December 10, 2020

So now we know why Rudy Giuliani got out of the hospital so quickly, as Morning Joe reports.

"Giuliani said he received some of the same medications as President Trump when he was treated for the virus in october. Giuliani has reported a small cough, but no fever and plans to quarantine for an additional three days. A report in the New York Times highlights how those in and around the Trump administration who contracted the coronavirus were able to receive treatment not widely available, exposing how covid-19 has become a disease of the haves and the have-nots," Mika Brzezinski reported.

According to the Times, the treatment given to his allies is raising alarm among medical ethicists and health administrators grapple with who gets the treatments that is described as rationing. The treatments and antibodies developed by Eli Lilly and by Regeneron won emergency use authorization from the FDA for who are at high risk of progressing to severe disease or even being hospitalized. Even some top officials at the FDA, both career employees and political employees, have privately expressed concern in recent months that people with connections to the White House appear to be getting access to the antibody treatments according to three senior administration officials.

“We should not have Chris Christie and Ben Carson — and in the case of Carson with intervention by the president — get access,” said Arthur Caplan, a medical ethicist who works with drug companies on how to ration scarce medicines, referring to the secretary of housing and urban development’s admission that the president “cleared” him for the therapy. “That is not the way to secure public support for difficult rationing systems.”

"The antibody treatments are so scarce that officials in Utah have developed a ranking system to determine who is most likely to benefit from the drugs, while Colorado is using a lottery system. Willie, this is disgusting," Brzezinski said.

"It is, and in that piece that you cited, the New York Times piece, they raise a quote from Rudy Giuliani who was on the radio here in New York and just came out and said, 'I'm a celebrity. I'm a celebrity, I'm friends with Donald Trump. So they put me in the hospil and gave me this premium care. Jonathan Lemire, it calls to mind Ben Carson, another loyalist of President Trump, who called himself 'desperately ill' was the way he put it, with covid-19. Thankfully he recovered and he said that 'President Trump cleared me for the antibody treatment' that he believes saved his life, which unfortunately is not available to a lot of Americans sitting in ICUs right now," Geist said.

"It's an extraordinary disparity, Willie. I mean, we know the president himself when he came down with covid-19 and was taken to Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington that he received the -- you know, this experimental cocktail, the most powerful medicines and drugs that had been developed so far. He's the president of the United States. The greater question, though, is this. That allies of his, people -- also New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who the article notes received experimental treatments not available to all, they're also benefiting from their connections here amidst this pandemic," Lemire said.

"We have been correctly underscoring all morning long the toll this -- about the toll taken on the American lives. 3,000 lives lost and it raises again just broader questions amid the pandemic and the ethos of the Trump administration as a whole, where the president has been seen as taking care of his sort of wealthy friends and loyal advisers, rather than showing any sort of empathy or compassion for other Americans, whether in previous crises or economic hardship and particularly now, he's leaving office, it appears, having changed his tone not at all despite the mounting devastation by the day because of this virus."

The wealthy and well-connected have always gotten special treatment. But under these circumstances, with so many people dead and a president who has encouraged his followers to disregard even the basic protection of wearing a mask? Well, it's galling. And if we had citizens who weren't already so exhausted by four years of Trump's outrageous behavior, people would be out in the streets.

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