Trump Again Touts Hydroxychloroquine, Which Has Major Potential Side Effects, as COVID-19 Treatment

President Donald Trump is again touting a drug used to treat certain other diseases and says he may take it himself in hope that it will help fend off the new coronavirus.

Trump says “there’s a rumor out there” that hydroxychloroquine is effective, declaring “I may take it.”

He has often pointed to hydroxychloroquine as a possible cure and urged people to take it, despite more sober assessments of its effectiveness by medical professionals.

The drug has long been used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Very small preliminary studies suggested it might help prevent coronavirus from entering cells and possibly help patients clear the virus sooner.

But the drug has major potential side effects, especially for the heart, and large studies are underway to see if it is safe and effective for treating COVID-19.

[Time]

Reality

After lying about it on Sunday, Trump on Monday repeats claim that New York asked for more ventilators than it will need

Speaking with the coronavirus task force in the White House Rose Garden on Sunday, March 29, President Donald Trump lied to PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor that he didn’t say that some equipment governors are requesting for their coronavirus responses is not actually needed (he had in fact said that to Fox’s Sean Hannity.)

The following day, Trump did a 54-minute interview on Fox & Friends, and he repeated his claim that some medical equipment requested by New York and other states won’t be needed, despite reports of widespread shortages of medical supplies, especially ventilators.

Predictably, none of the show hosts questioned him on his contradictory statements. 


DONALD TRUMP (PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES): We delivered 4,000 ventilators to New York to their warehouse which happens to be located, which is interesting, in Edison, New Jersey. It was signed off, they were delivered, and they weren’t used. And we said a number of days later, why aren’t you using these ventilators? I don’t know what happened but we delivered thousands of them and we’ve delivered them to a lot of people. You know, there’s a whole question about that. I think New York should be fine, based on the numbers that we see, they should have more than enough.
I mean, I’m hearing stories that they’re not used or they’re not used right but what we find anywhere from two to four thousand that have been sent and aren’t used, you know, we’ve done a job. Now we’re still getting more ventilators. We’re going to have — after this is over, we’ll be selling, they will be selling ventilators for $1 a piece. We’ll have a lot of them. But, you know, they have to build them because for the most part, the whole world is short on ventilators.

On March 28, The Washington Post reported that a recent batch of medical supplies sent from an emergency federal stockpile fell far short of what state leaders have requested — Massachusetts and Maine received about 17% and 5%, respectively, of protective gear they requested, and Colorado got enough supplies “for only one full day of statewide operations.” In contrast, Florida — home to a pro-Trump governor and electorate — is receiving three times the supplies it requested. (The Post did note however that aid disbursement does “not appear to follow discernible political or geographic lines.”)

Throughout March, Fox shows — that Trump obsessively watches — engaged in sensationalist coverage blaming Democratic-leaning states for the viral spread of COVID-19. One particular focal point was Trump favorite Tucker Carlson speculating that homeless people and their “filth” are to blame for spreading the virus in California. Trump also demanded on March 27 that governors should be grateful for any assistance the federal government provides. The same day Hannity said that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should stop “whining, bitching, and complaining” about a lack of medical supplies and instead “thank Donald Trump” for the help.

[Media Matters]

Trump Bashes CNN’s Jim Acosta at Coronavirus Presser: ‘I Could Cause Panic Much Better Than Even You’

President Donald Trump continued on Monday what is becoming a tradition at his daily coronavirus press conference: lacing into White House reporters.

At his Monday presser in the Rose Garden, Trump selected CNN’s Jim Acosta for a question. The CNN senior White House correspondent asked Trump about his previous comments downplaying the threat of the coronavirus.

“What do you say to Americans who believe that you got this wrong?” Acosta asked.

Trump defended his past statements, claiming they were “all true” and the product of his efforts to “keep the country calm.”

The president then dropped an odd claim: “I don’t want panic in the country. I could cause panic much better than even you. I would make you look like a minor league player. But you know what? I don’t want to do that. I want to have our country be calm and strong and fight and win and it will go away.”

Trump then started attacking CNN for Acosta’s question, which he deemed “nasty” and “snarky.” (He would, later in the press conference, call a question from PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor as “snarky” as well.)

[Mediaite]

Trump downplays need for ventilators as New York begs to differ

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York says his state needs tens of thousands of ventilators to respond to the escalating coronavirus pandemic.

President Donald Trump doesn’t believe him.

Speaking with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday night, Trump again minimized the impact of the infectious outbreak in the United States, casting doubt on the demand for so many of the respiratory devices in hospitals on the front lines of the disease.

“I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” he said. “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now, all of a sudden, they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”

New York has become the new epicenter America’s public health crisis, as health care workers struggle to treat rocketing numbers of patients with diminishing supplies, including masks, gowns and ventilators. In severe cases of Covid-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, the machines can allow patients to breathe with incapacitated lungs — a common outcome of the disease.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said in a news briefing on Thursday that she was told New York had enough ventilators to meet current needs. While there may be shortages in urban areas like New York City, she said, there are parts of the state “that have lots of ventilators and other parts of New York state that don’t have any infections right now.”

“Over a thousand or two thousand ventilators that have not been utilized yet,” Birx said. “Please, for the reassurance of people around the world, to wake up this morning and look at people talking about creating DNR situations — do not resuscitate situations for patients — there is no situation in the United States right now that warrants that kind of discussion.”

But during his daily news conference on Tuesday, Cuomo had said that the state would need a minimum of 30,000 ventilators to be able to respond to the climax of the outbreak, which is predicted to hit the state in about two weeks.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency had delivered only 400 ventilators, Cuomo said, although the Trump administration announced later in the day that it would ship 4,000 more from the federal stockpile.

“What am I going to do with 400 ventilators when I need 30,000?” Cuomo asked reporters, angrily accusing the administration of “missing the magnitude of the problem.”

“You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators,” he said.

By Thursday, Cuomo said the state had begun converting several thousand anesthesia machines into ventilators and approved the “splitting” of ventilators between two patients — a practice the governor said was “not ideal, but we believe it’s workable.”

“We are talking to the federal government about more ventilators” and still “shopping for ventilators, ourselves,” Cuomo said, adding that stockpiles of ventilators were located “all across the state” to deploy to regional hospitals.

But “the number of ventilators we need is so astronomical,” Cuomo warned, pegging the “apex number” of ventilators that could be required in New York at 40,000. The governor said New York is currently in possession of 12,000 ventilators, and he did not know when the state would reach peak demand.

“We don’t have an estimate for when we would get there,” Cuomo said, “and hopefully, we never do.”

[Politico]

In coronavirus tweet storm, Trump touts suspect ‘cure’ and potential easing of guidelines to boost economy

President Donald Trump on Monday unleashed a barrage of posts spreading conspiracy theories about the coronavirus, chastising the World Health Organization for its early messaging, attacking his political enemies and the media, and promoting a dubious article that suggested a miracle cure was at hand. 

In more than a dozen tweets and retweets that started near midnight, the president signaled his anxiety about the economic toll the disease was wreaking on the American economy and suggested that he could ease up on 15-day guidelines the White House imposed a week ago. 

Trump also suggested he would support the decision of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over whether to cancel the Tokyo Olympics and expressed opposition to the release of some inmates from crowded jails, which is happening in several states as a public health precaution for low-level offenders and the elderly. Abe on Monday reportedly hinted the games might need to be postponed.

“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” Trump wrote in a tweet posted near midnight on Sunday. “AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”

The president then retweeted, or posted to his own account, a number of replies, including one from a man named Chuck Callesto, who is identified as a “Digital Real Estate Manager,” promoting a possible cure. 

“They should take a SERIOUS LOOK at this…” Callesto wrote in the tweet posted to the president’s account, with a link to a story with the headline “REPORT: French Doctor Reports 100 % Cure Rate Using Malaria Drug to Treat Corona Virus.”

There is no known cure or treatment for coronavirus, though scammers have sought to cash in on the panic it has caused. On Sunday, the Department of Justice announced that it has taken its first action in federal court to stop COVID-19-related fraud, following Attorney General William Barr’s direction to prioritize prosecution of illegal conduct related to the pandemic.

The DOJ said in a press release that it recommends that Americans ignore “offers for a COVID-19 vaccine, cure, or treatment. Remember, if a vaccine becomes available, you won’t hear about it for the first time through an email, online ad, or unsolicited sales pitch.”

The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not respond to requests for comment on the president’s messages on Twitter.

In other messages, including tweets and retweets, the president attacked former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president, as well as The New York Times, the WHO, and China, which he suggested was manipulating health data. 

In several posts, the president suggested that he was looking to ease the coronavirus-related guidelines that the White House imposed last week for a 15-day period that will end next Tuesday.

After the initial all-caps message, the president retweeted a number of accounts suggesting that future guidelines from the White House will call for isolating high-risk groups only.

“Flatten the curve NOT the Economy,” an account retweeted by the president wrote. 

The current federal guidelines, which are separate from the mandatory restrictions put in place by a number of states, call for individuals not to congregate in groups of more than 10, to avoid discretionary travel and to refrain from dining or drinking at restaurants, bars and food courts. 

Tens of millions of Americans remain under virtual lockdown because of state-level actions to close businesses and keep people indoors. California and New York, the nation’s most populous states, have effectively put their economies on pause. 

The president’s tweet storm came as coronavirus surpassed 350,000 confirmed infections around the world, with a death toll rising past 15,000. Worldwide, cases have doubled in the past week, according to the WHO, and deaths have nearly tripled. 

The effect of the disease and containment measures meant to stop it have tanked markets, with the worst expected to come. Weekly job loss claims are soon expected to hit records, dwarfing the numbers seen during the 2008 recession. 

The president’s tweets come as the administration is wrestling with the appropriate response to the virus moving forward. Officials worry that the first measures, called for by public health experts, may have been too harsh, and are considering separate guidelines for the hardest-hit states of California, New York and Washington, according to NBC News. The guidelines for other states could call for a return to business. 

Trump has sought to blame China, where the virus originated, for the disease, dubbing it the “Chinese Virus” against the recommendations of public health officials in his administration. In his posts on Monday, Trump suggested without evidence that China was putting out false information about coronavirus. 

He retweeted a post sent by his son, Donald Trump Jr., promoting a story in the conservative outlet Breitbart News with the headline “WHO Spread False Chinese Government Propaganda: Coronavirus Not Contagious Among Humans.”

The WHO did not return a request for comment. 

Another post retweeted to Trump’s timeline asks why people should take Chinese health statistics “at face value” given its cover-up of the Tiananmen Square massacre. 

Trump has criticized China during his public press briefings from the White House for not disclosing information about the virus earlier, though he has also expressed sympathy for the hard-hit nation and President Xi Jinping.

“China has gone through hell over this. They’ve gone through hell. And I’ve had conversations with President Xi. I just wish they could have told us earlier. They knew they had a problem earlier,” Trump said at Saturday’s briefing. 

[CNBC]

Trump lashes out at networks, newspapers: All I see is ‘hatred of me’


President Trump
 late Sunday lashed out at much of the media over their coverage of his administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, claiming that all he’s seen is “hatred of me.”

“I watch and listen to the Fake News, CNN, MSDNC, ABC, NBC, CBS, some of FOX (desperately & foolishly pleading to be politically correct), the [New York Times], & the [Washington Post], and all I see is hatred of me at any cost,” Trump said on Twitter. 

“Don’t they understand that they are destroying themselves?” he asked. 

Trump has regularly attacked the press since entering the White House, often referring to reporters as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people.” Last week, Trump railed against an NBC reporter, calling him “terrible,” after being asked what he’d say to Americans who are scared. 

His tirade against the group of news outlets came after a day in which several state and federal lawmakers called on the president to use his authority to help health systems being overwhelmed by a surge of patients. 

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said on CNN that states were overpaying for medical equipment and were being forced to compete with each other for much-needed resources. Rather than a competition, it “should have been a coordinated effort by the federal government,” he said. 

“It’s a wild, wild West out there, and indeed [we’re] overpaying for [personal protective equipment] because of that competition,” Pritzker said. 

Trump railed against Pritzker and CNN just hours later, tweeting that they “shouldn’t be blaming the Federal Government for their own shortcomings.”

Pritzker tweeted in response that Trump “wasted precious months when you could’ve taken action to protect Americans & Illinoisans.”

“Get off Twitter & do your job,” Pritzker said. 

Speaking at a White House briefing on Sunday, Trump said that he would reject calls to ramp up production of critical medical supplies through the use of the Defense Production Act.

He said that he’s used the law as a source of leverage in negotiations with companies to persuade them to manufacture equipment, but he contended that it would nationalize industries and that he was not in favor it. The Defense Production Act does not nationalize industry, but it does allow the government to direct private businesses to make certain supplies. “We’re a country not based on nationalizing our business. Call a person over in Venezuela,” Trump told reporters. “How did nationalization of their businesses work out? Not too well.”

[The Hill]

Donald Trump Shares “Chinese Virus Facts” That Are Pure Propaganda and Bunk

Donald Trump shared a video of Fox News’ Jesse Watters making a poor attempt at gaslighting you, saying:

1) “Trump did not cut funding for the CDC. It has increased since he took office.”

FACT: True CDC funding has risen, because Congress denied Trump’s multiple requests to cut CDC funding. Requests still happening today: https://thehill.com/policy/finance/486817-trump-budget-chief-holds-firm-on-cdc-cuts-amid-virus-outbreak?amp

2) “Trump did not get rid of the NSC Pandemic unit.”

FACT: Trump absolutely dismissed his Pandemic Response Team in 2017, here is video of Trump bragging about firing the team in 2018: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/coronavirus-video-trump-pandemic-team-cut-2018-a9405191.html

3) “Trump did not call the “China Virus” a hoax.”

FACT: Here is video of Trump calling COVID-19 a hoax: https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1233570800223084544?s=21

4) “Trump did not silence scientists.”

FACT: All government scientists are banned from talking to the public and all communications of government scientists must go through Mike Pence: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/us/politics/us-coronavirus-pence.html

5) “Trump never told governors they are on their own.”

FACT: Trump told governors they are on their own and his administration is not a shipping clerk: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-19/trump-told-governors-to-buy-own-virus-supplies-then-outbid-them

6) “Google is working on a website to test coronavirus”

FACT: Trump said earlier that they are working with Google to create a virus testing website for all Americans. Watters however claimed the press said that Google has no plans to do it, which was fake news. That’s not what the press pointed out at all and in fact Google itself was forced to fact-check Trump their website was not ready for all Americans but just testing in the Bay Area and had no plans to roll out to the rest of the country:
https://www.factcheck.org/2020/03/trump-misrepresents-google-coronavirus-website/

Reality

This is what Fox News does, it creates an alternative reality for their viewers by ignoring key facts, withholding context, and making stuff up.

Make no mistake this is propaganda. If you saw the media arm of a political party in any other country you would say this is exactly what propaganda looks like. If you watch Fox News you are willfully accepting lies.

Trump falsely claims drug approval for virus

President Donald Trump misstated the facts Thursday when he asserted that the Food and Drug Administration had just approved a decades-old malaria drug to treat patients infected by the coronavirus. After his FDA chief clarified that the drug still needs testing, Trump also overstated the drug’s potential upside in helping contain the outbreak.

A look at his claims at a news briefing:

TRUMP: “And we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately, and that’s where the FDA has been so great. They — they’ve gone through the approval process. It’s been approved.”

THE FACTS: The drug, known chemically as chloroquine, has been available for decades to treat the mosquito-borne illness malaria. Technically, doctors can already prescribe the drug to patients with COVID-19, a practice known as off-label prescribing. But Trump falsely suggested to reporters that the FDA had just cleared the drug specifically for the viral pandemic spreading in communities across the U.S. That would mean that the drug had met the FDA’s standards for safety and effectiveness.

Minutes later, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn emphasized that the drug still needs testing to determine if it can help patients. He said chloroquine would have to be tested in “a large pragmatic clinical trial to actually gather that information.”

Drug trials typically require hundreds or thousands of patients and, even when accelerated, take weeks or months to complete. In his remarks, Hahn reflected on his background as a cancer doctor and warned against giving patients “false hope” before drugs are fully vetted.

While chloroquine has shown promise in preliminary laboratory studies, some experts are skeptical it will prove effective in human testing.

“I think it could be a game changer, and maybe not,” Trump said, discussing the drug.

But the FDA reiterated in a statement Thursday that there are “no FDA-approved therapeutics or drugs to treat, cure or prevent COVID-19.”

___

TRUMP: “If chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine works, or any of the other things that they’re looking at that are not quite as far out … your numbers are going to come down very rapidly.”

THE FACTS: The drugs he is referring to are for treatment in patients already infected. That doesn’t prevent spread of the virus. One study is testing chloroquine to try to protect health care workers at highest risk of infection, because a vaccine is likely a year or more away.

[Associated Press]

Dr. Fauci swiftly fact-checks Trump on COVID-19 testing shortages: ‘That is a reality that is happening now’

Dr. Anthony Fauci fact-checked President Donald Trump’s claims about coronavirus testing.

The president insisted that he wasn’t hearing any complaints about Americans who have symptoms of COVID-19 but could not get tested, and Trump disagreed with Fauci’s earlier advice to test everyone to see who should remain in quarantine.

“I’m not hearing it,” Trump said. “We don’t want everybody to go out and get a test because there’s no reason for it.”

Another reporter came back to the topic less than three minutes later in the news conference, and asked Fauci whether testing availability was meeting public demand.

“I get the same calls that many of you get,” Fauci said. “Someone goes into a place who has a symptom and wants to get a test and for one reason or other, multiple logistic, technical, what have you — they can’t get it. That is a reality that is happening now. Is it the same as it was a few weeks ago? Absolutely not, because as the secretary and others have said, right now that we have the private sector involved the availability — not only just availability, but the implementation of the availability is getting better and better and better. Having said that, I understand and empathize with the people who rightfully are sayin, ‘I’m trying to get a test, and I can’t.’”

[Raw Story]

Trump says he knew coronavirus was a pandemic ‘long before’ it was declared

President Trump on Tuesday said that he realized that the coronavirus outbreak was a pandemic before the World Health Organization (WHO) labeled it as such last week.

“This is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic,” Trump said at a press conference with his coronavirus task force. “All you had to do was look at other countries.”

The president’s comments were in response to being asked if he agreed that his rhetoric surrounding the coronavirus become more reserved on Monday. Trump disagreed, saying that he always knew the outbreak was “serious.”

Trump’s answer immediately drew ire, with some pointing to a March 9 tweet of the president’s.

“The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power (it used to be greater!) to inflame the CoronaVirus situation, far beyond what the facts would warrant,” Trump tweeted at the time.

Trump also previously characterized the virus as a Democratic “hoax.”

In the past week, the Trump administration has ramped up its efforts to combat the illness that has infected more than 5,600 Americans and caused more than 90 deaths.

Late last week, Trump declared the outbreak a national health emergency, which freed up billions of dollars of potential aid. During his press conference Tuesday, Trump said that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would be meeting with Senate Republicans later in the day to talk about the third phase of an economic stimulus package aimed at helping the economic fallout that has been caused by COVID-19.

Numerous states have forced restaurants and bars to close in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus and called on Americans to work from home. The Trump administration on Monday recommended that people should avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.

[The Hill]

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