Neil Cavuto responds to Trump by citing hydroxychloroquine studies

Fox News host Neil Cavuto on Tuesday renewed his warnings about the use of hydroxychloroquine as a preventative treatment for the novel coronavirus after President Trump defended his use of the anti-malaria drug. 

Trump on Monday sparked alarm from Cavuto and health experts after declaring that he was using the drug prophylactically. The president stood by the decision a day later, saying that he believed it provided “an additional level of safety” and claiming that many font-line health care workers were in favor of it. 

Speaking on his daily news program following the president’s comments, Cavuto again stressed that people should use caution before considering the drug to treat or prevent COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

He noted that the drug had no “noteworthy problems” when used to treat lupus and malaria. But he pointed to multiple studies as well as to a warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to argue that hydroxychloroquine had no proven efficacy to treat or prevent the coronavirus. 

“The issue here is whether it is advisable to take to ward off COVID-19,” Cavuto said. “No less than the Food and Drug Administration had warned back on April 24 that ‘hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19.'”

The anchor went on to cite multiple studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine in recent months. One study published in March, which stemmed from an evaluation of 1,300 patients admitted to New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Irving Medical Center for COVID-19, found no statistical evidence that patients taking hydroxychloroquine fared better than ones who went without the drug. 

Cavuto also invoked a study based on a retrospective analysis of patients hospitalized in Veterans Health Administration medical centers with confirmed COVID-19 infections. That study found that the two primary outcomes for COVID-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine were death and the need for mechanical ventilation.

The Fox News host noted that the Veterans Health Administration study has been dismissed as “rigged.” But he emphasized that it showed that in patients with vulnerable health conditions, hydroxychloroquine “did no good and in some extreme cases killed them.”

“None of this is to say that hydroxychloroquine can’t be used for other uses, namely malaria and namely lupus, its two most prominent features,” Cavuto said. “As a preventive, though, when the FDA itself is saying it’s not advisable … that should suffice the argument right there.”

Trump has repeatedly touted hydroxychloroquine as a potential “game changer” in the fight to address the novel coronavirus. Health officials, meanwhile, have consistently warned that not enough is known about the drug to determine its efficacy.

The FDA said in April that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, another anti-malaria drug, should not be taken outside of a hospital or clinical trial. The agency said at the time that it released the guidance because of reports about COVID-19 patients experiencing serious cardiac events after taking the drugs. 

A White House physician released a note Monday night stating that he and Trump concluded “the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.”

Cavuto, who hasn’t shied from criticizing the president in the past, said Monday that Trump’s comments about taking the anti-malaria drug were “stunning.” 

“The fact of the matter is, though, when the president said, ‘What have you got to lose?’, in a number of studies, those certain vulnerable population has one thing to lose: their lives,” Cavuto said. 

The remarks prompted pushback from Trump, who late Monday night shared a tweet suggesting Cavuto was “anti-Trump.” He also added that he was a “looking for a new outlet.”

Tags Donald Trump

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