Trump says he’s taking daily hydroxychloroquine to protect himself against coronavirus
This week, as more and more states reopen despite growing numbers of coronavirus cases in much of the U.S., President Donald Trump announced that he’s taking the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, every day. This is against warnings from his own government that the drug has not been shown to be effective in treating or preventing the coronavirus, and that it can have potentially fatal side effects.
According to the Associated Press, Trump told reporters on Monday that he’s been taking the drug, along with a zinc supplement, every day “for about a week and a half now.” This comes after Trump spent weeks using his daily coronavirus press briefings to push hydroxychloroquine as a “miracle cure” for the coronavirus because of its antiviral properties that make it effective in preventing malaria. A number of clinical trials have tested the drug against COVID-19, and there have been no findings that suggest it works the same way.
Trump told the reporters gathered on Monday that his doctor did not suggest he take hydroxychloroquine, but he requested it himself from the White House physician.
“I started taking it, because I think it’s good,” he said. “I’ve heard a lot of good stories.”
Trump also dismissed reporters’ questions about side effects, saying, “All I can tell you is, so far I seem to be OK.”
Last month, the FDA issued a warning about the drug, saying it should not be used as an experimental treatment or preventative medication for COVID-19 outside of a hospital setting where patients can be closely monitored, because some patients in clinical trials experienced heart rhythm problems that could easily lead to death.
Medical professionals and other politicians criticized Trump’s statements. Doctors across the U.S. answered in interviews that his decision wasn’t based on any sound medical science, and taking hydroxychloroquine daily without the supervision of hospital staff is, pretty universally, a bad idea.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer also spoke out.
“Maybe he’s really not taking it because the president lies about things characteristically,” Schumer said during an appearance on MSNBC. “I don’t know whether he is taking it or not. I know him saying he is taking it, whether he is or not, is reckless, reckless, reckless.”
Previously, Trump suggested at a press briefing that injecting disinfectant might be a cure for coronavirus. Poison control and public health hotlines were then flooded by confused callers, and companies like Clorox and Tide had to issue statements begging people not to ingest or inject their products. Trump later said those remarks of his were “sarcastic.”