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Twitter Users Savage Trump Over Coronavirus Antibiotics Rant — But CNN’s Daniel Dale Defends Him

President Donald Trump was mocked on Twitter over his extended riff on antibiotics at a coronavirus briefing, but CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale was among those who offered a defense of Trump’s remarks.

At Friday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing, Trump went off on a lengthy tangent during which he appeared to say that the Covid-19 disease, a viral infection, is outsmarting antibiotics:

This is a very brilliant enemy. You know, it’s a brilliant enemy. They develop drugs like the antibiotics. You see it. Antibiotics used to solve every problem. Now one of the biggest problems the world has is the germ has gotten so brilliant that the antibiotic can’t keep up with it. And they’re constantly trying to come up with a new — people go to a hospital and they catch — they go for a heart operation — that’s no problem, but they end up dying from — from problems. You know the problems I’m talking about. There’s a whole genius to it.

We’re fighting — not only is it hidden, but it’s very smart. Okay? It’s invisible and it’s hidden, but it’s — it’s very smart. And you see that in a case like a Denver.

But, you know, I think we’re doing well, and they’re on Denver like you wouldn’t believe. I came in this morning; it was a flurry. I said what’s going on? They said, “Denver.” I said, “What happened to Denver?” Because Denver was doing pretty well. And they’ve got that under control. But, yeah, that would be a case where you do some very big testing.

Media figures and other verified Twitter users savaged Trump for his apparent ignorance of a basic medical fact:

Trump had his defenders, including CNN’s Dale, who offered a note of caution to those piling on.

“I’d be cautious in asserting that Trump was suggesting that antibiotics used to be effective against viruses. I took it as more, like, ‘oh here’s another thing I think about something.’ He’s just talking,” Dale wrote.

Others outright accused the media of deceiving people into thinking Trump said something that he didn’t.

Dale’s defense relies on the notion that Trump’s reference to “the germ” was to the microbial community writ large, but his context — later describing the spike of coronavirus infections in Denver — contradicts that kind interpretation.

But others pointed out that even though antibiotics supposedly don’t work on viruses, doctors are still using them to treat Covid-19 patients. What gives? Here’s what gives:

Why are antibacterial agents being used in patients infected with the new coronavirus?

The World Health Organization (WHO) is very clear that antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria, and yet health care providers are using antibiotics in some patients with COVID-19. This is because:

Patients with viral pneumonia can develop a secondary bacterial infection that may need to be treated with an antibiotic, although, this complication is reported to be uncommon early on in the course of COVID-19 pneumonia.

Watch the clip above via C-Span.

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