President Trump on Sunday said he might not be a doctor, but he is encouraged by malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
“What do I know, I’m not a doctor, but I have common sense,” Mr. Trump said at a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House.
Mr. Trump has been sharply criticized for touting the unproven treatment, including having the Department of Health and Human Services stockpile roughly 30 million doses.
Mr. Trump said using the drug in emergencies, when the alternative was people dying, was a no-brainer.
“I want people to live and I’m seeing people dying and I’m seeing people who will die without it,” he said. “What really do we have to lose.”
Mr. Trump said the drug can be used safely, as it has for years in treating malaria.
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“I’ve seen things I sort of like. What do I know, I’m not a doctor. What do you have to lose?” Mr. Trump said. “We hope it works.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections disease and a key member of the coronavirus task force, has cautioned that Americans shouldn’t think it is a “knockout drug.”
Vice President Mike Pence said he had spoken on Sunday to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan about a new program in Detroit that will make hydroxychloroquine available for 3,000 patients through the Henry Ford hospital to be tracked in a formal study.
“At the president’s urging, I assured her that we’re more than prepared to make hydrocholorquine broadly available in the pharmacies and doctors’ offices across the Detroit area where they deem appropriate,” Mr. Pence said.