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Alex Jones makes false claims on Trump’s COVID-19 meds

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US President Donald Trump on Saturday said he was “feeling great” as he made his first public appearance since returning to the White House after being treated for the coronavirus. (Oct. 10)

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The claim: Walter Reed hospital was trying to kill Trump for ‘deep state’

President Donald Trump is back at the White House after receiving treatment for COVID-19 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. But a viral video by right-wing media  outlet InfoWars claims the doctors there weren’t really trying to help the president. 

“President Trump is being given very dangerous experimental drugs that no one has ever been given together,” InfoWars’ Alex Jones said. “President Trump is in grave danger. Evidence is mounting he’s being deliberately killed at Walter Reed Military Hospital.”

Jones insinuates that in addition to Trump’s treatment being “dangerous” that it may be a part of a bigger scheme by the “Deep State,” a term – coined by conspiracy theorists –  for an alleged secret network of influential members of government agencies and the military running the country behind the scenes.

The video was shared on Facebook on Oct. 3 by the group Trump Supporters NZ, where commenters expressed outrage over the allegations. 

“I was just telling a friend that I couldn’t believe they would use an experimental drug on the POTUS,” one commenter wrote. “I pray he’s ok.”

In a video published Oct. 5, Jones strengthened his accusation, alleging Walter Reed “tried to kill Trump and failed.”

Neither InfoWars nor Trump Supporters NZ responded to USA TODAY’s requests for comment.

Fact check: Fake Trump quote about battling coronavirus, his body

Drugs mentioned in video aren’t ‘very dangerous’; experts say mix is fine

Since announcement of his diagnosis on Oct. 2, Trump received an extensive medical regimen that included Regeneron’s experimental antibody drug and Gilead’s remdesivir. 

Remdesivir first emerged in October 2015, when it was found to be effective during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The drug, a result of collaboration between Gilead, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, works by interfering with a virus’s ability to copy its genetic material. It was considered a potential COVID-19 treatment early in the coronavirus pandemic and underwent clinical trials in February in Wuhan, China.  

A vial of the investigational drug remdesivir is visually inspected at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States. On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, the company says its experimental antiviral drug has proved effective against the new coronavirus in a major U.S. government study that put it to a strict test. (Photo: Gilead Sciences via AP)

In April, the National Institutes of Health released preliminary data that showed remdesivir cut recovery time for severely ill patients from 15 to 11 days. While it did not significantly improve the death rate, this result gave medical experts reason to believe the antiviral could prove helpful for patients with early to mild disease.  

Subsequent preliminary data from Gilead published in

Facebook removes Trump’s post with false claims comparing the flu to COVID-19

Facebook on Tuesday removed a post from President Donald Trump that appeared to downplay the severity of COVID-19 by comparing it to the seasonal flu.



a man wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump walks to Marine One prior to departure from the South Lawn of the White House, Oct. 2, 2020, as he heads to Walter Reed Military Medical Center, after testing positive for COVID-19.


© Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
President Donald Trump walks to Marine One prior to departure from the South Lawn of the White House, Oct. 2, 2020, as he heads to Walter Reed Military Medical Center, after testing positive for COVID-19.

The same post remains on Twitter, though it has been hit with a label on the platform identifying it as “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”

“Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” Trump wrote in the twin posts. “Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”

A Facebook spokesperson told ABC News: “We remove incorrect information about the severity of COVID-19, and have now removed this post.”

MORE: Twitter accused of double standard with Trump death wish posts

Trump’s tweet comes just one day after he returned to the White House from the Walter Reed Medical Center where he was treated for COVID-19.



a man wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: President Donald Trump walks to Marine One prior to departure from the South Lawn of the White House, Oct. 2, 2020, as he heads to Walter Reed Military Medical Center, after testing positive for COVID-19.


© Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
President Donald Trump walks to Marine One prior to departure from the South Lawn of the White House, Oct. 2, 2020, as he heads to Walter Reed Military Medical Center, after testing positive for COVID-19.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the flu typically accounts for 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. annually since 2010. That number has never risen above 100,000 in any year during that time period. More than 210,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 since March.

Shortly after his Facebook post was removed Tuesday, the president posted again, writing in all-caps: “REPEAL SECTION 230!!!”

His follow-up post refers to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which essentially shields online platforms from liability for content posted on their sites. Trump has previously said Section 230 provides social media behemoths “blanket immunity when they use their power to censor content and silence viewpoints that they dislike.”

This is not the first time Trump has equated the novel coronavirus to the common flu. In a March 9 tweet, the president wrote, “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”

Medical experts have long cautioned equating the seasonal flu to COVID-19, and warned the latter is a much more severe illness.

For one, COVID-19 is a novel virus, meaning much remains unknown about its path, spread and danger. Moreover, COVID-19 remains extremely dangerous because so many people show minimal or no symptoms at onset, which can potentially accelerate person-to-person transmission. The flu also

False claim that Trump’s COVID-19 test result is a ‘con’

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President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19. Here’s a look at where he traveled the week before his diagnosis.

USA TODAY

The claim: President Donald Trump’s positive COVID-19 test result might be a ‘con’ job

The virus that causes the disease responsible for the deaths of over 200,000 Americans has infected the head of state.

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Friday morning to confirm a positive COVID-19 test result. 

“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” the president wrote.

Reactions to the news on social media ranged from well-wishes to skepticism.

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On Oct. 2, author and former attorney Richard Greene posted his speculations on Facebook, suggesting Trump’s positive test result could be a “con.” Greene also authored a 2016 Huffington Post story, “Is Donald Trump Mentally Ill? 3 Professors Of Psychiatry Ask President Obama To Conduct ‘A Full Medical And Neuropsychiatric Evaluation.’” His post soon went viral.

There are three reasons, according to Greene, not to trust the White House’s announcement that Trump tested positive:

  1. Trump was on his way to losing his reelection bid after his performance during the first presidential debate on Sept. 29. Testing positive for COVID-19 redirected attention away from the topic of white supremacists.
  2. By “sailing through” a fake illness, Trump could prove his mettle to supporters and emulate Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
  3. Greene doesn’t trust “anything that comes out of (Trump’s) mouth, or his ‘Twitter thumbs.'” 

Greene did not mention first lady Melania Trump’s positive test result in his post.

“My FB post on it was instantaneous and has received more, and quicker, response … and more positive response … than anything I believe I have ever posted,” Greene told USA TODAY in an email.

Greene attributed his skepticism to “severe cynicism” after untruths told by Trump during his presidency, as well as a “Coronavirus October Surprise.”

Trump has made over 20,000 false or misleading claims during his term, according to a July report by The Washington Post’s Fact Checker. 

“The term ‘October Surprise’ was coined by a 1980s political operative but has ever since been appropriated by the media to describe unexpected political disasters in the twilight hours of the campaign,” the Smithsonian Magazine explained, adding “they’ve become a staple of modern politics.”

In Greene’s view, an “October surprise” is one of “12 Ways Donald Trump Can Win,” a list compiled by Greene in an Aug. 23 Medium blog post. Greene theorized Trump would convince the Food and Drug Administration to approve a vaccine that “cures” COVID-19 this month, effectively ending “The Coronavirus Crisis.” 

“This could be another version of that ‘October Surprise’ strategy,” Greene said, of Trump’s COVID-19 status.

USA TODAY reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.

More: Trump’s COVID diagnosis followed waning

Trump falls victim to his own false messaging on coronavirus

WASHINGTON — After months of publicly rejecting the advice of his own medical experts, President Donald Trump has fallen victim to his own false narrative around the risks of the coronavirus and how to avoid getting infected.

The news early Friday that the president and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for Covid-19 came as a jolt — but medical experts said it shouldn’t have. In recent weeks, Trump, 74, has put his health and the health of his staff at risk by holding mass gatherings, some indoors, and shunning mask use while claiming that the end of the virus was just around the corner.

In turn, his staff, his family members and his supporters have followed his lead.

He may have been infected by one of his top aides, Hope Hicks, who works in a White House that has disregarded every workplace recommendation for social distancing, with few people wearing masks, no efforts made to spread out desks and staff members’ cramming into meeting rooms.

His campaign has routinely packed thousands of supporters into rallies where masks are booed by the crowd.

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“This was avoidable. This did not have to happen if they were practicing the proper procedures and not going to these rallies and having these chaotic events, where, of course, airborne exposure was going to happen despite it being in an outdoor setting,” said NBC News contributor Dr. Vin Gupta, a lung specialist at the University of Washington. “No masking, no distancing — what did they expect was going to happen?”

The virus has repeatedly penetrated Trump’s inner circle, infecting his national security adviser, his son’s girlfriend and his personal valet. He has also had two friends die of the virus, one a former New York business associate and the other, political ally Herman Cain, who contracted the virus and died shortly after attending Trump’s indoor rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

As recently as Sept. 16, Trump said a staff member at the White House had tested positive, but he brushed off the risk, saying it wasn’t someone he’d come in contact with. Yet regardless of how close the virus hit to home, it did little to change Trump’s behavior in public, as well as behind the scenes.

“I’m not worried. No, I’m not worried,” Trump said about getting infected after Vice President Mike Pence ‘s spokeswoman came down with the virus in May. “But you know, look, I get things done. I don’t worry about things. I do what I have to do.”

Trump and his aides repeatedly said he was protected from the virus because everyone who came in close contact with him was tested. But the events of the last 24 hours show the flaw in that strategy, because testing doesn’t detect 100 percent of infections.

Trump appeared to be disregarding the advice of his own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even throughout the course of the

Researchers Concerned About Apple Watch False Positive Results

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  • The Apple Watch boasts of many health features
  • Some researchers, however, found that it issued many wrong pulse rate readings
  • Mayo Clinic researchers are worried that the false positives may cause problems in the healthcare sector

A group of researchers from the Mayo Clinic looked into the evaluation of patients who went to their doctors after receiving an alert from their Apple Watch informing them that they have abnormal pulse readings. And they found that many of these readings were false positives.

The research, titled “Clinical evaluation and diagnostic yield following evaluation of abnormal pulse detected using Apple Watch,” involved a retrospective review of four months’ worth of medical records belonging to 264 patients who used an Apple Watch to monitor their pulse rates. The paper was published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA).

Of the 264 patients, 41 said they received an alert from the Apple Watch explicitly telling them that they have abnormal pulse readings. The other 223 said they didn’t receive an alert explicitly informing them of an abnormal pulse.

The researchers discovered that the Apple Watch was giving out a high number of false positives. Of the 264 patients included in the review, only 30 (11.4%) had a “clinically actionable cardiovascular diagnosis of interest.”

“The observation that new clinically actionable cardiovascular diagnoses of interest were diagnosed in only 11.4% of patients following medical evaluation as directed by the treating provider suggests a high false positive rate as a screening tool for undiagnosed cardiovascular disease,” the researchers wrote.

Interestingly, out of the 41 patients who received abnormal pulse alerts, only six had a clinically actionable cardiovascular diagnosis.

It’s also worth noting that of the 264 patients, nearly half (48.9%) “had a preexisting cardiovascular diagnosis, and the most common department for initial evaluation was cardiology, in which the patient had a preexisting relationship,” the researchers said. The numbers indicated that the Apple Watch isn’t a good “screening tool” for conditions related to heart ailments.

The researchers also noted that based on the patient data, real-world use of the Apple Watch’s pulse rate sensor does not conform with the FDA’s guidance, which states that the technology should not be used for people younger than 22 as well as for those previously diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.

The researchers are worried about what the high number of false positives could do to the healthcare sector, along with those who actually do not have any problems with their pulse rates.

“False positive screening results have the potential to lead to excessive healthcare resource utilization and anxiety among the ‘worried well,’” the researchers continued.

Apple Watch Apple Watch Photo: Pixabay

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