Warnings against anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients were politically motivated: Donald Trum2 min read . Updated: 29 Jul 2020, 05:46 AM IST
- Trump has repeatedly promoted hydroxychloroquine even though a number of studies have shown that it is not an effective treatment for Covid-19
- Covid-19 has killed almost 150,000 people in the US
US President Donald Trump said the medical community’s widespread warnings against using the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients were politically motivated to damage him.
"I think it could have a very positive impact in the early stages," Trump said Tuesday during a news conference at the White House. “And I don’t think you lose anything by doing it, other than politically it doesn’t seem to be too popular. You know why? Because I recommend it. When I recommend something, they like to say ‘don’t use it.’"
Trump has repeatedly promoted hydroxychloroquine even though a number of studies have shown that it is not an effective treatment for Covid-19, and can have serious side effects, such as heart rhythm problems and kidney and liver damage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month pulled an order that allowed the drug to be used as an emergency treatment.
Trump noted on Tuesday that he had taken a course of the drug after a White House aide had tested positive for the virus.
“I took it, and I’m here," he said.
Late Monday and early Tuesday, Trump shared a series of Twitter posts that advocated for the use of hydroxychloroquine and criticized Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, who has cautioned about the drug’s risk and unproven efficacy with coronavirus.
Some of the posts included videos of doctors claiming the drug could cure Covid-19 and others accused Fauci of misleading the public about it in order to hurt Trump politically. Trump has repeatedly criticized Fauci, who highlighted the risks that the pandemic would resurge as the president pushed to open the nation’s economy.
Twitter blocked some of the messages, saying they may have included misleading information.
Trump had shared a video of people dressed in white lab coats who called themselves “America’s Frontline Doctors" staging a press conference about the virus. One woman in the video said a drug cocktail that includes hydroxychloroquine is a “cure" for Covid-19 and said masks were unnecessary. Both claims are not supported by public health experts.
Asked Tuesday about the video, Trump said of the doctor: “I thought she was very impressive. I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her."
Trump’s approval rating has plummeted in recent weeks over his handling of the virus, as the U.S. outpaces other developed nations in infections and deaths. At the same time, Fauci has risen to near folk hero status with his sober, data-based messages on the virus and what the country must do to combat it. That approach has put him at odds with the president, who has wanted to reopen the economy sooner than public health officials recommended.
“He’s got a pretty good approval rating, so just remember, he’s working for our administration," Trump said. “So why don’t I have a higher approval rating with respect to the virus?"
Speaking of Fauci and Deborah Birx, another top public health official leading the administration’s pandemic response, Trump said: “They are highly thought of, but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality. That’s all."
Covid-19 has killed almost 150,000 people in the U.S. and more than 4.3 million have been infected.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.