Confusion over President’s condition, Trump given oxygen, next 48 hours ‘critical’

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Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Oct. 3, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital after contracting the coronavirus. (Susan Walsh/AP via ABC News)

By William Mansell, Libby Cathey, and Emily Shapiro | ABC News

The mystery surrounding President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis and condition deepened Saturday after several rounds of confusing and contradictory information from the White House and the president’s medical staff.

Amid the swirl of developments, sources told ABC News that Trump, who remains hospitalized, had been given supplemental oxygen and experienced shortness of breath, a potentially worrisome picture that appeared to contradict both the rosier statements from Trump’s doctor and assessments that he was doing well both on Twitter and elsewhere.

Speaking outside Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Saturday, Trump’s physician would not offer a clear, declarative statement about whether the president had received oxygen treatment since testing positive.

The press pool was told soon after by a “source familiar with the president’s health” that Trump’s “vitals over last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care.”

The lack of transparency and clarity from the White House contributed to a troubling pattern surrounding the events of the last week, including learning of Hope Hicks’ diagnosis by a media leak, as the U.S. faces a potential crisis of governance just a month before the election.

Numerous questions remained including how many people at the highest levels of government had been exposed after a week of events involving the president where social distancing and mask-wearing were lax and the integrity of the testing efforts at the White House and elsewhere.

Since Trump announced he had coronavirus, Sen. Mike Lee, Sen. Thom Tillis, Sen. Ron Johnson, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway have announced they tested positive for COVID-19.

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