President Donald Trump revealed earlier this month that he had been taking the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine in hopes of warding off a coronavirus infection, according to Fox News. But while the data is mixed on how effective the medication really is against COVID-19, some of the president’s detractors seem to be hoping for the worst.
The Washington Examiner reported Tuesday that Ana Navarro, a longtime GOP strategist and vocal Never-Trumper, wrote in a sarcastic tweet last week that if Trump wants to risk his health by taking a drug that she says has “serious side effects, including causing heart and kidney issues,” he should be allowed to. “If he wants to wash it down with Lysol, that’s fine too,” she remarked.
Navarro’s comments apparently came in reference to remarks Trump made in April about the potential for using light or disinfectants to eliminate the virus in infected patients.
Trump says he’s taking Hydroxychloroquine. It’s a leading story today. He often acts like a toddler, but he’s an adult. If he wants to take a drug w/serious side effects, including causing heart and kidney issues, let him!
If he wants to wash it down with Lysol, that’s fine too.
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) May 19, 2020
“You’d be surprised”
President Trump first touted the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, along with azithromycin, an antibiotic, in a tweet in late March, saying the drugs “have a real chance to be one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine.”
Two months later, the president revealed at a White House event that he had been taking daily doses of the drug as a precautionary measure, according to a separate report from the Washington Examiner. The announcement came just days after a handful of coronavirus cases were confirmed in the White House, including in a personal valet for the president and Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, as The New York Times reported.
“A couple of weeks ago I started taking [hydroxychloroquine]” Trump said, adding that he’d been on the regimen for a “couple of weeks” at that point, according to CNBC. “I hope to not be able to take it soon because, you know, I hope they come up with some answer, but I think people should be allowed to.”
Trump also said more people may be on the drug than reporters know about. “You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the front-line workers, before you catch it,” the president said, according to CNBC.
Indeed, despite the fact that the anti-malarial drug has been around for years and is used to treat a variety of illnesses, including arthritis, according to the National Institutes of Health, many in the media have pounced on Trump for promoting a medication that hasn’t been proven effective against COVID-19. Still, a New York-area physician told Fox News last week that the president’s use of hydroxychloroquine could actually be “very smart.”
“You have to have a discussion with your doctor to decide if it is best for you,” Dr. Janette Nesheiwat explained to host Neil Cavuto, according to Fox. “It is not going to be good for everyone but it may be beneficial and potentially life-saving for others.
“I think it is good to have this medication in our toolbox along with remdesivir while we wait for a vaccine to become approved,” the doctor added.
Nearly 100,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus this year, according to The New York Times.