Well, that didn’t take long.
CNN host John Berman had hoped to talk about the – reading now from the lower third on the screen –“HEATED DISAGREEMENT IN WH SITUATION ROOM OVER UNPROVEN DRUG”!
QUICK, AN ARGUMENT! SOMEONE DO SOMETHING! TRUMP WILL KILL US ALL! ORANGE MAN BAD!
Instead what he got from Trade Representative Peter Navarro, who’s on the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, was an education.
As Real Clear Politics helpfully transcribed, Berman was trying to talk up the reported argument Navarro had with Dr. Anthony Fauci over trying the FDA approved malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine on coronavirus patients. Fauci says it’s as yet unproven, due to a dearth of clinical trials in using it on COVID-19 patients.
President Trump has taken heat for wanting to try using hydroxychloroquine to help some coronavirus patients under doctors’ care. It has been shown to be helpful, saving lives even, in some studies and most certainly anecdotally. While the old saying is, “anecdotal evidence is only evidence of anecdotes,” eventually enough anecdotes become what you might call data.
The media have been absolutely rabid in their attempt to talk down the usefulness of using the already FDA approved and generic malaria drug and ignoring actual studies and anecdotes of people, such as this Michigan Democratic lawmaker, who have been saved by using it.
After a small study in France confirmed the drug’s usefulness weeks ago, Trump advocated a let’s give it a try, what the hell do we have to lose stance on it. It beats dying from COVID-19.
But if you listened to CNN you’d think Trump was ordering every doctor to give the drug to coronavirus patients, which his administration’s trade spokesman, Peter Navarro, said they were not.
While Berman was arguing that Navarro didn’t have medical credentials to make any assessments, Navarro replied that wasn’t the issue:
“The issue wasn’t about me offering my medical opinion. The question was whether we should take the 29 million doses in the FEMA storehouses and surge them into the zones, and it was unanimous in that task force meeting to do so. So, that’s the only question I posed.”
Unanimous. Fauci even agreed. And then Navarro hit Berman where he lives.
“You may find this interesting. In the city that you live in, in New York, in the New York health and hospitals system, virtually every patient now that comes in presenting COVID-19 symptoms is given a cycle of hydroxychloroquine, and when I discussed this last night with Mitch Katz, who is the head of that system, I asked him, are you doing that because the federal government is telling you or because you think it may work? And he said quite clearly that it may work.” [emphasis added]
But Navarro wasn’t done.
“So you presented a false case there. Basically what I have said and the only thing I have said is that the scientific studies that I have seen point to the possibility that it has both therapeutic efficacy as well as possible prophylactic efficacy. When you speak to doctors and nurses on the front lines ask how many of them are taking hydroxy as a prophylactic in the war zone.”
Berman preferred to talk about the supposed fight between Navarro and Fauci saying “I’m not interested in the politics of it, only interested in the science of it. Why should we listen to you and not Dr. Anthony Fauci?”
But the trade representative said both points of view could be right and asked a question himself, “John. I don’t know why you’re so hard about this? Would you take it if you got sick?”
He said he would if his doctor said so.
Which was exactly the point.
Sometimes these people just won’t take yes for an answer.