‘Nobody Likes Me:’ Trump Weighs Popularity of Fauci and Birx During Pandemic

Date: 2020-07-28 23:12:46

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The feud between conservatives and social media companies over alleged censorship escalated Tuesday after President Donald Trump and his son shared a fresh dose of misinformation about a disproven drug for treating the coronavirus in videos that were quickly taken down by Twitter and Facebook.

The president, in a marked shift from the more measured approach he’s taken toward the virus in recent days, also used his tweets to amplify criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

Tuesday’s feud focused mostly on hydroxychloroquine, a drug long approved to treat malaria that Trump has vigorously advocated as a treatment for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Many high-quality studies have found no evidence that hydroxychloroquine, when used with or without the antibiotic azithromycin, as touted many times by Trump, helps treat coronavirus infection or prevent serious disease from it. They include studies commissioned by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization and universities in the U.S. and around the world.

Fauci has become an off-and-on target of Trump and some of his White House aides and outside allies, who disagreed with the doctor’s early recommendation to shut down the economy as a way to slow the virus, which is surging again in parts of the country, mostly in the South and West.

Fauci said Tuesday that he’ll deal with the attacks by keeping his head down and doing his job. He also backed the conclusions of the FDA and others about hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19.

Because of the lack of benefit and the risks of serious side effects such as heart rhythm problems, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently revoked its brief authorization of emergency use of the drug for COVID-19. NIH treatment guidelines also specifically recommend against hydroxychloroquine’s use, except in formal studies.

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