Stealing masks and stockpiling hydroxychloroquine — what America has become during this epidemic is deeply worrying

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Last night, in the most recent of several long and strange press conferences, President Trump announced that the United States had amassed 29 million pills of hydroxychloroquine, a yet-unproven treatment that may assist in improving outcomes with Covid-19. Shortly after Trump spoke, Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was prevented from answering any questions pursuant to the drug and its uses.

The reason that Fauci was not permitted to speak at that presser was because there is still much debate about whether or not this drug can even be used to treat Covid-19 — and a whole other host of ethical considerations about removing from circulation a drug that is already useful in treating lupus, since now those patients will no longer have access to it. Unlike what Trump claimed, the FDA has not actually approved hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment. Fauci has already made clear his reluctance to kowtow to the president, as many other administration sycophants have done in the past, and was likely to have mentioned that if he’d been allowed to speak. But Trump hates a dissident, so Fauci was forced into silence.

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The stockpiling of hydroxychloroquine presents a darker truth about the American methodology in the era of Covid-19, however. We shouldn’t just be concerned about the way President Trump is personally conducting himself. Seen as part of a whole, what Americans have committed — and are continuing to commit — is, essentially, modern piracy.

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