COVID-19.
McEnany said on Twitter that she was not experiencing any symptoms, and that she had been tested everyday since Thursday. It is not known when McEnany was first exposed, but it can take up to 14 days from exposure to the virus for someone to test positive. She was seen Sunday speaking to reporters without wearing a mask.
Trump has been eager to leave Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and had pushed to be discharged earlier Sunday, according to people familiar with the events. Driven in part by boredom and feeling trapped, Trump is also motivated to leave out of a desire to show the country and the world that he is functional and not bedridden by a virus, according to the people familiar with the events.
But Trump’s doctors Sunday did not favor him leaving the hospital to return to the White House. Instead, a decision was made to allow Trump to be driven slowly by crowds of supporters across the street from the hospital so he could be seen.
Health experts have said the decision was highly unusual for a patient with an infectious illness who is being treated with a therapeutic drug that is administered intravenously.
Still, Trump has been attuned to the news coverage of his illness and angered at the speculation he may be sicker than officials are saying.
In an interview with “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning, Meadows said a decision had not been made yet about whether Trump could be discharged Monday.
“The doctors will actually have an evaluation sometime late morning,” Meadows said. “And then the president, in consultation with the doctors, will make a decision on whether to discharge him later today.”
Trump’s medical team is expected to update reporters Monday.
Based on his doctors’ accounts Sunday, Trump’s symptoms appear to have rapidly progressed since he announced early Friday that he had tested positive.
Trump had a “high fever” Friday, and his blood oxygen levels dropped on two occasions, his doctors said, including to a level that can indicate that a patient’s lungs are compromised, a symptom seen in many patients with severe COVID-19.
His doctors Saturday said he is also undergoing a five-day antiviral treatment regimen for COVID-19, another indication that his condition is more serious than what has been conveyed to the public.
The president’s medical team also said that he had been prescribed dexamethasone, a steroid used to head off an immune system overreaction that kills many COVID-19 patients. This is also generally reserved for those with severe illness.
Trump and several others who tested positive for the virus last week attended a White House event Sept. 26, which experts believe could have been the source of the outbreak. Vice President Mike Pence, who was at the event and has since tested negative for the virus multiple times, continues to campaign across the country while Trump is ill. It is possible to test negative and still be infected early in the course of the virus.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.