Kathy Griffin could not keep silent after a recent assertion by President Trump that the US has "done far more 'testing' than any other nation, by far!"
The comedian took to Twitter—the same medium used by the President to make his assertion—with a rebuttal.
Griffin immediately accused Trump of lying, citing her inability to be tested despite significant illness as proof.
A recent CNN fact check revealed that what the President said was technically correct, but not the whole picture.
"while the US has overtaken South Korea in total numbers of coronavirus tests administered, it has conducted far fewer tests per capita given the US population is more than six times larger than South Korea's."
Griffin and her husband recently returned from Mexico and have been self-quarantined at home to minimize risk to their community.
Kathy began having what her husband, Randy Bick, said were "mild stomach issues" last Saturday, but the symptoms subsided after a short while.
Unfortunately, they returned with a vengeance. Griffin reported experiencing intense abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and a cough before she sought medical treatment.
Though she was advised to seek treatment, Griffin was unable to get tested for the virus. Gastrointestinal symptoms like those experienced by Griffin were found in roughly half of the people infected with the virus.
CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta commented on the recent discoveries made about the virus on CNN's New Day.
"In a study out of China where they looked at some of the earliest patients, some 200 patients, they found that digestive or stomach GI (gastrointestinal) symptoms were actually there in about half the patients."
He’s lying. I was sent to the #COVID19 isolation ward room in a major hospital ER from a separate urgent care facil… https://t.co/SqzJAqNyPZ— Kathy Griffin (@Kathy Griffin) 1585164176.0
During her hospital visit, Griffin was eventually diagnosed with an abdominal infection, for which she is now taking medication after returning to self-isolation at home.
She told The Los Angeles Times about the experience—and the reason for her tweet—during a phone interview.
"We were both nervous because we were still in the incubation period after returning from Mexico, but also we had not left the house in days."
"We'd been hearing about a 14-day incubation period. So for me to get what felt like food poisoning after six days, I thought, OK, is this a coincidence or what?"
Griffin contacted her primary care doctor, who recommended she go to an urgent care center for treatment.
Bick described the couple's trip.
"We both put on N-95 masks and gloves and I drove her down there. We got to the front and immediately there was a security officer and some nurses' assistants outside."
Griffin received medication for her pain, and an IV was started, but medical staff were concerned because she was still vomiting. The doctor treating her recommended she be sent to the emergency room at Cedars-Sinai hospital.
Griffin said that the way the doctor described his reasoning disturbed her.
"I remember vividly the doctor telling me ... 'I'm going to send you to Cedars ER today because I don't think I could get you in 13 days from now.'"
Upon reaching the hospital, Griffin said she was shocked by the lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on the medical staff in a ward set aside to treat patients with the highly contagious virus.
Some had masks, some face shields, and some had neither form of protection.
" I thought I would be walking into the white suits with blue-taped ceilings, everything. I kind of expected them to put me in a shower room and all that — but as recently as [Tuesday], there's no cavalry that's coming in handing out millions of swabs."
Griffin did praise the hospital staff, calling them:
"really smart, incredibly brave people."
While Griffin was in the hospital, a chest x-ray showed that her lungs were still clear, and a CT scan showed that she had an abdominal infection.
It seemed as though the ER doctor wanted to test both Griffin and Bick, but neither met the current testing requirement guidelines.
"The doctor was going through the boxes and going through the boxes [on a form] and she kept saying, like, 'Ugh, because of the lungs, the fever and the kind of cough ... you don't meet the CDC requirements.'"
Griffin also described her feelings when she realized how difficult it was to get tested for the virus.
"The realization when they told me the guidelines was, 'Wow ... I now know not to come back unless my lungs are full with what feels like pieces of shattered mirror, unless I can't breathe and unless my fever is 103 ...' They're not making the rules at all. That's a frightening feeling."
She also shared her ideal scenario for testing.
"I just think it's so obvious that those tests have to be accessible to everybody. A lot of people, when they hear the president saying everyone who needs a test should get one, then shouldn't have to then go to a hospital where, frankly, they may be exposing themselves or exposing others."
Griffin was far from the only person criticizing Trump's tweet.
The replies were full of people calling out the inaccuracies.
@realDonaldTrump let's un-Fox this boast: South Korea is testing far more people *per capita* than the US. we still… https://t.co/RtfkwsObUS— Jeff Tiedrich (@Jeff Tiedrich) 1585147735.0
@realDonaldTrump This sounds like North Korean propaganda. Only the rich and famous have been tested in America whi… https://t.co/8yHiFPuNS4— Eugene Gu, MD (@Eugene Gu, MD) 1585147656.0
@realDonaldTrump He’s lying. Again. At this point everyone needs to either mute Trump or - here’s a thought - stop… https://t.co/q3G0QlzfSd— Elizabeth Tulloch (@Elizabeth Tulloch) 1585165930.0
While many people have decided to stop trusting any White House briefs about the pandemic—especially those delivered via Twitter—there are still a large number of people who take the information the President is putting out into the world at face value.
Any misinformation spread this way could be disastrous in a time when accurate and up-to-date health information is essential in slowing the spread of the virus.