A pharmacist shows a bottle of the drug hydroxychloroquine on Monday, April 6, 2020, in Oakland, Calif. President Donald Trump and his administration kept up their out-sized promotion Monday of an malaria drug not yet officially approved for fighting the new coronavirus, even though scientists say more testing is needed before itâ€™s proven safe and effective against COVID-19. Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro championed hydroxychloroquine in television interviews a day after the president publicly put his faith in the medication to lessen the toll of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
During their daily coronavirus press conference Tuesday, San Diego County officials announced that there were 50 new cases and 12 deaths in the prior 24 hours, “the largest single day jump in fatalities to date.”
Tragic. #SanDiegoCounty reports 12 additional deaths due to #coronavirus. The largest single day jump in fatalities to date. My heart goes out to every family who has lost someone. pic.twitter.com/1ceI6wEfLC
— Hunter Sowards (@huntersowards3) April 7, 2020
Despite this, Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer, said they are not recommending the use of hydroxychloroquine, a medication President Trump has mentioned numerous times during White House briefings and which a Democrat state representative from Michigan credits with saving her life.
Wooten also urged county residents to avoid experimental treatments for COVID-19, stressing that there was no known cure for the illness.
Of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial medication touted multiple times in recent days by President Donald Trump, Wooten was clear.
“We are not recommending this medication,” she said.
Dr. Eric McDonald, the county’s medical director of epidemiology, agreed.
“This particular drug is not FDA indicated for this use,” he said. “There’s no evidence of any specific drug that has any specific efficacy at this time.”
Dr. McDonald is simply and completely wrong. A fact sheet issued by the FDA April 3 states:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to permit the emergency use of hydroxychloroquine sulfate supplied from the Strategic National Stockpile to treat adults and adolescents who weigh 50 kg or more and are hospitalized with COVID-19 for whom a clinical trial is not available, or participation is not feasible.
Because it’s been such a short time since the Chinese foisted the Wuhan flu upon the world clinical trials haven’t been completed, but, as my colleague Elizabeth Vaughn reported, Dr. Marc Siegel appeared on Tucker Carlson Tuesday night and spoke about favorable results coming from at least four ongoing clinical trials and about how the drug saved his own 96-year-old father.
For officials in San Diego County to parrot the CNN/MSNBC/NY Times talking points against the use of a drug that has been successfully used by millions of patients (including a childhood friend of mine who has taken it for 25 years to treat lupus) for 65 years and for which there are numerous instances of documented efficacy in fighting COVID-19 is irresponsible. Sadly, the people who stand to lose their lives because of it are those in lower socioeconomic classes who can’t afford to go ask a private physician for the drug – the very people San Diego County officials are saying they’re trying to help the most.