President Donald Trump told reporters on Monday that he has been taking the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine for almost two weeks as a way to prevent him from contracting COVID-19.
“A lot of good things have come out” about the drug, Trump said during an event at the White House for business leaders. “You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the front-line workers. Before you catch it. The front-line workers, many, many are taking it.
“I happen to be taking it. I’m taking it, hydroxychloroquine. Right now, yeah. Couple of weeks ago, I started taking it. Because I think it’s good. I’ve heard a lot of good stories.”
He later told reporters he was “just waiting to see your eyes light up when I said this, when I announced this. But I’ve taken it for about a week and a half now, and I’m still here.”
Trump was an early advocate of the drug in the potential treatment for the coronavirus, noting its widespread use around the world.
He said during Monday’s event he had received a letter from a doctor who has treated hundreds of COVID-19 patients in Westchester, New York, just north of New York City, who said he had used the drug in combination with antibiotic azithromycin, commonly known as a Z-Pak, as well as zinc.
The president said the doctor had lost none of his patients.
Trump addressed the concerns some physicians have raised about the drug’s use, saying he believes it is safe, and he took it along with a zinc supplement in consultation with his White House doctor.
“I’m not gonna get hurt by it. It’s been around for 40 years,” he said. “For malaria, for lupus, for other things.
“I take it. Front-line workers take it. A lot of doctors take it — excuse me, a lot of doctors take it. I take it.”
Last month, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem initiated a statewide study to test hydroxychloroquine’s efficacy for the treatment of COVID-19 patients and whether it works as a prophylactic in preventing patients from contracting the illness.
Noem said she made direct requests to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to provide South Dakota with enough hydroxychloroquine to make it available for every hospitalized person.
She also said wanted to make the drug available to health care workers on the front lines and those in the most vulnerable populations, if they would like to take it as a prophylactic.
When asked last month about the use of the drug in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that while no extensive scientific study had been done at that time that he was aware of, “anecdotally, it’s been positive.”
Dr. Stephen Smith, founder of the Smith Center for Infectious Diseases and Urban Health in East Orange, New Jersey, proclaimed the remarkable results he saw in his COVID-19 patients using hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin marks the “beginning of the end” of the coronavirus pandemic.
Similarly, Dr. Anthony Cardillo of Los Angeles told KABC-TV last month that he has been prescribing hydroxychloroquine in combination with zinc for the most severely ill COVID-19 patients with astounding results.
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