“We Need to Move On” from Hydroxychloroquine, Says Trump’s Testing Czar

Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of Health and Human Services.Alex Brandon/AP

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The country’s coronavirus testing czar on Sunday tried to put the endless debate over hydroxychloroquine, the president’s preferred coronavirus treatment, to bed. “We need to move on from that and talk about what is effective,” said Brett Giroir, assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, on NBC’s Meet the Press—contradicting his boss, who is still touting the drug.

For months, President Trump has hyped the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. At one point, Trump even claimed he was taking the drug himself. This past week, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a viral video showing doctors saying masks are not necessary and that hydroxychloroquine was a proven antidote. Twitter and Facebook took the video down for spreading misinformation, and Twitter suspended Trump Jr.’s ability to tweet for 12 hours. Trump, who also tweeted the video, defended his support of hydroxychloroquine after the video was removed, and said the doctors in the viral video were “very respected.” One of the featured doctors, Stella Immanuel, holds numerous unproven beliefs, including about sex with demons.

Despite Trump’s protestations, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Wednesday that hydroxychloroquine is not effective. “We know that every single good study—and by good study I mean randomized control study in which the data are firm and believable—has shown that hydroxychloroquine is not effective in the treatment of Covid-19,” he said.

On Sunday, Giroir piled on. “There may be circumstances, I don’t know what they are, where a physician may prescribe it for an individual, but I think most physicians and prescribers are evidence-based and they’re not influenced by whatever is on Twitter or anything else,” he said. “And the evidence just doesn’t show that hydroxychloroquine is effective right now.”

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