On Sunday, the FDA authorized the emergency use of plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients as a treatment for the disease. The announcement came on the eve of the Republican National Convention, where President Donald Trump and his supporters have been trying to make the case he is an effective leader in times of crisis.

So-called convalescent plasma has been shown historically to help the body fight various infections, but medical ethicist Arthur Caplan told Boston Public Radio on Wednesday the announcement was little more than a "convention surprise," and an effort from the Trump administration to hype his own successes in fighting COVID-19 during an election year.

"Here we go again with more hype, more crummy science, and more bullying of the FDA and scientists," he said.

Convalescent plasma treatments do appear to have a small but statistically significant impact on reducing mortality in patients who received infusions within three days of showing symptoms, according to a study by the Mayo Clinic and the National Institute of Health, but do not alignwith a figure cited by Trump and top health officials in his administration on Sunday.

"He actually used a number, said 35 percent of people who are dying from COVID survive," said Caplan. "Well that would be great, but in fact it is 35 percent of people who get it within three days survive better, and the survival rate of those people is abysmal, so it's slightly less abysmal. It works for a tiny number of people, a little bit of the time."

Caplan is the Drs. William F and Virginia Connolly Mitty Chair, and director of the Division of Medical Ethics at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine.