Politicizing the Pandemic

This past Sunday evening, President Donald Trump held a news conference to announce that the use of blood plasma in treating patients who have contracted Covid-19 has been shown to reduce the death rate from Covid-19 by 35% — a rather dramatic reduction — and therefore the FDA was allowing for the emergency use of plasma throughout the country.

The FDA Commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, also spoke at the news conference and appeared to support Trump’s statement.

The problem however, is that what both Trump and Dr. Hahn said was not accurate.

The following day, the New York Times published a story in which experts pointed out that the potential benefits of blood plasma treatment had not been proven by randomized clinical trials and certainly not to the extent claimed by Trump and Dr. Hahn.

When Dr. Hahn was contacted by the Times, he issued this statement via Twitter:

“I have been criticized for remarks I made Sunday night about the benefits of convalescent plasma. The criticism is entirely justified.  What I should have said better is that the data show a relative risk reduction not an absolute risk reduction.”

In short, Dr. Hahn admitted that the claims made by Trump and himself on Sunday evening were wildly exaggerated.

We would remind our readers that the FDA previously had given emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine as a Covid-19 treatment after it had been touted by Trump — only to withdraw that authorization when it was shown that hydroxychloroquine was both ineffective and dangerous.

It is clear that once again the work of the professional scientists and experts is being interfered with by the White House for political purposes.

With the pandemic still causing carnage across our nation (we continue to lead the world in Covid-19 cases and deaths), it is more essential than ever that we need facts based on science — not on considerations of political grandstanding.

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