Even once he had a fever and cough, they were still mild.
But one of the factors that makes Covid-19 complicated is how quickly it can change.
Trump’s case rapidly progressed from mild to severe, according to doctors treating patients with Covid-19. They based that assessment on details shared by the president’s medical team; Trump was hospitalized and treated with an experimental treatment with monoclonal antibodies, the antiviral remdesivir and the corticosteroid dexamethasone, which is recommended for use in patients with Covid-1
All coronavirus infections start mild, doctors say, and most – around 80 percent – remain mild.
Mild infection, however, is a broad description that captures a number of possible symptoms. And with Covid-19, even a lightweight case can be long and uncomfortable.
What does mild Covid-19 look like?
“Things you wouldn’t feel comfortable with, but not necessarily present in the hospital,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the infectious disease division at Massachusetts General Hospital, told CNN.
“You typically don’t have shortness of breath, you don’t have an abnormal chest X-ray or just imaging,” Walensky said. “… So, they are people who said, ‘You know, I bet you are not well, because you are not staying at home. This is a mild, mild disease. “
There are asymptomatic cases of Covid-19, in which people have no symptoms or symptoms that are so mild as to be unrecognizable. But people who are asymptomatic when they test positive can still develop symptoms in the days to come and can still spread the virus.
“If you are diagnosed with Covid, you are told to go home, stay there and don’t worry about coming to the hospital until you start to feel short of breath,” Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious disease expert at Emory School of Medicine, he told CNN.
“They don’t have shortness of breath,” del Rio said of people with mild illness – but they should monitor their oxygen levels for any indication that they could progress to a more severe form of the disease.
“The great majority of people with mild symptoms remain mild,” del Rio added.
Mild may not be easy, though. Some patients experience Covid-19 symptoms long after they expected to feel better, and even after they stopped being positive about it.
“You can have mild Covid and still be a long distance hauler,” del Rio said, referring to people who experience mild symptoms of coronavirus – such as fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, and loss of taste or smell. – for weeks or months after testing positive for the virus.
What is moderate Covid-19 disease?
As COVID-19 progresses, a patient may begin to show signs of lower respiratory tract disease, but still have good oxygenation, infectious disease specialist Walensky said. This is a moderate disease.
“You’re starting to have shortness of breath, starting to have abnormal chest x-rays but your oxygenation level is above 94% and this generally means you don’t need supplemental oxygen. This is moderate,” he said.
The National Institutes of Health recommends that patients with moderate forms of the disease be closely observed.
Not all moderate cases of Covid-19 look the same.
Some people won’t need to be hospitalized for treatment, del Rio said. But others will. And from there, the disease can become severe.
What is serious Covid-19 disease?
Risk factors for severe Covid-19 include older age, lung or heart disease, or obesity, according to the CDC.
“The older you get, the more likely you are to have a serious illness,” del Rio noted.
“Severe is when you start to feel short of breath and you can really tell that you are short of breath because you are breathing fast, generally more than 30 times a minute, and your oxygenation is less than 94%, which generally means you need oxygen. additional, ”Walensky said.
“Once the president’s oxygen saturation dropped below 94 percent, he went from mild illness to serious illness,” del Rio explained.
But, del Rio noted, this was not the case for all White House-related cases: First Lady Melania Trump, who from the beginning described her symptoms as “mild”, was not hospitalized.
“They both started with a mild illness. She remained with a mild illness, as far as we know, but continued to develop a serious illness,” del Rio said, noting that the first lady is 50 years old, while the president ne has 74.
“Thirty percent of the people who are in the president’s demographic, aged 74, need to be hospitalized and about 10 percent of those who need to be in intensive care,” Walensky said.
What is Covid-19 critical illness?
Coronavirus can also progress into what the NIH classifies as a critical illness.
“Critically ill would be those who have signs of respiratory failure and need a breathing machine,” Walensky said. Patients can experience other organ dysfunctions and shock, he said.
“This is critical, generally ICU level care.”
“Severe cases of COVID-19 may be associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome … cardiac dysfunction, increased multiple inflammatory cytokines that cause a cytokine storm, and / or exacerbation of underlying comorbidities. In addition to lung disease, patients with COVID – 19 can also manifest heart, liver, kidney and central nervous system diseases, “the NIH said in its description of critical illness Covid-19.
Critically ill patients with Covid-19 all started with a mild form of the disease and progressed to needing intensive care, Walensky said.
And for those critically ill patients who eventually recover, they progress in reverse, going from severe to severe, then to moderate disease, and eventually to mild disease, he said.