Trump and His Cultists’ COVID Downplaying and Denialism Wins ‘Lie of the 12 months’ Award

The commissioner responsible for food and pharmaceuticals administration, Dr. Stephen Hahn apologized Tuesday morning for grossly overestimating the benefits of convalescent plasma in treating COVID-19 patients. His announcement comes less than 48 hours after he appeared with President Donald Trump and “repeated” his false claim that it cures 35 percent of those infected with the coronavirus.

“Hahn repeated Trump when he said that 35 out of 100 people would survive the coronavirus if they were treated with the plasma,” reports the Associated Press. “This claim greatly exaggerated the preliminary results of the Mayo Clinic observation.”

Hahn called the criticism he received “fully justified” and posted this tweet on Monday night when the Republican National Convention was taking place:

I have been criticized for comments I made on Sunday evening about the benefits of convalescent plasma. The criticism is entirely justified. What I should have said better is that the data shows relative risk reduction rather than absolute risk reduction.

– Dr. Stephen M. Hahn (@SteveFDA) August 25, 2020

After a week of internal assaults by senior members of the Trump administration, the FDA agreed to grant emergency clearance to use convalescent plasma, although guidelines were reversed just days earlier after studies showed poor or inconclusive results.

For example, Peter Navarro, White House director of trade and manufacturing policy, “confronted FDA officials aggressively,” reported Axios. (That is the term Navarro uses to describe the speed Trump demands.) “

Early Saturday morning, President Trump used the same line of scrimmage to pursue Commissioner Hahn directly and very publicly:

The deep state or whoever is at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people to test the vaccines and therapeutics. Apparently they hope to postpone the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed and save lives! @SteveFDA

– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2020

Before the day was over, the White House teased that President Donald Trump would make an announcement on Sunday night of “a major therapeutic breakthrough in the China virus” – and that Hahn would be there to support it.

Press conference with President @realDonaldTrump tomorrow at 6 p.m. on an important therapeutic breakthrough in the China virus. Secretary Azar and Dr. Hahn will be present.

– Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) August 23, 2020

On Tuesday morning Hahn went on “CBS This Morning” to apologize and explain.

“Personally, I could have done a better job and should have done a better job at this press conference explaining what the data shows in relation to convalescent plasma. I can assure the people of America that this decision was made based on sound scientific evidence and data. “- @SteveFDA

– CBS this morning (@CBSThisMorning) August 25, 2020

Dr. Peter Lurie, a former FDA official under the Obama administration who now heads the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the AP that Dr. Hahn’s characterization of the benefits of convalescent plasma in COVID-19 patients is “extraordinary” and “spiritual” is -boggling. “

Image: Official White House photo of Tia Dufour via Flickr

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