During a White House roundtable event, Trump said he has been taking the antimalaria drug, also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
“A lot of good things have come out about the hydroxy, a lot of good things have come out. You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the frontline workers, before you catch it. The frontline workers, many, many are taking it. I happen to be taking it. I happen to be taking it,” the president confirmed. He said he initiated it “a couple of weeks ago.”
“Because I think it’s good. I’ve heard a lot of good stories. And if it’s not good, … I’m not gonna get hurt by it,” he said.
Several studies have recently found that hydroxychloroquine did not benefit COVID-19 patients. And the doctor who was in charge of the agency doing research for a COVID-19 vaccine was allegedly dismissed because he challenged Trump’s claims that hydroxychloroquine was a proven promising treatment for the virus.
Pelosi expressed disdain for the president’s choice on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.
When asked by Cooper what her reaction was to Trump’s hydroxychloroquine declaration, Pelosi responded, “As far as the president is concerned, he’s our president, and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientist[s], especially in his age group, and his, shall we say, weight group … ‘morbidly obese,’ they say. So I think it’s not a good idea.”
Standing at 6’3”, Trump reportedly weighs 243 pounds, placing his body mass index at around 30.3 kg/m2, which would place him in the “obese” category, but not “morbidly obese.”
What Do The Experts Say About Trump’s Choice?
Pelosi was not alone in disagreeing with the president’s decision.
Steven E. Nissen, MD, chief academic officer of the Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, told The New York Times that Trump’s declaration could be dangerous to the public.
“My concern would be that the public not hear comments about the use of hydroxychloroquine and believe that taking this drug to prevent Covid-19 infection is without hazards. In fact, there are serious hazards,” he said.
Scott Solomon, MD, told The Times that the decision was to be made by Trump and his physician; however, the Harvard Medical School professor of medicine added, “But what is irresponsible is the example he is setting.”
Manny Alvarez, MD, senior managing editor of Fox News’ health news, echoed Dr. Solomon’s sentiments. When asked on air why Trump is taking hydroxychloroquine, he said, “I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine. I found it to be highly irresponsible for the president to have come out and make that statement. And I would like to hear from the White House physician, to come out tomorrow and explain to me what has changed in a week-and-a-half or two weeks for the president to take this medication, when all the data that has been coming out repetitively has shown that there’s really not a major benefit. And most hospitals, including mine, we’re not using chloroquine in the treatment of COVID patients at the present time, and we have one of the largest populations of COVID admissions in our medical center.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April issued a safety communication warning of possible abnormal heart rhythms that could be caused by hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.
“These risks may increase when these medicines are combined with other medicines known to prolong the QT interval, including the antibiotic azithromycin, which is also being used in some COVID-19 patients without FDA approval for this condition,” the FDA added.
Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing editor of Fox News’ health news, says that it is “highly irresponsible” for Trump to claim that he’s now taking hydroxychloroquine.
He also wants the White House physician to explain what’s changed since studies have shown no benefits. pic.twitter.com/QAxYVTM1kG
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) May 18, 2020