President Donald Trump has long suggested that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine could be a silver bullet in the battle against coronavirus. “Take it. What do you have to lose?” the president said in a press conference on Saturday. Trump won't on to suggest that he might do so himself after asking “my doctors.”
But on Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci seemed to dismiss the drug, suggesting that it was untested. “In terms of science, I don’t think we can definitively say it works,” he told CBS’s Face the Nation. “The data are really just at best suggestive. There have been cases that show there may be an effect and there are others to show there’s no effect.”
And in a separate interview with Fox & Friends, Fauci added: “We’ve got to be careful that we don’t make that majestic leap to assume that this is a knockout drug. We still need to do the kinds of studies that definitely prove whether any intervention is truly safe and effective."
“We don’t operate on how you feel, we operate on what evidence and data is,” Fauci added. He responded to a recent poll suggesting that 37% of physicians “felt” that the drug was the most effective treatment for COVID-19 as "not a very robust study" or "overwhelmingly strong."
“But when you don’t have that information, it’s understandable why people will want to take at any slightest hint that it’s effective, and I have no problem with that," he added.
The criticism has led many people to call for Dr. Fauci to be fired. "A broken clock is right twice, but Dr. Faucky is wrong every single time," Daniel Horowitz of Conservative Review wrote along with the hashtag "fire Fauci."
Another user added: "When you look at all of Fauci’s statements and actions, how many times he’s been incorrect, and the damage he’s done to this nation, there’s only one solution. [Donald Trump], #FireFauci."
While another user wrote: "Dr. Fauci is a Big Pharma vaccine promoter, and is drunk with new found power. [Donald Trump] please #FireFauci."
Dr. Fauci has also been criticized for a leaked email from 2012 in which he appeared to show support for Hillary Clinton.
Others used the trend to support Dr. Fauci, with one writing: "I watched the very first COVID-19 press conference and it was a total shit show with a whole lot of beating around the bush by EVERYONE. Then, this little old guy jumped on the mic real quick to say: this shits serious!! It was refreshing. Please don’t #FireFauci."
I watched the very first COVID-19 press conference and it was a total shit show with a whole lot of beating around the bush by EVERYONE. Then, this little old guy jumped on the mic real quick to say: this shits serious!! It was refreshing. Please don’t #FireFauci— Andrew brrrrconneeect Sosa 🌎 (@dre_sos) April 5, 2020
While another added: "#FireFauci? F**K Y'ALL. He's the ONLY PERSON telling the truth about what is happening/will happen here."
While one user wrote: "The hashtag #FireFauci is trending right now. And I am certain it will be the most idiotic movement of the decade. He is doing everything in his power, including putting up with the worst person on the planet, to save millions of American lives."
According to a report by the Washington Post, Dr. Fauci has had his security detail expanded after threats to his safety. An article suggesting that Dr. Fauci has an agent of the "deep state" gained 25,000 interactions on Facebook.
The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.