President Donald Trump on the White House South Lawn on September 24.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty
President Donald Trump has tested positive for COVID-19. His age, weight, and sex put him in groups more likely to be hospitalized or get a severe case of the illness.
Trump has not revealed what symptoms — if any — he has experienced, and the White House physician, Sean Conley, said in a Thursday memo the president was feeling “well.”
The first lady, Melania Trump, who also tested positive for the virus, tweeted early Friday morning that the two were “feeling good.”
Trump’s age makes him vulnerable
Trump is 74 years old, putting him in a particularly vulnerable age group. The risk of hospitalization and death starts rising dramatically the older a person gets.
As of June, the coronavirus death rate for patients ages 65 to 74 was about 10.4%. By contrast, the death rate for people ages 18 to 29 at the time was 0.1%.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an August bulletin that eight in 10 COVID-19 deaths in the US had been in adults 65 years and older.
People ages 65 to 74 are five times as likely to be hospitalized for the coronavirus, and 90 times as likely to die of the virus, as someone who’s 18 to 29, the CDC said in the same note.
Being obese makes the president at risk of severe illness
At his most recent check-up, in February 2019, Trump weighed 243 pounds, making him clinically obese with a body-mass index of 30.4, according to the BBC.
The CDC says having a BMI over 30 “increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”
Figures released by the CDC show obese people are three times as likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 compared with people without conditions.
Men are more likely to get a deadly infection
Though most people do not die from the coronavirus, data collected from around the world has suggested that men are more likely than women to get a deadly infection.
According to CDC data, which was most recently updated Friday, men account for 54% of US deaths.
That margin grows even larger when you add age as a factor. In the 65-to-74 age group, men account for 61.2% of the deaths.
But Trump is not a typical coronavirus patient
Despite the heightened risks of getting a severe case, the president is not a typical coronavirus patient.
He has a personal doctor at the White House to care for him, rather than having to isolate at home without medical care nearby.
Conley, the White House physician, said in his Thursday memo that he “will maintain a vigilant watch” over the president.
The White House has also implemented a pandemic policy of testing anyone who meets the president.
However, Bob Wachter, the chair of the University of California at San Francisco’s medical department, tweeted on Friday that he was “not convinced that VIPs get better care” for coronavirus infections and was “unconvinced that the odds for a VIP patient are any better than for the average pt [patient] who shows up in our ER.”
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