What We're Reading: Trump's Testing Remarks Criticized; NIH Ends Hydroxychloroquine Trial; Managing OCD Amid Pandemic

June 22, 2020

Public health experts and presidentail staffers express frustration over coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing comments made by President Trump; the NIH has halted a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine after data show no harm or benefit in patients with COVID-19; individuals who have obsessive-compulsive disorder may be at greater risk due to added stress from the pandemic.

Public Health Experts Rebuke Trump’s Testing Remarks

Public health experts and staffers from the Trump administration both expressed frustration over comments the President made during a campaign rally on Saturday, in which he said he asked officials to slow down testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Reported by The Washington Post, experts stress that a crucial part of controlling the pandemic involves increased testing, especially as the virus continues to impact states and is poised to surge in the fall similar to the seasonal flu. Meanwhile, several states that have begun the process of reopening have also seen their daily case totals go up.

NIH Stops Clinical Trial of Hydroxychloroquine

On Saturday, the NIH issued a news release stating that it had halted a clinical trial examining the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment, with study data indicating that although the treatment does no harm, it also provides no benefit. Touted by the Trump administration, malaria drug hydroxychloroquine was evaluated by a data and safety monitoring board (DSMB). Following its fourth interim analysis, the DSMB recommended that the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the NIH, stop the trial, which it did immediately.

How Are Those With OCD Faring Amid the Pandemic?

A piece by Kaiser Health News spotlighted how patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are dealing with additional anxiety precipitated by the pandemic. Nearly 7 in 10 employees indicated in a poll that the pandemic is the most stressful time of their professional career, and at-risk populations, such as those with OCD, may be more inclined to repeat certain behaviors or they may fixate on nonstop intrusive thoughts. However, those who have undergone successful treatment for OCD may be better equipped to accept the pandemic’s uncertainty because their interventions have focused on protecting against the stress of everyday life and the virus.