President Trump is creating his own facts to defend taking hydroxychloroquine.
Trump said Monday that he is taking the potentially toxic malaria drug as a "preventative" measure against COVID-19, though a note from Trump's doctor didn't actually say he was doing so. Still, Trump doubled down on the drug on Tuesday, declaring that a government-funded study that showed hydroxychloroquine's dangers was actually "false" and "phony."
"That was a false study, where they gave it to very sick people," Trump said, seemingly talking about research that showed hundreds of COVID-19 patients at VA hospitals not only didn't see improvement after taking hydroxychloroquine, but also ended up with a higher death rate. "It was given by obviously not friends of the administration," Trump said of the research funded by the National Institutes of Health and the University of Virginia.
"That was a false study done. Where they gave it very sick people. Extremely sick people. People that were ready to die. It was given by obviously not friends of the administration" -- Trump defends hydroxychloroquine by suggesting a study of VA patients was fruit of a conspiracy pic.twitter.com/a3neqa2U4y
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 19, 2020
Dr. Eric Fiegl-Ding, an epidemiologist at Harvard University, declared in a tweet that Trump's criticism of the study was actually "100% HORSE SH*T." And David Shulkin, the former secretary of veterans affairs under Trump, responded to the president's Tuesday comments with concerns of his own.
The risks of taking hydroxychloroquine are real, yet no data has shown it’s effective for COViD19. Thats why this should only be used now within ongoing clinical trials. I worry about the example being set and whether others may take the drug inappropriately.
— David J. Shulkin, MD (@DavidShulkin) May 19, 2020
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