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Biden, bleach and fretting over hydroxychloroquine

President Donald Trump’s propensity for triggering people knows no bounds. The latest example: his recent admission that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine prophylactically to fend off COVID-19.

And on Tuesday that news gave Joe Biden the opportunity to bash the president and to ridiculously compare the medication to ingesting bleach as an antidote to coronavirus.  

Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug that was first approved for use in America in 1955, emerged front and center in the public’s attention weeks ago when administration officials, medical researchers and public health authorities frantically sought to promote anything as a treatment for coronavirus. While the national media and some experts dismissed hydroxychloroquine, anecdotal evidence from other physicians in the U.S., France, South Korea and China suggested that it could be effective in reversing COVID-19’s effects, especially when administered early and in conjunction with Azithromycin and zinc. Trump at the time touted it as a potential “game-changer.”

Yet the excitement waned as the media began highlighting those who said it would not work and spotlighting its potentially adverse side effects, including possible heart failure. The administration largely quit talking about hydroxychloroquine.

That changed Monday when Trump acknowledged that he had been taking the drug for more than a week, in consultation with the White House medical staff, after some White House officials tested positive for COVID-19.  

The response has been predictable. The mainstream media and prominent Democrats have universally condemned Trump for taking the drug. Some critics even suggested Trump is lying about doing so. 

But Biden offered his own unique twist.

In an interview with Yahoo News, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee declared, “It’s like saying maybe if you injected Clorox into your blood it may cure you. C’mon man, what is he doing? What in God’s name is he doing?”

Biden noted Vice President Mike Pence has said he will pass on using hydroxychloroquine. He continued, “This is absolutely irresponsible. There is no serious medical personnel out there saying to use that drug. It’s counterproductive. It’s not going to help. But the president, he decided that’s an answer. So what do you think people are going to be doing? You think they’re not going to use it? And look at the studies that have been done. It does much more harm than good. This is totally irresponsible.”

A couple of points about Biden’s disingenious take. 

First, last month, while riffing on possible coronavirus treatments during a press briefing, at which the Department of Homeland Security’s chief science official discussed utilizing disinfectants and ultraviolet light on coronavirus on surfaces, Trump said, “I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute — one minute — and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning. Because you see, it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs … so it’d be interesting to check that. You’re gonna have to use medical doctors, right? But it sounds interesting to me.”

Trump didn’t tell anyone to inject themselves with bleach or any other disinfectant. Biden’s comments might be better directed at Cristina Cuomo, the wife of quarantine scofflaw Chris Cuomo of CNN, who recommended taking regular baths with bleach as an additive to safeguard against COVID-19. 

But Trump’s critics promote other disinformation, such as suggesting hydroxychloroquine is available on demand, and they downplay, if not outright avoid, people who think hydroxychloroquine could work. For example, the mainstream media have willfully ignored people like Democratic state Rep. Karen Whitsett of Detroit who credits hydroxychloroquine and Trump’s advocacy of it for saving her life after she contracted COVID-19. They also fail to admit that while some doctors are rejecting hydroxychloroquine, others say they want more evidence it will work and await results of ongoing studies. Additionally, as they always want to claim with abortion, the critics gloss over the notion that Trump’s decision is personal, between him and his physician. 

Such facts, however, won’t stop Biden, other Democrats, or the media from kicking up the spin machine a notch.

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