Donald Trump has touted chloroquine, which is used as an anti-malarial treatment, as a miracle drug that can help cure victims of the coronavirus. Now, the wife of the man who died after taking the chemical warns people not to trust what the president says.
Raw Story reports that the woman, who is currently in the ICU after taking the drug herself, said that people should speak to their doctor rather than going off what the president says about the potential treatment.
While speaking to a reporter, she expressed regret for making the decision to take the drug but said that she and her husband wanted to try to stay safe and healthy.
“Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure,” she told NBC News‘ Vaugh Hillyard.
“What would be your message to the American public?” Hillyard asked in response.
“Oh my God. Don’t take anything. Don’t believe anything. Don’t believe anything that the President says and his people… ’cause they don’t know what they’re talking about. And don’t take anything, be so careful,” she said. “And call your doctor.”
Last week, Trump spoke about the anti-malarial drug, saying that he had a good feeling about its potential to treat victims of COVID-19. He called the treatment a “game changer” and said that he was confident it would have an impact on the spread of the disease.
His statements were immediately contradicted by his infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who said that the drug needs to go through rigorous trials before people should take it as a cure, particularly since it can have negative side effects. He warned against claims about the drug’s ability to treat people who have the coronavirus because it’s too early to tell its efficacy.
Despite that, an Arizona couple decided to take a teaspoon each of chloroquine phosphate, a form of the chemical often used to clean aquariums. Both individuals, who were in their 60s, felt the side effects within 30 minutes and were admitted to the hospital. The man later died in the emergency room.
The Arizona hospital system that treated the couple echoed Fauci’s statement, saying that self-medicating was not the right approach, calling the treatment’s potential as a cure “vague and risky.”
“Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus, but self-medicating is not the way to do so,” said Dr. Daniel Brooks, the director of the system’s Poison and Drug Information Center.