Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens as President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
At this point, the word “chloroquine” should bring a feeling of hope. The anti-malarial drug has shown it’s effective at fighting the virus and helping people recover from it. The federal government even began circulating the drug to various states as a way to help the American people. Yet the media still is trying to cast shade on it.
Earlier Friday, The Hill released a tweet saying that Fauci was warning us there was no “strong” evidence that the anti-malarial drug even works on the coronavirus.
— The Hill (@thehill) April 3, 2020
The Hill pulls a moment from Friday morning’s Fox and Friends where Fauci was giving an interview. It was there that he warned us away from assuming this was a cure-all drug for the virus:
“We’ve got to be careful that we don’t make that majestic leap to assume that this is a knockout drug. We still need to do the kinds of studies that definitely prove whether any intervention is truly safe and effective,” Fauci, who is also a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said during an interview on “Fox & Friends.”
Fauci’s comments came in response to a question about a recent poll of more than 6,700 doctors in 30 countries, with 37 percent of physicians saying they “felt” that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine was the most effective for treating COVID-19 as cases.
“We don’t operate on how you feel, we operate on what evidence and data is,” Fauci said, adding that it was “not a very robust study” or “overwhelmingly strong.”
For all intents and purposes, Fauci isn’t wrong. His word on not operating on how you “feel” is wise for someone in his field. Understanding that Fauci is a scientist first, his loyalty is to the data and since we’re still in the infant stages of hydroxychloroquine being used as a way to combat the coronavirus, we still don’t have what he describes as “strong” data.
But we still have data and it’s all pointing in the same direction.
Fauci confirms that data suggests it could be beneficial but that more rigorous studies are necessary, which is purely common sense. Many have reacted positively to the drug and those with middling cases of the virus have come back to health. However, we don’t know how effective the drug is at curing those with serious cases, or what age groups are most effective at.
Again, we’re still in the very early stages of using the drug as a method.
My problem with The Hill’s headline about Fauci’s words is that it’s one that casts doubt. They wrote, “Fauci warns there’s no ‘strong’ evidence anti-malaria drug works on coronavirus.” While technically true, it’s taking one aspect of the story that casts a massive amount of doubt on the drug.
Compare that to Fox News’s headline which reads”Dr. Fauci recommends people wear cloth masks in public, urges caution on coronavirus treatments.”
The Hill is casting doubt, Fox News is encouraging you to manage your expectations.
Here we see politics at work. The Hill is demonstrably against the Trump administration and Fox News is not. Since President Donald Trump has touted the drug as a hopeful medicine to help us in our fight against coronavirus, it immediately put the drug in the “bad” column for many media outlets. It would love nothing more than the drug to be a dud and, in the absence of data that it is, will cast doubt on it when the opportunity presents itself so that Trump looks like a snake oil salesman who can’t be trusted.
Fox News doesn’t have a dog in that fight and, as such, reports Fauci’s comments in the intended theme.
For reference, here’s the entire interview with Fauci.