The not so great hydroxychloroquine debate

So, President Trump says he’s taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure against contracting the Wuhan coronavirus. You have to give him credit. He has the courage of his convictions.

Actually, it doesn’t require courage to take hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure. The drug has been widely used to treat malaria and lupus for many decades. Like virtually every medication, it has side effects. However, it is not dangerous.

The FDA recently said there are elevated risks associated with COVID-19 patients taking hydroxychloroquine. This may (or may not) be true, but Trump is not a COVID-19 patient.

Does hydroxychloroquine help prevent becoming infected with the virus? I’m not aware of any evidence that it does.

To me, then, it seems that Trump is taking, essentially, a no-risk, no-reward measure. So, why the fuss?

We know why. Because anything the president says or does will create a fuss.

Even so, it surprises me a little that Democrats, the media, and the rest of the left have made hydroxychloroquine into such a battleground. My strong impression is that some Dems and media types would rather see people die than see Trump vindicated on even this one point. The glee oozes from mainstream reports claiming, prematurely, that the drug has been shown not to work.

The hydroxychloroquine debate has also provided the Speaker of the House with the opportunity to call the President of the United States “morbidly obese.” The President responded by calling the Speaker a “sick women” with “mental problems.”

Is this a great country, or what?

How did the hydroxychloroquine controversy begin? It began with Trump touting the drug. But what, exactly, did he say?

Most mainstream media reports say Trump called the drug a “game changer.” You have to search hard to find his actual quote. It was that hydroxychloroquine, taken along with the antibiotic azithromycin, has “a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.”

Trump never called hydroxychloroquine a “game changer.” He only said it had a real chance to be.

Back when Trump said this, there were positive reports about the efficacy of the drug in treating the coronavirus. Based on the information he was receiving, Trump’s statement was reasonable. It may still be reasonable, though the evidence is mixed now.

A final point. Trump’s critics claim that the president’s touting of hydroxychloroquine may produce real harm by causing people to take the drug recklessly.

Conceivably. But I wonder whether the left’s drumbeat against the drug — Joe Scarborough says it will kill you — will cause people who need the drug not to take it when prescribed, for example to treat lupus.

The best thing would be for Trump and his critics to stop talking about hydroxychloroquine until the results of solid medical research are in. But you know that’s not going to happen.

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