Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said that he “became desperately ill” with the coronavirus but is now “out of the woods.” Carson tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month and was one of several people who tested positive for the coronavirus after attending an election night party at the White House that was largely mask-free. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was also at the party and tested positive for the virus the day after the election.
Carson, a neurosurgeon who is also a member of the coronavirus task force, wrote a Facebook post in which he said he was “extremely sick” and revealed his wife also contracted the virus. He said he saw “dramatic improvement” after taking a botanical treatment derived from the oleander plant, which has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Trump has spoken favorably of the unproven treatment before. His symptoms later worsened and Trump, who had been following his condition closely, “cleared me for the monoclonal antibody therapy that he had previously received, which I am convinced saved my life.”
Trump received Regeneron’s experimental antibody treatment, which is still in large-scale clinical trials but the FDA can approve its use on a case-by-case basis. It isn’t exactly clear how Trump could approve Carson to take the treatment or even if Carson go the Regeneron treatment to begin with. Eli Lilly also makes a monoclonal antibody treatment. Carson said he hoped “we can stop playing politics with medicine” while he also recognized how lucky he was. “While I am blessed to have the best medical care in the world (and I am convinced it saved my life), we must prioritize getting comparable treatments and care to everyone as soon as possible,” he said. Carson also asked people not to “cause alarm by saying dangerous shortcuts were taken” to develop a COVID-19 vaccine quickly.