I like the Onion’s version of today’s presidential announcement better.
‘A Dash Of Soap Bubbles, 2 Pinches Of Sunshine, And Just A Drop Of Imagination’ Says Top Hat-Wearing Trump Pouring Ingredients Into Fizzing Concoction https://t.co/3a4XuAdZPH pic.twitter.com/KJ5M8U14fE
— The Onion (@TheOnion) May 18, 2020
Here’s the real thing.
“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
I think he’s telling the truth although I don’t fault anyone for feeling skeptical. Trump must be aware of the risk of the potential side effects, most notably heart arrhythmia. He’d naturally be reluctant to take it. But I can imagine him claiming that he’s taking it if he really isn’t as a way of showing defiance after various studies over the last month have found no benefit from the drug in coronavirus patients. The doctors say I’m wrong? Well, then let it be known that the president of the United States is so confident in his “instinct” about HCQ that he’s taking it himself.
But as I say, I think he’s telling the truth. For one thing, despite his reputation as a germaphobe, he’s willing to engage in certain behaviors which he knows are bad for his health. Even overweight and in his 70s, he reportedly continues to eat plenty of fast food. Plus, the germaphobia may weigh more heavily here than the fear of side effects: If he’s really worried about getting COVID-19, it would follow that he’d try a possible prophylaxis. That’s why the timeline he gave reporters today about when he first started taking hydroxychloroquine grabbed my attention. He didn’t start doing it in April, when he began talking up its benefits in press briefings. He says he’s been on it for about a week and a half, which jibes with the revelations that his valet and later Mike Pence’s press secretary had tested positive for the virus. Trump has had special reason within the last 10 days to take every precaution possible. It would figure that he’d turn to his favorite panacea.
Question, though: Where did he get it? He doesn’t have malaria, does he? Nope:
Asked if the WH doctor recommended he take hydroxychloroquine, he said he asked and the doctor said, “Yeah, White House doctor…no, I asked him, ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘Well if you’d like it.’ I said ‘Yeah I’d like it. I’d like to take it. A lot of people are taking it.'”
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) May 18, 2020
White House doctors just handing out drugs upon request, huh? Right, I know, HCQ is approved to treat malaria and various rheumatological conditions like lupus so doctors can always prescribe it off-label. But it’s a hell of a thing for the president’s own physicians to give him a drug that his own FDA has warned about.
Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can cause abnormal heart rhythms such as QT interval prolongation and a dangerously rapid heart rate called ventricular tachycardia. 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. Patients who also have other health issues such as heart and kidney disease are likely to be at increased risk of these heart problems when receiving these medicines.
To decrease the risk of these heart problems that can be life-threatening, we are warning the public that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, either alone or combined with azithromycin, when used for COVID-19 should be limited to clinical trial settings or for treating certain hospitalized patients under the [emergency use authorization].
Josh Barro makes a good point too, one that’s apt to get lost in the uproar. Trump had a good day today politically before he stepped on the news here. Moderna’s vaccine seems promising. More states are reopening, including Michigan under Gretchen Whitmer. The number of deaths in the U.S. reported yesterday was the lowest in nearly two months. Instead of talking about that, we’re going to have a big partisan food fight about the president taking an unproven drug and no doubt triggering another run on the domestic supply by the public, leaving people who really need it to do without.
Here’s Neil Cavuto desperately trying to convince his audience not to emulate Trump by taking the drug. I wonder whom Fox viewers will trust, him or the demigod president?