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President Donald Trump dropped a bomb of sorts Monday at the White House when he told reporters that he has been taking the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine for about a week and a half to ward off COVID-19.
The announcement set the media world afire, with breathless reporting on the dangers of taking the drug.
Fox Business Network host Neil Cavuto was among those expressing shock over the president’s announcement. Doing his best Shepard Smith impression, he warned his viewers that the drug could kill people taking it.
“That was stunning,” Cavuto said of the announcement. “The president insisted that it has enormous benefits for patients either trying to prevent or already have COVID-19. The fact of the matter is, though, when the president said what have you got to lose — in a number of studies, though certainly vulnerable, the population, have one thing to lose. Their lives.”
He cited several studies to support the belief that there are no benefits to taking the drug when it comes to the Wuhan virus, stressing over and over hydroxychloroquine “will kill you.”
“Those who took it, in a vulnerable population, including those with respiratory or other conditions, they died,” Cavuto said. “I want to stress again — they died. If you are in a risky population here and you are taking this as a preventative treatment to ward off the virus or, in a worst-case scenario, you are dealing with the virus, and you are in this vulnerable population, it will kill you.”
“I cannot stress that enough. This will kill you,” he continued. “So again, whatever benefit the president says this has — and certainly has had for those suffering from malaria, dealing with lupus — this is a leap that should not be taken casually by those watching at home or assuming, ‘Well, the President of the United States says it’s okay.’”
Cavuto then endeavored to say his intention “was not to make a political point here, but a life-and-death point.”
Hydroxychloroquine is not an over-the-counter drug and can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription. Cavuto doesn’t mention this, and only “assumes” that Trump is taking the drug under the supervision of his doctor.
All of which leaves the notion that the president is recklessly self-medicating hanging like a big matzo ball.
As seen below, Dr. Janette Nesheiwat appeared on “Your World” to tell Cavuto that she thinks President Trump taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure is “very smart to do.”
Dr. Janette Nesheiwat tells Neil Cavuto that she thinks that President Trump taking Hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure is "very smart to do". pic.twitter.com/WJ46D06Ix2
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) May 19, 2020
Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel also defended President Trump’s use of the drug.
“A top rheumatologist told me that in the lab, it shows anti-viral activity against COVID-19, and it prevents uptake in the cells and it also decreases the inflammation that we’re seeing with this virus,” Dr. Siegel said Monday night in an appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“Does it work in humans?” he then asked. “We’ve seen some studies from Italy, from France and from China that show it might work early in the course of it [coronavirus].”
Noting that hydroxychloroquine saved his father’s life, the doctor said the president’s physician should “not be challenged.”
“When Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s physician, who I have met with and think is quite reasonable, weighs the options back and forth, he decides to prescribe it for the president,” Siegel said. “It is a doctor-patient decision. It should not be challenged. It is a medical decision made between a doctor and a patient. You can prescribe off-label. So I don’t think it’s wild or anything like that. I think it’s reasonable.”
He also said, “The political fighting over the virus interferes with the actual medicine we are seeing here. And I’m deeply disturbed by that.”
As for Shep Smith, social media is beginning to wonder if Cavuto is trying to fill the vacancy created when the Trump-hating former Fox News host left the network.
Here’s a quick scan of responses from Twitter:
Cavuto is trying to become the new Shep Smith! https://t.co/nLfNzifesi
— Bryan Cooper (@xtcoop) May 19, 2020
@neilcavuto absolutely unbelievable to hear you tell America “Do not take hydroxychloroquine. It could kill you.”
Who do you think you are to stir fear into the American people?!?
What is your medical background?
Everyone in the medical profession has an OPINION.
— Martha Roush (@mammajo0128) May 18, 2020
Neil Cavuto of Fox News needs to go work for CNN. He's only interested in spreading the same misinformation and myths as the Fake News. What a horse's behind!
— Lora D Mills (@LoraDMills1) May 18, 2020
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