President Donald Trump appeared at the White House daily briefing on Monday evening where he again—despite public health experts warning the extreme danger of doing so—touted the unverified effectiveness of specific drugs in treating the coronavirus.
With Dr. Fauci nowhere to be seen, Trump touts unproven, dangerous drugs that he thinks could treat coronavirus pic.twitter.com/5QZHl5iCXI
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 23, 2020
"This is appalling: Trump is using his press conference to AGAIN tout misinformation about a drug not approved by the FDA, even after a man died after self-medicating with that drug," tweeted Matt McDermott, a Democratic strategist and pollster, after watching the president's remarks. "Media, stop live streaming his misinformation!"
"This literally killed somebody earlier today," declared sportswriter and podcaster William Kedjanyi. "How many more people will have to die?"
As Common Dreams reported earlier Monday, Trump has already been accused of gross negligence for repeatedly touting the effectiveness of chloroquine phosphate, an anti-malaria drug. Despite warnings from health experts that chloroquine has not been tested for treating COVID-19, Trump falsely claimed during a press briefing Sunday that the evidence for chloroquine's effectiveness in treating the coronavirus is "very strong."
According to a news alert from Banner Health earlier in the day:
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Medical toxicologists and emergency physicians are warning the public against the use of inappropriate medications and household products to prevent or treat COVID-19. In particular, Banner Health experts emphasize that chloroquine, a malaria medication, should not be ingested to treat or prevent this virus.
"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, Banner Poison and Drug Information Center medical director. "The last thing that we want right now is to inundate our emergency departments with patients who believe they found a vague and risky solution that could potentially jeopardize their health."
A man has died and his wife is under critical care after the couple, both in their 60s, ingested chloroquine phosphate, an additive commonly used at aquariums to clean fish tanks. Within thirty minutes of ingestion, the couple experienced immediate effects requiring admittance to a nearby Banner Health hospital.
Critics of Trump have repeatedly condemned his offered spotty, misleading, or outright false public health information from the presidential podium.
As Matthew Yglesias at Vox wrote earlier on Monday, "Airing Trump's daily 'briefings' live misinforms people and undermines public health officials."
"When a person turns on the television and sees the president of the United States giving inaccurately optimistic assessments of the progress of testing, vaccine research, and treatment it encourages people to be less careful with their hand-washing and social distancing than they otherwise might be," Yglesias wrote, "That costs lives."