President Donald Trump disclosed this week he is taking hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug, which sent the media into a tizzy over a common drug that is helping people stricken with COVID-19.
President Trump so far has managed to test negative for COVID-19, which swept through the Secret Service and turned up among White House staff, so the president apparently began a daily dose of HCQ to prevent the onset of the virus.
Responses ranged from alarm for Trump’s safety by Neil Cavuto, who warned on Fox News that taking the drug will kill you, to Sen. Chuck Schumer predicting that Trump is lying but adding that, if he is taking the medicine, it’s “reckless” to do so.
Not to be outdone by U.S. media outlets and politicians, a spokesman for China’s communist government suggested the President of the United States is dabbling with “witchcraft” to beat the virus.
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, pushed back at the media's "apoplectic" meltdown after quoting Cavuto and others who have warned that Trump is risking his own life.
Just two weeks after smacking around the press for downplaying the COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year, McEnany pointed out that CNN host Chris Cuomo, who said the drug is not "supported by science," took another less-safe version of the drug after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.
"Hydroxychloroquine, of course, is an FDA-approved medication with a long-proven track record for safety," she told reporters. "And it turns out that Chris Cuomo took a less-safe version of it called quinine, which the FDA removed from the market in 2006 because of its serious side effects, including deaths, so really interesting to have that criticism of the President."
CDC says drug 'well tolerated'
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) has been prescribed for decades as an anti-malaria drug for people traveling overseas, and the Centers for Disease Control website states the drug is “well tolerated” and can be given to children, too, with the appropriate dosage depending on their weight.
The medicine is also prescribed for other ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Reports that the relatively safe, cheap, and well-known drug can treat COVID-19 first came from France, where Didier Raoult, an infectious-disease specialist, reported in early April he had treated patients with HCQ and watched them recover.
Dr. Raoult’s research team, French media reported at the time, treated 80 mild cases with HCQ and azithromycin, and found 93 percent of the patients showed no detectable levels of the virus after eight days.
Trump learned about Dr. Raoult’s reports and immediately called the drug a “game changer,” and the debate quickly took off.
Dr. Raoult’s early claims were being disputed in a mid-April study that found little effect, but the second study was disputed by French doctors in early May who pointed out the key was catching the virus early, not administering HCQ when symptoms had worsened.
An eyewitness account
Dr. Jerome Corsi, a tea party activist and New York Times bestselling author, tells OneNewsNow he witnessed a family member recover from the virus thanks to the drug. She caught the virus through health care work, he says, and was headed for a hospital trip and most likely a ventilator.
“And we got a doctor,” he recalls. “We got her hydroxychloroquine prescribed. Two pills [and] she was feeling better. One week she's back at work.”