President Donald Trump did briefly receive supplemental oxygen, based on a recommendation by his doctor while battling COVID-19, the doctor revealed Sunday.
"Thursday night into Friday morning ... the president was doing well with only mild symptoms and his oxygen was in the high nineties. Late Friday morning, when I returned to the bedside, president had a high fever and his oxygen saturation was transiently dipping below 94 percent," Dr. Sean Conley told reporters outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, about 15 miles from the White House.
"Given these two developments, I was concerned for possible rapid progression of the illness. I recommended [to] the president we try some supplemental oxygen, see how he’d respond. He was fairly adamant that he didn’t need it. He was not short of breath. He was tired, had the fever, and that was about it," Conley added.
"After about a minute and only two liters, his saturation levels were back over 95 percent. Stayed on that for about an hour, maybe, and it was off and gone."
Trump's blood oxygen level dropped down to 93 percent on Saturday but was up at 98 percent on Sunday, Conley told reporters in the latest briefing.
Asked whether Trump received a second round of supplemental oxygen on Saturday, Conley said, "I'd have to check with the nursing staff."
"If he did, it was very, very limited. But he's not on oxygen. The only oxygen that I ordered that we provided was that Friday morning, initially," he said.
According to the Lung Health Institute, a normal range of oxygen saturation for adults is 94 to 99 percent. Patients who experience a dip below 90 percent will likely require supplemental oxygen.
Conley acknowledged he was reluctant to disclose that Trump had been administered oxygen but said he wasn't necessarily trying to hide the information.
"I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, that his course of illness has had. I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction and in doing so, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true," the White House physician said.
"The fact of the matter is that he’s doing really well. He is responding. And as the team said, if everything continues to go well, we’re going to start discharge planning back to the White House."
Trump, 74, tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 1.