President Donald Trump stopped a journalist from asking Dr. Tony Fauci a question about hydroxychloroquine at the White House coronavirus briefing on April 5, 2020. You can watch the exchange later in this article. Trump has touted the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in the battle against COVID-19, calling it a “game-changer.”
When Jeremy Diamond from CNN asked if Fauci could also weigh in on the “issue of hydroxychloroquine” and what the medical evidence was on it, Trump interjected, “You know how many times he’s answered that question? Fifteen times. You don’t have to ask that question. He’s answered that question 15 times.”
The reporter then asked, “He’s your medical expert, correct?” Another reporter then switched the subject to face masks. Watch the video:
Here’s the full White House coronavirus briefing from April 5:
In it, Trump said of the nation’s COVID-19 fight: “We’re orchestrating a massive federal response unlike anything our country has ever seen or done.” He spoke about the distribution of protective masks and ventilators. Trump said the country had conducted 1,670,000 tests.
On the issue of hydroxychloroquine, at just after 15 minutes into the video, Trump said the country had bought a “tremendous amount” of the drug. “It’s a great malaria drug. It’s worked unbelievably. It’s a powerful drug on malaria. There are signs it works on this. Some very strong signs … there are some very strong, powerful signs, and we’ll have to see. Because again it’s being tested now. This is a new thing that just happened to us. The invisible enemy as we call it.”
He said 29 million of the pills have been stockpiled. “What do you have to lose?” said Trump. “… I’m not looking at it one way or the other, but we want to get out of this, and if it does work, it would be a shame if we didn’t do it early. But we have some very good signs.” He also touted Azithromycin for people without heart issues, but he suggested they speak to their doctor first. “What do I know, I’m not a doctor. But I have common sense. The FDA feels good about it. They gave it a rapid approval. The reason is it’s been out there a long time,” said Trump. “… We’re driven by the goal of getting rid of this plague, this scourge, this virus.”
The president said the country was starting to “see light at the end of the tunnel.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Dr. Fauci Did Discuss Hydroxychloroquine in a TV Appearance Earlier in the Day
Earlier in the day, Fauci did discuss the drug on Face the Nation. The anchor asked him, “Is hydroxychloroquine preventative against this virus?”
Here’s what Fauci said in that interview: “As I’ve said many times … the data are really just at best suggestive; there have been cases that show there may be an effect, and there are others to show there’s no effect. So, I think in terms of science, I don’t think we can definitively say it works.”
The same day, Axios published a lengthy report announcing that “the White House coronavirus task force had its biggest fight yet on Saturday,” saying that Fauci and economic adviser Peter Navarro disagreed over “how enthusiastically should the White House tout the prospects of an antimalarial drug to fight COVID-19?” According to Axios, Fauci pushed back against Navarro and insisted there was “only anecdotal evidence that hydroxychloroquine works against the coronavirus.” A source told Axios that Navarro was touting studies, mostly from overseas, that he said show “clear therapeutic efficacy.”
Read more about hydroxychloroquine and coronavirus here.
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