ROANOKE, VA. – The image of President Donald Trump boarding Marine One after having tested positive for COVID-19 is one for the history books.
Speculation continues to run wild, but there are some facts that can’t be argued: President Trump is 74 years old and that puts him at an elevated risk.
Dr. Paul Skolnik, the Chair of Medicine at Carilion Clinic, made clear that he is not the president’s doctor, but said on facts alone President Trump is in a serious situation.
“80% of everyone who dies from COVID-19 is over the age of 65. The death rate from COVID-19 is about 2%, so you can see the concentration of mortality in people who are older," Dr. Skolnik said. “For people over 65, that rate goes to fifteen percent, so there’s real risk when you reach a certain age.”
Carilion has deployed some trial treatments, but they have not worked with the REGN-COV2 antibody cocktail prescribed to the president. That treatment differs from the more common antibody treatments because it’s more targeted.
“So the convalescent plasma that we get from people who are previously infected have a range of antibodies not just against covid19 but against other pathogens that the patient might have contacted,” Dr. Skolnik said. “With the monoclonal antibody treatment, we have antibodies that are only directed against COVID-19 and they’re a mixture of a few types of antibodies directed only against COVID-19.”
As the coronavirus now takes its toll on the country’s most powerful man, Dr. Skolnik repeats what he said the first time Carilion Clinic leaders gathered to brief the community around St. Patrick’s Day.
He said masks, proper hygiene and social distancing can prevent the spread and keep you safe.
“It is critical, until we get a vaccine, until we have other better ways to deal with COVID-19, that is the best way to protect yourself and to protect others," Dr. Skolnik said.