President Trump calls last-minute coronavirus news briefing

President Trump calls last-minute coronavirus news briefing
Posted at 5:35 PM, Apr 05, 2020

After not originally having a news conference on his schedule, President Donald Trump decided to hold a news conference Sunday evening alongside members of the White House coronavirus task force.

Despite a "lid" being issued to the White House correspondents, the lid was lifted after Trump met with the coronavirus task force.

"May or may not do a News Conference after the meeting, depending on new information. Talks & meetings today are proving promising, but a rough two weeks are coming up!" Trump tweeted before the task force meeting.

Sunday's news conference gave an update on the supply chain, as Trump said that FEMA has sent 300 million gloves, 8 million masks, 3 million gloves to localities to fight COVID-19.

Trump also spent much of Sunday's news conference expressing his hope that hydroxychloroquine, a treatment that is commonly used to treat malaria and lupus, will provide treatment for COVID-19 patients. The drug is one of many that are being studied for effectiveness.

Last week, the FDA gave an "emergency use authorization." An EUA allows doctors to use treatments by weighing potential benefits over potential risks.

"It can help them, but it's not going to hurt them. That's the beauty of it... What do you have to lose?" Trump asked.

But the FDA said that there are a handful of side effects with hydroxychloroquine.

"The most common side effects reported are stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and headache," the FDA said.

Despite Trump saying that the drug is approved, the FDA said its not an approved treatment for COVID-19.

"Hydroxychloroquine sulfate has not been approved for the treatment of COVID-19. It has been used experimentally to treat certain people with COVID-19, including hospitalized patients," the FDA said. "Hydroxychloroquine sulfate is being used to try and stop the COVID-19 virus from spreading inside your body. This may help you to get better.

"Hydroxychloroquine sulfate is experimental because we do not know if it works for COVID-19. It is not approved by FDA for the treatment of COVID-19, but emergency use has been authorized for adults and adolescents who weigh 50 kg (110 pounds) or more and are hospitalized with COVID-19 if a clinical trial is not available or you are not able to participate in a clinical trial. There is limited information known about the safety and effectiveness (whether this will make you better) of using hydroxychloroquine sulfate for hospitalized patients with COVID-19."

As of Sunday evening, there have been 9,691 COVID-19 related deaths in the United States. Nearly 40% of all US deaths have been in New York state.

On Saturday, Trump painted a grim picture of COVID-19's impact on America in the coming weeks.

"Now, over the next week and two weeks — this is going to be a very, very deadly period, unfortunately — but we’re going to make it so that we lose as few lives as possible," Trump said. And I think we’re going to be successful. I think we already are successful in that regard."

Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs or on Facebook .