Trump says experimental drugs may have saved him from virus

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President Donald Trump points to reporters while on the Blue Room Balcony upon returning to the White House Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington, after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md. Trump announced he tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 2. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Friday he could have become very ill and might not have recovered from COVID-19 without experimental drugs, a far worse outlook than what his doctors were telling the American people.

“I was asking the doctors today ... and I said, ‘How bad was I?’ They said: ‘You could have been very bad. You were going into a very bad phase,'" Trump told Rush Limbaugh during his radio show.

“It looked like it was going to be a big deal and you know what that means, right? That means bad because I've lost five people,” Trump added, referring to acquaintances who have died.

Trump said that after contracting the virus, he was “not in the greatest of shape.” He added that “I might not have recovered at all” without treatment with experimental drugs.

Trump's comments on the seriousness of his case of coronavirus contrast with generally upbeat public statements about his condition that his doctors released after his diagnosis and while he was hospitalized.

The White House said Trump's hospitalization at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, which began Oct. 2, was precautionary and his symptoms were mild.

On Oct. 3, Trump’s physician gave a televised briefing and painted a sunny picture of the president’s situation, emphasizing that he was still working, walking on his own and not laboring to breathe. But Dr. Sean Conley notably refused to provide some specific details, including repeatedly sidestepping questions about whether the president had at any point received supplemental oxygen. It was later learned that Trump had received oxygen before he was taken to Walter Reed.

Trump's comments tracked most closely with an update provided by White House chief of staff Mark Meadows after his hospitalization. Meadows offered few details, but said the president’s initial situation had been “very concerning” and, though his health was improving, the following 48 hours would be critical.