Trump Says He’s Taking Hydroxychloroquine in Case He Gets Coronavirus
President Donald Trump revealed Monday he’s been taking hydroxychloroquine preventatively for coronavirus for nearly two weeks — even though his own medical experts say the drug can be deadly and should not be administered outside hospital settings.
Speaking in the White House State Dining Room, Trump said he started taking the unproven drug about a week and a half ago and has popped one pill a day ever since.
He said he hasn’t tested positive for COVID-19 and that he only started using hydroxychloroquine because he has gotten “a lot of positive calls” about the drug, which is most commonly used to treat malaria.
“If it is not good, I will tell you right away. I’m not going to get hurt by it,” Trump told reporters.
Trump made the comments seemingly off-the-cuff while railing against Dr. Richard Bright, a Department of Health and Human Services whistleblower who said he was pressured by top administration officials to advocate for hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 cure despite concerns about its effectiveness.
Without offering evidence, Trump claimed Bright’s assertion was “crazy” because “a lot of doctors take” hydroxychloroquine.
“All I can tell you is so far I seem to be OK,” Trump said. “And I’m still here, I’m still here.”
Sean Conley, Trump’s personal physician, issued a letter after the president’s remarks claiming they had “after numerous discussions” concluded that “the potential benefit” of hydroxychloroquine “outweighed the relative risks.” However, Conley’s brief missive notably did not affirmatively state that Trump has in fact been taking the drug.
In addition to Conley, Trump claimed “a respected doctor” in Westchester County, N.Y., had written him “a very well-crafted letter” about the promise of hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus cure.
A White House spokesman declined to name the doctor or provide the New York Daily News with a copy of the letter.
Trump’s own Food and Drug Administration recently issued guidance saying doctors should not prescribe hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 use because it can cause heart problems, especially in people with preexisting heart conditions.
“Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19,” the FDA stated in an April 24 press release, adding that the drugs can cause “abnormal” and “dangerously rapid” heart rhythms.
The 73-year-old president himself has elevated cholesterol levels — which can lead to heart problems and increase the risk of stroke, according to his recent physical exam.
Though hydroxychloroquine has shown modest success in alleviating some COVID-19 symptoms, the FDA stresses that, due to the high risk of side effects, the drug should only be administrated to treat the virus in clinical trials or under close medical supervision.
Even more alarming, the Veterans Health Administration, a subagency of Trump’s own Department of Veterans Affairs, released a study on April 23 finding that hydroxychloroquine could kill COVID-19 patients who are above 70 or have preexisting conditions.
Trump cast doubt over the VA study because he claimed there are some “horrible people” at that department.
“People that aren’t big Trump fans,” the president said. “We had thousands of people that were sadists, that were stealing, that were robbers.”
Monday wasn’t the first time Trump has offered dangerous advice on how to treat coronavirus.
Last month, he drew intense outrage after he suggested scientists should look into whether the virus could be cured by injecting disinfectants like bleach into people’s lungs. It can be lethal to ingest or inject disinfectants.
Trump’s dubious hydroxychloroquine hyping came as the U.S. coronavirus death toll surged above 90,000.
Despite the ever-rising death count, Trump is actively pushing for states to scrap social distancing restrictions and reopen their economies amid catastrophic unemployment numbers and a struggling stock market.
Before his hydroxychloroquine rant, Trump posted on Twitter: “REOPEN OUR COUNTRY!”
Dr. Esther Choo, an emergency physician and associate professor at the Oregon Health & Science University, pleaded with people to not follow the president’s latest medicinal musings.
“Little evidence of benefit, very real side effects, don’t snap it up for personal use,” Choo tweeted. “ENOUGH SAID.”
©2020 New York Daily News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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