The President was giving a briefing on the coronavirus situation after he announced he was ordering a million units of the chloroquine drug, which he said he had a “feeling” would be effective. The question came from NBC News reporter Peter Alexander, who recently lost a colleague, audio technician Larry Edgeworth, to the virus. Mr Alexander asked: “I guess 200 who are dead, 14,000 who are sick, millions who are scared right now.
“What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?”
Trump looked down and shook his head whilst this question was asked.
The President responded: “I would say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I’d say.
“I think it’s a very nasty question. And I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people. The American people are looking for answers and they’re looking for hope. And you’re doing sensationalism and the same with NBC, and Concast, I don’t call it Comcast (the parent company of NBS News) for whom you work. You need to get back to good reporting.
“Let’s see if it works.”
On chloroquine, Trump said: “We ordered them. We have millions of units ordered.”
Anthony Fauci, who has been Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease since 1984, however, told the same briefing there was no evidence the anti-malarial drug worked and its safety risks are unknown.
Trump predicted: “People may be surprised
“That would be a game-changer.
“I feel good about it. It’s all it is. Just a feeling you know? Smart guy. I feel good about it, and we’re going to see.”
Trump was unclear on whether or not the drug would be used on the general population or in a clinical trial setting: “We’ll use it on people that are not doing great, what the hell do you have to lose?”
Mr Fauci added: “The president feels optimistic about something, his feeling about it. What I am saying is that it might be effective. I’m not saying that it isn’t. It might be effective.
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“But as a scientist and as we are getting it out there, we need to do it in a way as while we are making it available for people who might want the hope that it might work, you are also collecting data that will ultimately show that it is truly effective and safe under the conditions of COVID-19. So there really isn’t difference, it’s just a question of how one feels about it.”
The FDA on Thursday clarified the drug was only cleared for treatment on malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Commissioner Dr Stephen M Hahn said: “We understand and recognize the urgency with which we are all seeking prevention and treatment options for COVID-19. FDA staff are working expeditiously on that front.
“We also must ensure these products are effective; otherwise we risk treating patients with a product that might not work when they could have pursued other, more appropriate, treatments.”
The news came after it was revealed there has been discussion in using the military to tackle any civil unrest caused by coronavirus.
California Governor Gavin Newson said: “If you want to establish a framework of martial law, which is ultimate authority and enforcement, we have the capacity to do that.”
Cases in New York State have jumped to nearly 8,000.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has ordered non-essential businesses to keep workers at home.
At an Albany briefing, he explained: “These provisions will be enforced.”
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