Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said Friday he became “desperately ill” from Covid-19, but now believes he is “out of the woods” after receiving an antibody treatment.
Carson, 69, was among the latest Trump administration officials or campaign advisers who have tested positive for Covid-19. Carson tested positive last Monday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
In a Facebook post Friday giving an update on his condition, Carson shared that he was “extremely sick” with the virus and that he initially saw “dramatic improvement” from a product he took, which is not FDA-approved or a proven treatment for Covid-19.
“However, I have several co-morbidities and after a brief period when I only experienced minor discomfort, the symptoms accelerated and I became desperately ill,” Carson wrote.
Carson claimed that President Donald Trump was monitoring his condition and cleared the secretary to receive a monoclonal antibody therapy given to Trump in October when he was diagnosed with Covid.
Carson wrote that he believes the treatment saved his life.
“President Trump, the fabulous White House medical team, and the phenomenal doctors at Walter Reed have been paying very close attention to my health and I do believe I am out of the woods at this point,” he added.
When Trump had Covid-19 last month, he received Regeneron’s experimental antibody treatment, which is still in large-scale clinical trials but has been available for compassionate use – something the FDA has to approve on an individual basis, as it did for the President. The company in October applied to the FDA asking for emergency use authorization of its antibody treatment.
It’s not clear how the President could have cleared Carson to take the antibody treatment or if Carson got Regeneron’s treatment. Eli Lilly, which also makes a monoclonal antibody treatment, declined to comment when CNN asked if Carson had been given their treatment. CNN has also asked Regeneron if Carson received their treatment.
CNN has reached out to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for more information on Carson’s treatment.
On Friday, Carson thanked people for their support and prayers and urged people to “stop playing politics with medicine and instead combine our efforts and goodwill for the good of all people.”
“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 wrote. “There are a number of promising treatments that need to be tested, approved, and distributed (sooner rather than later) so that the economy can be re-opened and we can all return to a semblance of normalcy.”
Carson, a former neurosurgeon and member of the coronavirus task force, said Americans should recognize that there are several steps necessary to widely release a vaccine and that suggesting “dangerous shortcuts were taken only serves to stoke fear.”
Carson is just one of several people in Trump’s orbit – including the first lady, their son, the White House press secretary and multiple top aides – who tested positive for Covid-19 this fall.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, after attending debate prep sessions with Trump, had tested positive for the virus and spent a week in an intensive care unit, before recovering from Covid-19 and imploring others to take the virus seriously.
Carson attended an election night party where White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and nearly every other attendee was not wearing a mask. Meadows, a Trump campaign aide, and three White House staffers subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 that week.
CNN’s Jen Christensen, Greg Wallace, Jeremy Diamond, Betsy Klein and Shelby Lin Erdman contributed to this report.