On Aug. 22 on Twitter, Trump accused a “deep state” inside the FDA of delaying approval for vaccines and therapeutics. “Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives! @SteveFDA.” The next day FDA commissioner Steve Hahn stood by Trump at a briefing where they announced that Hahn had authorized emergency use of convalescent plasma.
The announcement cleaved a narrow path — that leaves decisions to doctors and awaits more data before final approval, if it comes. But Hahn also had to take back some of his remarks. Monday he tweeted that he had been criticized justifiably for his remarks: “What I should have said better is that the data show a relative risk reduction not an absolute risk reduction.”
Two problems here. One, Trump’s politicizing the coronavirus policy gives people reason not to trust treatments and a vaccine, if and when one is approved. That means fewer people vaccinated and more people infected and contagious.
Two, the medical professionals on the President’s Coronavirus Task Force value their reputations. There are a lot of critics out there ready to demean anyone who works with Trump — as if they’d be better people if they walked away and left it to amateurs to work out medical issues.