Experts in Lexington explain what the hospitalization of the president could look like
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - People around the world are wondering how the country will be run while President Trump is being treated for the coronavirus at Walter Reed Hospital.
Here in Lexington, an expert familiar with COVID-19 and one familiar with the inner working of the president’s office, share what the next few days or even weeks could like.
“I don’t think people should be panicking at this moment in time, but they should be concerned,” said UK political science professor Dr. Richard Waterman.
The nation is cautiously waiting on any updates from President Trump’s camp.
“If information is not forthcoming, then people will start to speculate," Dr. Waterman said. "We know that social media will light up. People will begin to have theories about what the President is suffering from.”
Dr. Waterman, specializing in ‘The Presidency,’ says in the short term, Trump’s staff will be able to keep the country going while he receives care at Walter Reed. Long term raises some concerns.
“The idea of a president who is incapacitated would mean that we would have to transfer power under the 25th Amendment to the Vice President, Mike Pence,” Dr. Waterman said.
Emergency Physician Dr. Ryan Stanton says there’s about a five percent chance of death in Trump’s age group. Which may have factored into the decision to be admitted to the hospital so early on.
“I’ve seen people in their 80s, 90s, even low 100s who have done very well with COVID, with very mild symptoms. I’ve seen many others who have had much more serious symptoms. So now it’s just a waiting game with the president to see how his symptoms are going to evolve,” Dr. Stanton said.
While the country waits for news from Washington, D.C., a sobering message tonight, after a world leader faces the unknown of the virus.
“This strikes home that even the President of the United States, with all of the protection that he has, that his family has, that he got COVID. So for all of us, we have exposure and risk, too,” Dr. Stanton said.
Dr. Waterman says Trump could temporarily transfer power to Pence if needed.
Or, if his conditioned worsened, and he couldn’t do it himself, his Cabinet and Pence would make the transfer.
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