Donald Trump’s bombshell revelation that he is taking hydroxychloroquine as a precaution against coronavirus sent the media into a tizzy on Monday, and doctors across the nation began weighing in on the revelation almost immediately.
Dr. Jonathan Reiner, cardiologist for former Vice President Dick Cheney, confirmed that the likelihood of Trump being diagnosed with a “malignant cardiac arrhythmia” is higher as a result of taking the drug.
He also said that Trump “probably has a 15 to 20 percent risk of dying of this virus should he contract it.”
The use of Hydroxycholorquine in the context of the coronavirus crisis has become perplexingly political within the last couple of months. Though several studies found early on that the widely used anti-malarial showed promise when used to fight the virus under specific circumstances, Trump’s touting of the drug in April caused mass hysteria and controversy.
The controversy died down for some time in May, but was revived by Trump’s unexpected revelation. CNN’s Alisyn Camerota asked Reiner to weigh in on Trump’s use of the controversial drug on Tuesday.
“There are side effects to hydroxychloroquine. You don’t just take this on a lark,” Camerota said. “I read that some of the side effects are mood swings. How would that not be affecting the President of the United States’ judgment? There are also psychological consequences or emotional from this drug.”
“Right, I think the last thing we need is this president to have mood swings. The drug’s most consequential side effect is a malignant cardiac arrhythmia that can kill you,” Reiner explained. He went on to admit that because Trump has 24-hour access to his personal physician, the White House has “ways of actually mitigating that risk.”
“No one in this country should use it in the manner that the president is using it,” he cautioned. “The White House medical unit obviously made a calculated decision that they considered his risk of taking the drug lower than his risk of actually contracting the virus.”
The legacy media has taken it upon themselves to issue frequent press releases warning Americans to not take hydroxychloroquine without consulting a doctor — ignoring the fact that no one can access the drug without a physician’s prescription in the first place.
Trump’s physician responds
After the media’s “apoplectic” reaction — as White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany characterized it — to Trump’s Monday announcement, Navy Commander Dr. Sean P. Conley explained the reason for prescribing the drug to the president.
“As has been previously reported, two weeks ago one of the President’s support staff tested positive for COVID-19. The President is in very good health and has remained symptom-free. He receives regular COVID-19 testing, all negative to date,” Conley wrote in a statement.
“After numerous discussions, he and I had regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.”