Pa. Rep. Mike Kelly says he took unproven anti-malaria drug while fighting COVID-19 | Wednesday Morning Coffee

May 20, 2020 7:06 am

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Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th District, says he took the same unproven anti-malarial drug as President Donald Trump while he waged a fight against COVID-19.

In an appearance on ABC-TV’s ‘The View’ on TuesdayKelly told the hosts his doctor gave him a prescription for hydroxychloroquine, but could not say “if that’s what cured me.”

“I can say definitively that I took it and I can say that I went through a period of time that I was sick. I came out of it within about 9 days and self-quarantined another month on top of that,” Kelly told the hosts, including Whoopi Goldberg.

As is his wont, Trump devoured headlines and cable news airtime in this still-young week when he announced that he’d been taking the drug, despite Food and Drug Administration warningsas a preventive measure against contracting COVID-19.

That news, in turn, sparked a row between Trump and his favored news outlet, Fox News, after host Neil Cavuto warned that the drug “will kill you.” The FDA has cautioned against using the drug outside a hospital setting or a clinical setting because of the risks it poses.

“That was stunning,” Cavuto said, according to The Washington Post. “The president of the United States, just to acknowledge that he is taking a hydroxychloroquine, a drug that [was] meant really to treat malaria and lupus. The president is insistent that it has enormous benefits for patients either trying to prevent or already have COVID-19. The fact of the matter is, though, when the president said, ‘What have you got to lose?’ a number of studies, those are certainly vulnerable in the population have one thing to lose. Their lives.”

As for Kelly, who’s an avowed supporter of Trump? He took the middle path on “The View.”

“Go to the doctors that you have faith in, listen to what they say. If your doctor says don’t take it, then don’t take it,” he said. “My doctor thought you know what, we have something that could possibly work and we’re going to give it to you.”

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Our Stuff.
Facing mounting criticism from Republicans in the General Assembly, state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine batted aside calls for her resignation on Tuesday, saying her agency’s approach to fighting COVID-19 is ‘evolving’ all the time. Associate Editor Cassie Miller has the story.

In a showdown with GOP lawmakers, Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a trio of reopening bills on Tuesday. Then wielding the executive power Republicans accuse him of abusing, Wolf signed an order allowing real estate agencies to reopen in the state, Elizabeth Hardison reports.

SNAP recipients will soon be allowed to order groceries for deliveryHardison also reports. Until now, that privilege had been foreclosed to them. The EBT benefit does not include delivery fees or tips.

The Republican-controlled House, with bipartisan support, has passed a pair of bills allowing restaurants to reopen, Stephen Caruso reports.

Gov. Tom Wolf has signed legislation allowing for the early disbursement of property tax rent/rebate checks, Correspondent Hannah McDonald reports.

On our Commentary Page this morning, opinion regular Bruce Ledewitz makes the potentially unpopular argument that there was a legal basis for DOJ dropping the case against former Trump White House adviser Michael Flynn. And U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, R-9th Districthas a challenge for the Wolf administration.

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Drexel University epidemiologist has some advice for parents thinking about sending their kids to summer camp this year (via PhillyMag).
Gov. Tom Wolf wasn’t thrilled to hear that Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger broke pandemic restrictions to get his hair cut and beard trimmed, PennLive reports. Big Ben posted the results on his Twitter for those of you who are interested.
Pittsburgh City Paper has your guide to voting in Allegheny County during the pandemic.
A Lehigh Valley nursing home tops the state’s list for COVID-19 deaths and cases, the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:

The Citizens-Voice profiles some Luzerne County Community College nursing grads who are headed to the front lines in the fight against COVID-19.
The borough of Canonsburg, in Washington County, has canceled its July 4 celebrations this year, the Observer-Reporter of Washington, Pa., reports.
The state’s largest nurses’ union has accused hospitals of misinforming the Wolf administration about the state of PPEthe PA Post reports.
One GOP lawmaker on Capitol Hill who’s been sleeping in his office says it doesn’t pose a health risk during COVID-19, Roll Call reports.

What Goes On.
The House comes in at 11 a.m. today.
And here’s a look at the day’s committee action:
The House Appropriations and Finance committees both meet at the call of the chair.
The Senate Judiciary Committee meets at 10:30 a.m.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Katie Meyer of WHYY-FM in Philadelphia, and to Mike Gorsenger, of CBS-21 in Harrisburg, both of whom celebrate today. Congratulations, friends. Enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s one from The I Don’t Cares that may well sum up how we all feel about lockdown right now, It’s ‘Done, Done, Done.

Wednesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
The Hockey News 
runs down the top 10 scorers from the past 15 NHL drafts.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.