Part of the reason that the coronavirus pandemic poses such a threat to the United States is that the virus is new. No one has antibodies for it. There’s no vaccine. There’s no medicine known to be particularly effective at treating the disease it causes, covid-19. It’s spreading rapidly throughout the United States and leading to deaths at a far faster pace than the H1N1 pandemic of 2009.Many Americans are justifiably concerned. For weeks, President Trump has tried to assuage those concerns by presenting often-simplistic or misleading assurances. Since he began participating in daily briefings on the spread of the illness, he has repeatedly hyped new developments that often were quickly shown to be overstated or nonexistent.It was with that in mind that NBC White House correspondent Peter Alexander pressed Trump on the president’s claims during a briefing on Friday that an anti-malarial drug might be particularly effective at treating the disease. A colleague of Alexander’s, an NBC technician named Larry Edgeworth, died of covid-19 this week. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a member of the coronavirus task force, had noted that there was not yet evidence that the drug was any sort of silver bullet; Trump presented the possibility that

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