Commentary: The Elephant – Part II


by Tia Will

I wanted to post this as a comment to David’s  We Don’t Want to Talk about the Elephant in the Room article on 10/3/2020.  It was too large, thus this article.

I have posted a timeline as posted on Twitter of the events surrounding the public’s notification of Donald Trump’s positive COVID-19 test. I have not verified them all, but there are plenty of confirmatory reports available online.

I would encourage everyone to read this timeline and draw their own conclusions. My comments will be limited to only these individuals and this timeline without any consideration of actions preceding this timeline.

Trump and all his associates knew the potential severity of this disease. They knew the means of transmission. They had multiple opportunities to comply with the guidelines and safety standards set by various venues and jurisdictions, and they knew the responsibility to notify potential contacts. They ignored all of these precautions. I have worked through 4 previous epidemics. I am currently trained as a COVID-19 case investigator. Based on that experience and current training, the words that come to mind for me are: Reckless endangerment.

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About The Author

Tia is a graduate of UCDMC and long time resident of Davis who raised her two now adult children here. She is a local obstetrician gynecologist with special interests in preventive medicine and public health and safety. All articles and posts written by Tia are reflective only of her own opinions and are in no way a reflection of the opinions of her partners or her employer.

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69 thoughts on “Commentary: The Elephant – Part II”

  1. Eric Gelber

    Based on that experience and current training, the words that come to mind for me are: Reckless endangerment.

    Brett Hankison, the Louisville, Kentucky cop indicted in the Breonna Taylor case, was charged with “wanton endangerment,“ referred to by other states as reckless endangerment, for firing shots that entered a neighboring apartment. Under Kentucky law, a person commits that crime when he or she “wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person,” and does so “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.”

    Sound familiar?

  2. Keith Olsen

    According to this article and his doctor Trump didn’t know he tested positive until late Thursday night.

    Thursday afternoon, following the news of a close contact is when we repeated testing, and given kind of clinical indications I had a little bit more concern, and that’s when – late that night – we got the PCR confirmation that he was,” Conley said, referring to a molecular diagnostic test.

    1. Eric Gelber

      Trump knew he’d had close contact with someone who tested positive (Hicks) prior to attending Thursday’s NJ fundraiser. CDC guidelines recommend anyone in close contact with an infected person to quarantine, but Trump traveled to New Jersey and held the indoor fundraiser. That was irresponsible.

    1. Keith Olsen

      So you choose to believe Twitter comments over Trump’s own doctor’s words?

      And excuse me if I have skepticism over something posted on Twitter by Trump detractors.

      You said yourself you haven’t verified them.

      1. Tia Will Post author


        I will note that rather than trying to gather confirmation or refutation of the timeline I posted, you chose to seek out and post a statement favorable to Trump. I consider timelines very different from medical information since they can be checked independently where HPPA prevents independent checking of medical records for accuracy and completeness. I was open about my source and the fact that I had not independently confirmed. Please feel free to correct me if the timeline is not accurate. I have a history of retracting or correcting my errors.

        1. Keith Olsen

          I already did contradict that your timeline that claims Trump tested positive for COVID at mid day on Wednesday.  His doctor said they didn’t have the results of the test until late Thursday night.

          1. David Greenwald

            There are conflicting accounts on the timeline. Given what we know about the Trump administration, I don’t know what to believe.

          2. David Greenwald

            Except that after Conley said that the WH released a statement that it was wrong. Why did you fail to include that fact???

        2. Bill Marshall

          Well, Keith, if the test sample was taken mid-day Wednesday, and was reported positive Thursday, he was indeed covid-positive on Wednesday… duh!

          If you want to do the ‘how many angels dancing on the head of the pin’ thingy… fine, knock yourself out…

          1. David Greenwald

            Keith – you can’t blame this on the media, the WH and doctors are saying this on video and it’s being aired. We can see it with our own eyes. You’re explanation makes no sense.

            Mark Meadows – Chief of Staff: “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning, and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

            And then the Dr. Conley gave one timeline that gave the impression that the president was sick and had begun treatment earlier than officially reported. He said, “just 72 hours into the diagnosis now,” which would mean midday on Wednesday.

            He then released a statement saying he had misspoken.

            This isn’t the media – it’s coming directly out of their mouths. On TV.

        3. Bill Marshall

          Yes Keith… in a previous post all the infection of POTUS, hospitalization, etc., is all FAKE NEWS… and,

          And given what we know of the Trump hating press we can never rely on their information anymore.

          So, POTUS was never ill, never had tested positive for covid-19, was never hospitalized, and it is all FAKE NEWS… got it… even Fox News is complicit (Trump hating press)… got it…


        4. Bill Marshall

          So, Keith, I misquoted you?  I thought you wrote,

          And given what we know of the Trump hating press we can never rely on their information anymore.

          My error…

    2. Keith Olsen

      Also Tia, I asked you the other day to supply proof that Trump has been diagnosed with cognitive mental issues/dementia.

      If you already replied please lead me to your response otherwise I haven’t seen it.


      1. Bill Marshall

        It was reported that Abe Lincoln’s doctor told the press outside Ford’s Theater, that the prez had a bad headache, but he reassured them it ‘should resolve presently, and the pain will end’…

        At least we don’t have an Alexander Haig running around saying, “It’s OK, I’m in charge now!”

      2. Tia Will Post author


        I did not respond because I did not see your question. I have no idea why you would direct this question to me. I have no idea what he has or has not been diagnosed with because those records have not been released. What I can tell you is that the MOCA is a screening test for signs that might represent dementia and require further testing. It is not, repeat not a diagnostic test. It tells you only if there is an indication for further testing based on its results. It does not tell you whether you do, or do not have dementia. If I was unclear on this point, I apologize.


        1. Keith Olsen

          Tia Will October 2, 2020 at 3:39 pm
          I just saw the question. I presume you are asking the odds of our being briefed on Trump’s true condition. I would say the odds are next to nothing for two reasons, one having nothing to do with Trump per se, the other having everything to do with Trump.
          First, we have a long history of not being made aware of our president’s true condition in the modern era. Roosevelt’s degree of debilitation was hidden, a fairly ineffective attempt was made to hide Reagan’s dementia, and as has been noted, we were likely not fully apprised of the nature of Reagan’s injury.
          In the case of Trump, we have much documentation of the falsification of facts regarding both his physical and mental health. His doctors have never been forthcoming with so much as his true height/weight ratio, so I anticipate other information may have been falsified as well, although of course, I do not know that. As for the MOCA, a screening test for mild cognitive deficits. This is not an intelligence test. One either has no evidence of deficit, or there is suspicion thereof warranting further testing. This is not a test one “aces”.
          Or in retrospect, maybe you were asking about Trump’s odds of a full recovery due to his age & physical condition. I can’t answer that either. While the majority of people who die or are permanently disabled are over 70, one cannot prognosticate for any given individual.
          Ignore Commenter

          ReplyReport comment ↓

          Keith Olsen October 2, 2020 at 4:09 pm

          In the case of Trump, we have much documentation of the falsification of facts regarding both his physical and mental health.

          Please share the documentation of the falsification of facts regarding Trump’s mental health.

  3. John Hobbs

    Is the predictably non apprehending Olsen referring to Dr. Scott Atlas, X-ray diagnostician?

    Or one of the other mystic quacks he’s surrounded himself with?

    The news conference this morning was horse twaddle.

    BTW, How’s Hope Hicks doing, or Trumps corpulent pin cushion, Chris Christie? Or any of the others dozens he may have infected?

  4. Tia Will Post author

    Chris Christie has been hospitalized. The risk factor he made public is asthma. The risk factor apparent to all of us is obesity. He is wise to go in as asthma patients can deteriorate rapidly.

  5. Bill Marshall

    Can hardly wait for the POTUS twitter after he is discharged…

    “I was never ill… I never tested positive for Covid… I never went to a hospital… it’s all FAKE NEWS from the biased liberal media!!!”

    Just wait…

  6. Tia Will Post author

    His doctor said they didn’t have the results of the test until late Thursday night.”

    That was the confirmatory test, not the rapid screening test which further complicates the issues of the timeline. I feel I made it very clear that I had not verified it. I obviously was not attempting to pass it off as unassailable. Also, if you note the timeline I posted, some of the sources are referenced.


  7. Tia Will Post author

    “Please share the documentation of the falsification of facts regarding Trump’s mental health.”

    Ok, Trump himself stated that the test he took, the MOCA, was indicative of his mental good health and that he “Aced it”. As I posted above it is no such thing. It is a screening test to determine if further testing for dementia is indicated. It was Trump himself falsifying the significance of the test.


    1. Bill Marshall

      Very telling… if true… as in, truly meant… he references miracles and God… perhaps he will open the book (instead of just using it as a ‘prop’), read it, learn from it… lots of references to miracles, and God…

      But a cynic might say he has no intention for doing so, and the referents were meant to appeal to his fundamentalist, Christian, base (even tho’ miracles and God are a part of the Jewish, Muslim, ‘non-fundamentalist’ Christian faiths, as well)…

      Sometimes it seems that POTUS has a ‘messianic complex’ thingy going on…

  8. Alan Miller

    There are a lot of people wishing Trump ill or even dying, out of spite, which I think is really sick, pun intended.

    But . . . I am going to say that I hope Trump gets really, really sick, but not out of spite, but for the health of the country.  Follow me on this . . .

    If Trump gets well and comes roaring back, I’m concerned this almost certainly will embolden the anti-mask crowd/types.  And they will be even more wreckless, and even more people will die.

    On the other hand, if he gets really sick, a few of his followers might think twice about following his lead.

    I’m not wishing the man ill health, as such.  But should he recover well, that is no win for the health of the country as a whole.

  9. David Greenwald

    Reuters Poll:

    About 65 percent of respondents said they agree with the premise “if President Trump had taken coronavirus more seriously, he probably would not have been infected.”

  10. Tia Will Post author

    “I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction, and in doing so, you know, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true,” Dr. Sean P. Conley, the White House physician, said in a briefing with reporters Sunday.

    This is the quality of “information” we are getting from the White House physician. I post this as evidence of why I am skeptical about the information we are given about Trump’s health. Note particularly the statement that “it was not “necessarily true” that they were trying to hide something. Ok, if  “not necessarily”, then what? Actually, truthfully, in reality, trying to hide something?

    Bear in mind the handling of the news regarding the president’s health is the exact pattern Trump chose of denying, downplaying, trivializing and ultimately just plain lying to the American public. And I have been asked why I trust a verifiable timeline over the word of the White House physician. Tis a mystery.

      1. David Greenwald

        How do you know that? They said my brother in law was improving and then he went downhill and died a few days later. The president is a lot sicker than they are letting on, and the critical time is days 7 to 10.

      2. David Greenwald

        Keith – you keep repeating this… “worried” about “president” …. I’m worried about our nation. Two-thirds of those polled think that Trump didn’t take this seriously enough. I agree with that view. Do you?

        1. Bill Marshall

          Ironically, it appears (some reports) the experience may be effecting a sort of  ‘epiphany’… perhaps ‘walking a mile’ in the hospital gowns of others, as it were… then again, maybe not…

        2. Eric Gelber

          Ironically, it appears (some reports) the experience may be effecting a sort of  ‘epiphany’

          Sorry. No epiphany. Quite the contrary—he’s doubled down. (See Robb Davis’ 6:28 comment, below.)

      3. Tia Will Post author


        No matter how many people hope for this outcome, and regardless of how many do not, it simply is not possible to predict. This virus has been a real wild card. There are numerous case reports of individuals felt well enough to be discharged, who were found dead in their homes, probably from inflammatory clotting problems ( stroke, MI, or pulmonary embolism). Likewise, people who were felt to be at exteme risk and were intubated even for prolonged periods who have recovered completely. And to be frank, everything in between. The statistics on outcome are just that, statistics, and they are not predictive of individual outcome. As an MD, I never wish premature death, illness, or suffering on anyone, but you are making a hopeful statement not based on any knowledge.

  11. John Hobbs

    Dr. Kent Sepkowitz is a physician and infection control expert at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

    “…First, the doctors danced around the simplest question of all: whether the President is on, or has been on, oxygen support. Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley’s evasiveness suggests that the President, though “not on oxygen right now,” may have been on oxygen earlier while still at the White House. Indeed, a source told CNN the President received oxygen on Friday.
    The amount of oxygen he is receiving is the single most important indicator of how he is doing. Right now, we are all breathing in air that is approximately 21% oxygen. Hospitalized patients with the thin pale green nasal tube can receive up to 40% oxygen comfortably, while more sophisticated contraptions allow patients to receive more than 75% oxygen.
    The need for extra oxygen almost always reflects lungs that are not working properly due to pneumonia, blood clots, inflammation or other damage. And the more oxygen is required, the worse the lung damage likely is. …It’s notable that the last question posted to Trump’s medical team — one about whether the President had received steroids — went unanswered.
    Dr. Conley did not mention any radiology tests (X-rays or CT scans) the president has received, saying only that they were conducting daily ultrasounds and daily lab work. The use of a sonogram … is an odd choice given its limits in assessing lung function or inflammation. It is more typically used to measure heart function, detect evidence of blood clots or assess whether large amounts of fluid are accumulating around the lungs or heart…
    As we move forward during the President’s illness, we can only hope his doctors will remember that they are doctors and that — as with any patient or family interaction — only honest and direct communication is acceptable.”

  12. David Greenwald

    Interesting article from Politico:

    President Donald Trump’s doctors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center revealed Sunday that the president’s condition is more serious than the White House has so far acknowledged.

    “I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction,” Sean Conley, the president’s physician, told reporters during a hospital briefing. “In doing so, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true.”


  13. John Hobbs

    “Keith – you keep repeating this… “worried” about “president” …. I’m worried about our nation. Two-thirds of those polled think that Trump didn’t take this seriously enough. I agree with that view. Do you?”

    No answer, Keith? Are you as pusillanimous as your president?

    Trump’s arrogance, mendacity, nefarious foreign dealings, false bravado and inattention are responsible for the mess we find ourselves in. I wish him a full recovery, but I still want to hold him to account.

  14. Robb Davis

    The elephant abides… This afternoon the president left the hospital briefly, in a sealed vehicle, with government staff, to greet his supporters outside.  This is reckless behavior.  It is unsafe for everyone who was in contact with him, it was unsafe for him.  He simply does not care.

    There has been no contact tracing.  No one was informed they were in contact with an infected person.

    This behavior is inexcusable. It could prove deadly.

      1. Mark West

        He endangered everyone who was in the car with him, all of whom now need to quarantine if they are to follow proper procedures. Just another example of the selfish and frankly abhorrent actions he is willing to take for a campaign photo-op.


      2. Robb Davis

        No, it is not enough said.  He is supposed to be in isolation.  Period.   The CDC is clear: if you have tested positive you must isolate—in the case of symptoms—until 72 hours after the symptoms have gone (no fever without medication).

        There is no “medical clearance” that supersedes this.  There are no “precautions” that make it okay.

        We now have secret service workers who MUST quarantine, reducing the work staff of an already depleted agency that many would consider critical to national security.

        That in itself makes this photo-op a reckless move.

      3. David Greenwald

        You are defending abject stupidity… Can you cite a single source that is not part of the WH who believes this was okay…

        Here’s a doctor at the hospital saying it was not recommended…

        And here’s someone from the secret service saying this never should have happened…

        But Keith Olson says “enough said” so it must be so…

    1. Eric Gelber

      Your snark is duly noted. I’d also point out that he’s “home” at what is, effectively, a step-down medical facility, so it’s not clear how well he’s doing. Upon arrival, he stood out on a balcony—ala Mussolini—and ripped off his mask. Not a good look.

      1. Keith Olsen

        My snark?  Really, is it considered snark to you that someone reports that the President is back home and seems to be doing well after spending 3 days in the hospital?

        SMH, Mussolini and all………

  15. Ron Oertel

    ‘Don’t Be Afraid of Covid,’ Trump Says, Undermining Public Health Messages

    Public health experts had hoped that President Trump, chastened by his own infection with the coronavirus and the cases that have erupted among his staff, would act decisively to persuade his supporters that wearing masks and social distancing were essential to protecting themselves and their loved ones.

    But instead, tweeting on Monday from the military hospital where he has been receiving state-of-the-art treatment for Covid-19, the president yet again downplayed the deadly threat of the virus.

    I’m “shocked”, I tell ya – utterly shocked.  😉


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