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Trump says he stopped taking hydroxychloroquine, but not because it makes coronavirus worse

Published May 26th, 2020 10:52AM EDT
trump hydroxychloroquine
Image: Erin Schaff/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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  • President Donald Trump says he stopped taking the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine.
  • The drug has no proven benefits for coronavirus patients and doesn’t prevent COVID-19 infection.
  • Multiple studies have found the drug can actually make symptoms worse, and increase the death rate of COVID-19 among patients.

President Donald Trump made headlines around the world for his claim that he had begun taking the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine because he “heard a lot of good stories” suggesting that it could prevent or treat an infection of the novel coronavirus. Now, with evidence mounting that the likely does little to help and can make symptoms worse, Trump claims he’s stopping his self-medicated routine.

Trump claimed he took a two-week “program” of the drug after consulting with a White House doctor and after learning that multiple White House staffers had tested positive for COVID-19. His decision to stop taking the drug comes after repeatedly defending the use of the medication despite clear evidence that it should not be used to treat a coronavirus infection.

“Well, I’ve heard tremendous reports about it. Frankly, I’ve heard tremendous reports,” Trump said in an interview, refusing to mention the wealth of conflicting data that shows the exact opposite. “Many people think it saved their lives. Doctors come out with reports. You had a study in France, you had a study in Italy that were incredible studies.”

Trump had previously defended his use of the drug while claiming that healthcare workers including doctors and nurses are taking it to prevent becoming infected. There is zero evidence that this claim is true, and doctors have repeatedly warned against the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19.

At present, there is no approved treatment for COVID-19 and while work on a vaccine continues at a breakneck pace, it will still likely be months or perhaps even a year before a vaccine is deemed safe and can be made widely available. Anyone claiming to have a cure or protective medicine regimen to fight off the infection is misguided at best or willfully endangering lives at worst.

For the President of the United States to announce he’s taking an unproven drug while doctors and scientists around the world are warning people to avoid that very same drug is, well, it’s pretty much par for the course these days. It shouldn’t be, but it is.

Trump says he’s feeling fine, noting “I’m still here,” during an interview on the program Full Measure. “Hydroxy has had tremendous, if you look at it, tremendous, rave reviews.”

In case this wasn’t already abundantly clear: No, you should not take hydroxychloroquine to treat a coronavirus infection, nor should you take it as some kind of preemptive measure to protect yourself from the virus. You could literally end up dead as a result.

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