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Ben Carson. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said in a Facebook post Friday that he "became desperately ill" with the coronavirus, but he is now "out of the woods."

Why it matters: Carson tested positive for the virus on Monday. He had attended the White House’s largely mask-free election night party alongside other officials in President Trump's Cabinet, including chief of staff Mark Meadows, who also tested positive.

What he's saying: Carson said he was "extremely sick," but saw "dramatic improvement" from taking oleander, a treatment that not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Trump has previously praised the experimental botanical extract.

  • Carson said his symptoms later deteriorated, and the president "cleared me for the monoclonal antibody therapy that he had previously received, which I am convinced saved my life."
    • According to CNN, it is unclear how the president could clear Carson to take the monoclonal antibody treatment or if Carson received Regeneron's experimental antibody treatment. In October, Trump credited his own COVID-19 recovery to the experimental antibody drug made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
  • Carson said he hoped "we can stop playing politics with medicine."
    • "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."
    • "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 wrote.
    • He encouraged people not to "cause alarm" by suggesting there have been "dangerous shortcuts" taken in developing a coronavirus vaccine.

Go deeper

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers — U.S. on the lookout for Omicron casesFDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill.
  2. Politics: Biden says fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns" — Two federal judges temporarily block Biden vaccine mandates.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Pentagon denies Oklahoma National Guard request for exemption from vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron — COVID-19 "radically altered mobility" globally, UN says.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.