Fauci dispels reports of clash with Trump over use of malaria drug to treat COVID-19

In recent days, President Donald Trump has expressed optimism that a particular drug combination could be effective in treating the new coronavirus — even as one of the chief scientists on his Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was a bit more cautious in regard to the promise offered by the medications.

The media establishment has attacked Trump over his remarks, saying he is bringing “false hope” to the American people and has focused on cautionary comments made by the doctor to bolster its criticism, but Fauci says their outlook on the drugs isn’t all that different, The Washington Times reports.

Trump expresses optimism

At issue are growing reports that a number of small studies have indicated that hydroxychloroquine, a decades-old and common anti-malaria drug, may effectively treat those infected with COVID-19 when combined with a common antibiotic known as azithromycin.

President Trump has publicly expressed his great hope that this drug combo would work to halt the frightening spread of the viral contagion and urged the relevant federal agencies to speed up the process of approving the use of those drugs to treat patients, Breitbart reported.

Fauci, meanwhile, a consummate professional and career bureaucrat who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), was a bit more cautious in declaring the drug combo a potential savior and suggested that more studies and testing needed to be done in order to be absolutely certain.

Fauci dispels talk of rift

In an appearance on Sunday morning on CBSFace the Nation with host Margaret Brennan, Fauci was asked about the apparent disparity between his views and those of the president with regard to the drug combination, but the doctor shut that notion down and explained there really wasn’t much of a difference at all.

“There’s an issue here of where we’re coming from. The president has heard, as we all have heard, what are what I call ‘anecdotal’ reports that certain drugs work,” Fauci replied. “So what he was trying to do and express was the hope that if they might work, let’s try and push their usage.

“I, on the other side, have said I’m not disagreeing with the fact anecdotally they might work, but my job is to prove definitively from a scientific standpoint that they do work,” he continued. “So I was taking a purely medical, scientific standpoint and the president was trying to bring hope to the people.

“I think there’s this issue of trying to separate the two of us. There isn’t fundamentally a difference there. He’s coming from it from a hope layperson standpoint,” Fauci added. “I’m coming from it from a scientific standpoint.”

Cuomo on board

Interestingly, as The Washington Times noted, as much grief as President Trump received from the media for hyping the potential of the drug pairing, the media largely changed its tune once Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also announced his high hopes for the medications and called for the combination to be used as a treatment for COVID-19 patients in his state.

The media, always intent on attacking the president and driving wedges — real or imagined — between him and his top advisers, couldn’t resist the opportunity to seize on what it viewed as a difference of outlook between Trump and Fauci.

Thankfully, however, the good doctor isn’t playing their game and has now set the media straight on a topic of critical importance to the nation.

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