Trump Touts New Coronavirus Treatment in Politicized Press Briefing

Abigail Covington
·2 mins read
Photo credit: Alex Wong - Getty Images
Photo credit: Alex Wong - Getty Images

From Esquire

"Today I'm pleased to make a truly historic announcement in our battle against the China virus that will save countless lives," said President Trump in a press briefing on Sunday. "The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization ... for a treatment known as convalescent plasma."

According to the AP, convalescent plasma is blood plasma that has been taken from patients who have recovered from the virus and are rich in COVID-19 antibodies. It is primarily used to prevent a more severe development of the disease in those who have mild symptoms.

That all sounds great, except lots of people, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have expressed concerns about the treatment. In fact, just last week the FDA prevented an emergency approval of the treatment, citing a lack of data as the primary cause for the delay. On CBS's "Face the Nation," Scott Gottlieb, Trump's first FDA commissioner, acknowledged scientists' concerns about the lack of evidence for the treatment. The delay was said to have angered Trump who, facing difficult polling numbers, is eager for a win.

Because an authorization doesn’t require the same amount of evidence as an approval, Trump was able to sidestep the delay. He then used Sunday's press briefing as an opportunity to grandstand about his own role in the developement of the new treatment. "This is only made possible because of Operation Warp Speed," said Trump. "We're years ahead of approvals than we would be if we went by the speed levels of past administrations. We'd be 2-3 years behind where we are today."

Soon after that statement, he took a softball question from the controversial news network OAN who asked if the hold-up to get approval for the convalescent plasma treatment was political. It was a dream question for Trump who has been baselessly accusing the FDA of a slowdown for weeks.

The press conference was ultimately cut short by Trump as soon as reporters attempted to ask Stephen Hahn, the newly appointed F.D.A. chief and the only scientist in the room, if he felt pressured to authorize the treatment. "This is a very big day," Trump said as he walked off stage. "It's a day we've been looking forward to."

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