Donald Trump managed to surprised people today by making an even wilder claim than usual: At a press conference on the current state of the coronavirus pandemic, the president claimed to be taking the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which he has repeatedly touted as a possible treatment for COVID-19 in spite of tests which have suggested it does more harm than good.
“I happen to be taking it … right now, yeah” — Trump claims he’s taking hydroxychloroquine, a drug he’s touted as a potential coronavirus treatment despite a lack of evidence that can lead to potentially fatal heart problems pic.twitter.com/zxiNxlyfEs
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 18, 2020
During one of his frequent confusing rants, Trump began talking about “this other guy with the hydroxychloroquine” and hinting something about Democrats and donations before claiming that many frontline healthcare workers are taking it. He then said that he had started taking it regularly himself “a couple weeks ago.”
“I happen to be taking it,” he said. “A lot of good things have come out. You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the front-line workers. Before you catch it. The front-line workers, many, many are taking it.”
"He shouldn't be taking it," Dr. Sanjay Gupta says on CNN after POTUS announced he's taking hydroxychloroquine, adding there's no evidence it treats or prevents coronavirus and can cause side effects.— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) May 18, 2020
The drug has remained unproven as a treatment for COVID-19, let alone a preventative, and claims that healthcare workers are taking it to protect themselves from the coronavirus are also completely unproven.
It also seems unlikely that the president is taking hydroxychloroquine due to the fact that it can cause heart rhythm problems. Those who take it for its approved uses, to fight malaria and help with autoimmune disorders such as lupus, are kept under careful monitoring for this dangerous side effect.
In spite of these risks, Trump thinks taking it is a good idea because it’s been around for a while.
Reminder: Dr. Rick Bright, the former head of a key government vaccine agency, testified last week that he believes he was ousted from his position because of his resistance to promoting hydroxychloroquine.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 18, 2020
“I’m not gonna get hurt by it. It’s been around for 40 years,” he said. “For malaria, for lupus, for other things. I take it. Front-line workers take it. A lot of doctors take it — excuse me, a lot of doctors take it.”
Trump went on to claim that he’s taking hydroxychloroquine daily and say that if you do the same “you’re not going to get sick or die.”
A recent trial in Brazil had to be halted when a test subject taking the drug that hydroxychloroquine is derived from for coronavirus died from the heart issues it caused.
The president’s claim came as such a surprise that even Fox News host Neil Cavuto urged viewers not to take the drug as a preventative treatment.
Fox News's Neil Cavuto is stunned by Trump's announcement that he's taking hydroxychloroquine: "If you are in a risky population here, and you are taking this as a preventative treatment ... it will kill you. I cannot stress enough. This will kill you." pic.twitter.com/e6D5alfAgc— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 18, 2020
People seem pretty skeptical that the president is taking a drug for an off-label purpose when it can cause such dangerous side effects.
Dear @realDonaldTrump: You may want to check with your physician before you continue taking #Hydroxychloroquine. Repeated studies show it doesn’t work for #COVID19 patients. And for some people, the drug increases the risk of death. https://t.co/1slNXoUeBu— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) May 18, 2020
Also, and I am shouting here...THE PRESIDENT DICTATED HIS OWN MEDICAL LETTER ATTESTING HIS HEALTH BEFORE THE ELECTION https://t.co/YCwZmNun5L— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) May 18, 2020
Never apologize. Attack attack attack. Even if that means you have to personally start taking a lupus drug that has been shown to kill people who don’t need it. https://t.co/3CkuGCCQ6H— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) May 18, 2020
You know the doctor is giving Trump Skittles and teling him it’s #Hydroxychloroquine— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) May 18, 2020
In one breath he says he’s been “taking it for a couple weeks” the next moment it’s “I WOULD take it”
— Dana René (@cerealkilla519) May 18, 2020
Please do not take hydroxychloroquine unless it’s prescribed to you by a doctor for an FDA-approved purpose.