(NEXSTAR) – Former President Donald Trump was sicker with COVID-19 than his administration previously acknowledged, according to a new report.
A new story by the New York Times reveals that Trump’s blood oxygen level dipped into the 80s when he was suffering from COVID-19 in October. It is worrisome for the illness when blood oxygen levels fall below the 90s.
Trump also had lung infiltrates, per the report, which occur when a substance such as blood or fluid are present in the lungs.
Some officials even believed he would need to be put on a ventilator, two people familiar with his condition told the Times.
CNN reported in October that when Trump was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he had trouble breathing and received supplemental oxygen.
Trump’s former physician, Dr. Sean Conley, refused to answer directly questions related to Trump’s need for oxygen, saying, “Right now he is not [on oxygen]. Yesterday and today, he was not on oxygen.”
In October, after being diagnosed with COVID-19, Trump said he was feeling great and that the virus was a “blessing.”
“This was a blessing in disguise — I caught it, I heard about this drug, I said let me take it and it was incredible,” BBC reported the then-president saying, referring to the experimental antibody cocktail he was given.
Trump’s attitude alarmed infectious disease experts. And it suggested his own illness had not caused him to rethink his attitude toward the disease, which had also infected the first lady and more than a dozen White House aides and associates.
Trump, for his part, falsely suggested that the virus was akin to the seasonal flu.
“Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” he tweeted. “Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”
In fact, COVID-19 has already proven to be a more potent killer, particularly among older populations, than seasonal flu, and has shown indications of having long-term impacts on the health of younger people it infects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that influenza has resulted in far fewer yearly deaths than Trump said — between 12,000 and 61,000 annually since 2010.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.