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Trump's Doctor Releases Letter on Drug Decision

Benefits outweigh the risks, writes Sean Conley, but a host of experts disagree
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2020 3:20 AM CDT
Updated May 19, 2020 6:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – The fallout from President Trump's revelation that he's taking hydroxychloroquine to ward off the coronavirus continues. On Monday night, Trump unloaded on Fox News, and host Neil Cavuto in particular, after Cavuto slammed Trump's decision to take the drug and warned his viewers, "This will kill you." Fox News "is no longer the same," tweeted Trump. "We miss the great Roger Ailes. You have more anti-Trump people, by far, than ever before. Looking for a new outlet!" He also retweeted several tweets that called Cavuto "gullible," an "idiot," and worse, notes Politico. Also:

  • Trump's doctor: The president's physician, Sean Conley, released a short letter about the decision to prescribe the anti-malaria drug to Trump. "After numerous discussions he and I had regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks," he wrote. Conley added that he would "continue to monitor the myriad studies investigating potential COVID-19 therapies."
  • Fox's doctor: Manny Alvarez, senior managing editor for health news at Fox News, said on the air at Fox that Trump's move was "highly irresponsible." He added: "I would like to hear from the White House physician, to come out tomorrow and explain to me what has changed in a week and a half or two weeks for the president to take this medication when all the data that has been coming out, you know, very repetitively has shown that there's really not a major benefit in most hospitals."

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  • Common criticism: Trump's surprise announcement that he's been taking the drug for about 10 days comes less than a month after the FDA issued a safety warning about it because of risks including hearth rhythm abnormalities, notes the New York Times. A common sentiment: "My concern would be that the public not hear comments about the use of hydroxychloroquine and believe that taking this drug to prevent COVID-19 infection is without hazards," Dr. Steven E. Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic tells the Times. "In fact, there are serious hazards."
  • Pelosi jabs: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had a blunt criticism of Trump's decision. "I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese, they say," Pelosi said on CNN, per the Hill. The right-leaning site Twitchy faults Pelosi for "playing doctor" and says her comment about the president's weight would be deemed "shaming" if Trump were a Democrat.
(Read more hydroxychloroquine stories.)

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