White House physician Dr. Sean Conley briefed outside Walter Reed just before noon ET. Photo: Ken Cedeno/Reuters

What is the actual state of President Trump's health — now and over the past 24 hours?

Why it matters: It’s one of the most high-stakes questions in the world, and I cannot answer it, despite having spent since 5 a.m. on Friday on my phone with sources inside and close to the White House.

On Friday night, we chose not to publish information we'd learned from well-placed sources who told us the president had experienced a fever and was worse than the White House was letting on.

  • We chose not to publish because we weren’t certain enough it was correct, and it was no time to lower our editorial standards.

Today, when we saw the doctors line up outside Walter Reed in their white lab coats, we thought we might finally get clarity.

  • The picture painted by the White House physician, Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley, was rosy: Trump was in good spirits — so good, apparently, he had been fever-free for 24 hours, and felt he could have walked out of Walter Reed today.
  • The Q&A didn't engender confidence. Trump's doctor was repeatedly evasive on the question of whether he’d received supplemental oxygen. But the picture remained rosy.

Then, minutes after the doctors' press conference, something extraordinary happened that crystallized this White House’s credibility gap, and made a mockery of any reporter trying to responsibly cover this president’s condition.

  • The White House reporter on pool duty — traveling with the president and delivering official dispatches to reporters at numerous outlets — sent this dispatch, quoting "a source familiar with the president’s health":
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.

That was a much more worrisome portrait. The source, identified by AP, was White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who was shown on camera asking the pool to "go off the record with some of y'all."

  • I have tried to get a straight answer from the White House since then about what is going on, and why we are being fed official contradictions.

The bottom line: Multiple sources in the White House and on the campaign have reached out since Meadows' statement, and said they're utterly perplexed about what's going on.

  • They, like us, have little confidence in what they are being told.

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Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said "the short answer is yes" when asked whether Vice President Mike Pence is putting others at risk by continuing to campaign after several aides tested positive for COVID-19, stressing that the White House needs to be "very explicit about the risks that they're taking."

Why it matters: The New York Times reports that at least five members of Pence's inner circle, including his chief of staff Marc Short and outside adviser Marty Obst, have tested positive for the virus. Pence tested negative on Sunday morning, according to the VP's office, and he'll continue to travel for the final stretch of the 2020 campaign.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced new coronavirus restrictions on Sunday that require face coverings be worn outdoors and mandate bars and restaurants close early.

Why it matters: Nearly 20,000 new cases were recorded in Italy on Saturday alone, per data from Johns Hopkins. COVID-19 infections began spiking dramatically in early October, after the country suppressed its first wave over the summer.

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