Trump quadruples down on Hydroxychloroquine…

… and broaches the “elephant in the room” re: ventilators

Just in case you missed yesterday’s Task Force press conference …

As usual, there was lots of repetition — from prior days and within the news conference.  Reporters asked the same questions. Trump gave approximately the same answers and the medical scientists gave the same dignified but elusive answers.

There were a couple of very noteworthy takeaways:

1. Trump kept cycling back to Hydroxychloroquine.

His basic line of reasoning: Now that we have “millions of doses” available, a lengthening list of positive “anecdotes” and small-scale studies, decades of safe usage …  and nothing else in our therapeutic quiver … “what have we got to lose”.

Fauci’s repeated answer: because there haven’t been large-scale, closely supervised, double-blind randomized, controlled tests … is, in my opinion, sounding increasingly out-of-touch with the realities of this war.

I was waiting for some reporter to ask Fauci: “Have their been randomized controlled tests on  the effect of locking down a country?” Of course, that didn’t happen.

Somewhat exasperated, Fauci resorted to “Doctors can prescribe it if they want.” … which is only partially true since Cuomo and a couple of other governors have limited HC  prescriptions to hospitalized patients.

Cutting to the chase: Oddly, Trump’s presidency is now largely dependent on the success of hydroxychloroquine.  If it works to substantially blunt the pandemic’s impact, he wins.  If it doesn’t, he loses.


2. Trump explicitly broached a very sensitive question regarding ventilators.


As usual, reporters kept teeing up Trump’s “inability” or “refusal” to provide Cuomo with the 40,000 ventilators NY “needs”.

“Mr. President, can you assure that every patient that requires a ventilator will have one?”

Trump initially answered with the usual answer: Cuomo’s needs are overstated, the Feds have been getting ventilators to NY as they’re needed, thousands of ventilators are being produced … and, by the way, Cuomo disregarded the 2015 recommendation of his public health department to buy and stockpile 15,000 ventilators in case there’s a pandemic.

Then, he broached an elephant in the ventilator room:

“I keep asking ‘what happens when they put somebody on a ventilator? How many die any way?’  You wouldn’t like the answer and I’m not going to say.”

About a week ago, we asked the same question: Do ventilated COVID patients recover or die?

Based on the info reported in that post … and subsequent anecdotal comments by docs on TV … I set the odds at roughly 50-50.

I thought that, for sure, one of the crack reporters would push Trump for the answer … or, better yet, ask Drs. Fauci or Birx.

Of course that didn’t happen.

The implication: Cuomo is giving people some false hope by implying that ventilators are the difference between success and failure in stemming the pandemic.  They are certainly critical at the individual level, but not so in the aggregate. The Feds and the States inadequately stockpiled ventilators … so they have become as much a political issue as a medical issue.


There were some other odds & ends at the press conference — e.g. questions about Trump firing the ICIG put the impeachment fiasco back in play.


Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

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2 Responses to “Trump quadruples down on Hydroxychloroquine…”

  1. Elaine Hammers Says:

    First, these Governors need to stop practicing medicine and telling the doctors what they can and can’t prescribe and treat with. Second, if Cuomo is in such dire need of ventilators why did he turn down Remington’s offer to build them in there very large upstate NY factory which is closed down since the are “non-essential”.

  2. Jack Pendray Says:

    Hey Ken: Take a (long) look at:

    This ICU doc is much more positive than 50/50 on ventilators. Hope he is right.

    Cheers, Jack

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