Trump Has the Coronavirus. What Risks Does He Face?


President Trump’s announcement on Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus has raised many questions about what the infection could mean for the health of America’s top leader.

In a statement, the president’s physician said Mr. Trump, who is 74, was “well” but did not say whether he was experiencing symptoms. He said the president would stay isolated in the White House for now.

Here is what we know about how the virus could affect people with his general profile.

Older men are up to twice as likely to die from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, as women of the same age are, according to an analysis by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Another study, published in Nature in August, found that this was because men produce a weaker immune response than do women.

The potential for needing hospitalization rises after the age of 50, said Raina MacIntyre, who heads the biosecurity program at the Kirby Institute of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

The outcome could be complicated if Mr. Trump has certain underlying health conditions, which researchers widely agree pose a risk of serious illness.

Mr. Trump, White House officials and his doctor have maintained in recent months that the president was in good health. But Mr. Trump loves cheeseburgers and does not exercise much, aside from playing golf. In June, Mr. Trump’s doctor said the president weighed 244 pounds, which makes him slightly obese.

“If he doesn’t have diabetes, high blood pressure or any long-term illness, then the outcome probably won’t be severe,” said David Hui, the director of the Stanley Ho Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Experts agree that the next week will be critical in determining the course of Mr. Trump’s illness.

If Mr. Trump does not develop symptoms, antibodies will appear 10 days after the onset of illness and he will recover, according to Dr. Hui at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said that “the good news about Covid-19” is that about 40 percent of those who get infected never develop symptoms.

Current estimates suggest that symptoms, if they appear, could do so as soon as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.

If Mr. Trump develops mild symptoms such as a cough, fever or shortness of breath, it could take him a week to recover. A severe illness, which could mean developing lung lesions and pneumonia, could require hospitalization, possible ventilation and months of treatment.

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