President Trump has scored a minor victory over the Trump pandemic. Bloomberg News reports
Nigeria reported two cases of chloroquine poisoning after U.S. President Donald Trump praised the anti-malaria drug as a treatment for the novel coronavirus.
Health officials are warning Nigerians against self-medicating after demand for the drug surged in Lagos, a city that’s home to 20 million people. Two people were hospitalized in Lagos for chloroquine overdoses, Oreoluwa Finnih, senior health assistant to the governor of Lagos, said in an interview.
“Please don’t panic,” she said via text message. “Chloroquine is still in a testing phase in combination with other medication and not yet verified as a preventive treatment or curative option.”
Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control warned that the World Health Organization hasn’t approved use of the drug against the virus. Africa’s most populous country reported 22 infections as of Saturday.
Trump said Thursday that chloroquine and its less-toxic cousin hydroxychloroquine had shown “tremendous promise” to treat the new illness.
The president doubled down on Saturday, telling his Twitter followers that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin “taken together” could be “one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.” He urged they “be put in use IMMEDIATELY.”
Trump also retweeted an online post about a small study of 26 patients that showed success in eradicating the new coronavirus when the two drugs were taken together. Some hospitals have already begun stockpiling hydroxychloroquine, and medical institutions are gearing up to conduct further studies. In the meantime, experts say using the drug and its cousin chloroquine to treat Covid-19 isn’t backed by enough scientific evidence.
The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved the antimalarials to treat Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.
As the government's reigning infectious disease expert, Dr.Anthony
Fauci clarified some of Trump's comments about the drug on Friday after the president said he had a "good feeling" about it. He said that hydroxychloroquine could not be used to prevent COVID-19.
"Many of the things out there are what I have called 'anecdotal reports,'" he told reporters at a press briefing. “The information that you’re referring to specifically is anecdotal. It was not done in a controlled clinical trial, so you really can’t make any definitive statement about it.”
He reiterated those remarks on Saturday, the same day that Trump tweeted that "HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine."
“I’m not totally sure what the president was referring to,” Fauci said. “Many things you hear out there are what I call anecdotal reports. They may be true, but they’re anecdotal. .. If you really want to definitively know if something works, you have to do the kind of trial that you get the good information with.”
It is theoretically possible that the President doesn't understand this, and hence would not be pleased to learn that his praise for the drugs has led to a dangerous surge in their usage in Nigeria.
Theoretically. Instead, Dr. Fauci, explaining his disagreement with the President, noted Trump is a
smart guy.... He’s not a dummy. So he doesn’t take it — certainly up to now — he doesn’t take it in a way that I’m confronting him in any way. He takes it in a good way.
He's not a dummy. He understands the implications of the misinformation, disinformation, and lies he traffics in. As the number of deaths rises, the falsity is not a bug; it's a benefit.