Actor who contracted coronavirus believes hydroxychloroquine was 'crucial' to his recovery

Actor Daniel Dae Kim, who has had rolls in Lost and Hawaii Five-0, made news last Thursday when he announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus. Kim made a point of taking issue with President Trump’s use of the phrase “Chinese virus” in his announcement:

“Yes, I’m Asian. And yes, I have coronavirus. But I did not get it from China, I got it in America. In New York City,” Kim said in the Instagram video. “Despite what certain political leaders want to call it, I don’t consider the place where it’s from as important as the people who are sick and dying.”

“If I did, I would call this thing the ‘New York virus,’ but that would be silly, right?” he continued.

Today, Kim published a follow-up announcement on his Instagram page in which he says he’s feeling much better and says he considers his doctor’s decision to prescribe him hydroxychloroquine was a key to his recovery.

“I’m happy to report that my progress has continued and I feel practically back to normal,” Kim said. A bit later he explained that one of the first questions he was asked when he announced his illness was “What medicines did you take?” After giving a brief disclaimer that his is not a doctor, Kim said he was prescribed a cocktail of drugs including tamiflu,  the antibiotic Azithromycin, an inhaler to prevent inflammation, and hydroxychloroquine.

“And here’s what I consider to be the secret weapon: hydroxychloroquine,” Kim said. He continued, “This is a common anti-malarial drug that has been used with great success in Korea in their fight against the coronavirus. And yes, this is the drug that the president mentioned the other day. It is also the drug that Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned us about.

“He said that evidence that the drug is promising is anecdotal and that is correct. It means it wasn’t studied and is only based on personal accounts. Well add my name to those personal accounts because I am feeling better.”

Later, Kim added, “I won’t say that it’s a cure and I won’t say definitively that you should go out and use it but what I will say is that I believe it was crucial to my recovery.” It’s clear from the clip that Kim is not saying this out of any desire to support President Trump. On the contrary, he’s saying it despite that. Of course, he’s just an actor but he is following the orders of a doctor who seems to believe this works. However, it’s worth noting that the doctor whose name he mentions in this clip below tried to distance himself from this a bit saying he wasn’t the person who prescribed this drug cocktail for Kim:

Wanted to give a shout out to our friend @danieldaekim for sharing his #coronavirus journey to help educate and comfort our very anxious world. I do want to clarify that I was not the doctor who treated him nor did I prescribe the regimen of Tamiflu, Zithromax, and Hydroxychloroquine that he received. I think the initial data on this regimen is very encouraging and while I am hopeful, I think we still need to study this some more. So please do not start taking these meds on your own as there are some potential associated side effects. Above all, do your best to keep your immune systems robust and practice good hygiene and social distancing.

So the debate over the use of this drug goes on. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published a piece by two doctors who argued that, while the definite proof of hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness does not exist yet, it should be considered a “first-line treatment.”

We had been using the protocol outlined in the research from China, but we’ve switched to the combination prescribed in the French study. Our patients appear to be showing fewer symptoms.

Our experience suggests that hydroxychloroquine, with or without a Z-Pak, should be a first-line treatment. Unfortunately, there is already a shortage of hydroxychloroquine. The federal government should immediately contract with generic manufacturers to ramp up production. Any stockpiles should be released.

As a matter of clinical practice, hydroxychloroquine should be given early to patients who test positive, and perhaps if Covid-19 is presumed—in the case of ill household contacts, for instance. It may be especially useful to treat mild cases and young patients, which would significantly decrease viral transmission and, as they say, “flatten the curve.”

The doctors conclude, “We can use this treatment to help save lives and prevent others from becoming infected. Or we can wait several weeks and risk discovering we didn’t do everything we could to end this pandemic as quickly as possible.”

Here’s Kim’s Instagram video about his treatment. He’s not a doctor and neither am I so take this with a grain of salt until we have some better data to confirm it. Maybe he’s just a healthy, fit person who recovered quickly because his immune system was strong. After all, most people do recover from this.