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Source: Marc Bruxelle

Trump's Miracle Solution to COVID-19

Henry Xi
Grade 11
Donald Trump has told reporters at the White House that for a couple weeks, he has been taking a malaria drug as a defense against Covid-19, despite the warnings from his administration that it is dangerous. This drug – hydroxychloroquine – is approved to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, but unfortunately has no correlation in treating this novel virus. Since April, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been warning that the drug should not be used for that purpose because it could cause irregular heartbeats and other cardiac trauma.

So why exactly is Trump pushing for such a drug to be made widely available to the global population? Trump’s claim to be taking the drug was made as he attacked an administration whistleblower, Dr. Rick Bright, who went before Congress last week and described internal pressure to endorse the drug as an effective coronavirus treatment. The whistleblower, Rick Bright, was the former deputy assistant secretary of health and human services for preparedness and response. He came forward to inform that Trump’s sudden interest in hydroxychloroquine occurred following a conversation Trump had with Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison, who hosted a large fundraiser for Trump at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, in February.

After being questioned about the conflict of interest, Trump called Bright a hypocrite and proceeded to repeatedly tout the supposed benefits of the drug. “You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it … The frontline workers, many many are taking it,” Trump said. “I happen to be taking it. I happen to be taking it… I take a pill every day.” In an attempt to back up such a statement by the President of the United States, Trump’s physician Sean Conley stated that they concluded the “potential benefit from the treatment [of hydroxychloroquine] outweighed the relative risks”.

On the contrary, a string of studies around the world has suggested that hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine do little to prevent or treat Covid-19, but rather have some unsettling side effects to the human body. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has cautioned against the use of either drug for Covid-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial “due to risk of heart rhythm problems”. These drugs can cause abnormal heart rhythms such as QT interval prolongation and a dangerously rapid heart rate called ventricular tachycardia.

In the most recent study, researchers at the University at Albany looked at 1,438 patients with coronavirus who were admitted to 25 New York City area hospitals. After statistical adjustments, the death rate for patients taking hydroxychloroquine was similar to those who did not take the drug. The death rate for those taking hydroxychloroquine plus the antibiotic azithromycin was also similar. This ultimately proved that hydroxychloroquine not only does nothing to fight the virus but also could bring potentially dangerous side effects to those choosing to take it.

Although Trump acknowledged the existence of these studies where people given hydroxychloroquine did not seem to fare better than those who weren’t given the drug, he still refused to believe that these researches were reliable. Those behind the research “aren’t big Trump fans”, the president said as an explanation for why he’s taking the unproven drug. The research was a “a very unscientific report”, Trump said.