On Monday, President Donald Trump said he had been taking hydroxychloroquine for about 10 days to protect himself against the virus after one of his personal valets tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). Hydroxychloroquine is a drug used to treat malaria, and a medication he touted as a promising treatment for COVID-19 though there had been no studies to back up that claim.
“Here’s my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it,” Trump said Monday. “So far, I seem to be OK.”
Trump’s admission sent shockwaves across the nation, prompting politicians and media personalities to react. “I know him saying he is taking it, whether he is or not, is reckless, reckless, reckless,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said on MSNBC. “It gives people false hope, has people avoid real medical attention, and can actually cause them trouble. It is just dangerous what he did.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Trump taking hydroxychloroquine to ward off COVID-19 was “not a good idea … especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned last month that hydroxychloroquine should not be used outside the hospital or a clinical trial because it can cause deadly heart rhythm abnormalities. An analysis found that Veterans Affairs patients with COVID-19 who were treated with hydroxychloroquine had a higher death rate compared to patients with the disease who were not treated with the drug. Trump suggested the VA study was conducted “with people that aren’t big Trump fans.”
Even Fox News host Neil Cavuto expressed concern about Trump taking the drug and dismissing the VA study as a political maneuver. “It was a test on patients there, and those who took it in a vulnerable population, including those with respiratory or other conditions, they died,” Cavuto said. “I want to stress again: They died. If you are in a risky population here, and you are taking this as a preventative treatment to ward off the virus or in a worst-case scenario you are dealing with the virus, and you are in this vulnerable population, it will kill you. I cannot stress enough: This will kill you.”
Fox News host Greg Gutfeld of “The Five” went on air immediately after Cavuto and took a different stand about hydroxychloroquine. “If it’s available to you and you can take it, you do it,” he said. “That’s a prudent way of looking at it.”