The insane confusion over the chloroquine ‘cure’: Blame the media and Trump

It’s too early to know if a malaria drug, chloroquine, will prove a “game-changer” against COVID-19, as President Trump hopes. But it’s clearly not the killer some in the media make it out to be.

It surely didn’t kill that Arizona man much of the press pretended it did — because he actually didn’t take the drug: The man died, and his wife was hospitalized, after ingesting a fish-tank cleaner made from chloroquine phosphate.

Even as a malaria medicine, chloroquine is a prescription drug, and no one should take any such medicine — let alone for a possible coronavirus case — without consulting a doctor. Nor did Trump suggest anyone try it.

Yet none of those facts stopped the media from blaming the prez for the man’s death.

“Arizona man dies after attempting to take Trump coronavirus ‘cure,’ ” reported the Guardian. “A Man Died After Self-Medicating With A Form Of A Drug That Trump Promoted,” blared BuzzFeed.

Fact is, from the second the president touted chloroquine, plus a related drug, hydroxychloroquine, and the antibiotic azithromycin, as a possible treatment for COVID-19, the press sprung into attack mode.

“Is Trump’s much-touted chloroquine really a ‘game changer’ for COVID-19? Not exactly,” read a Salon headline. “Experts: Trump’s Touting of an Untested ‘Game Changer’ Coronavirus Drug Is Dangerous,” warned Vanity Fair.

Yes, Trump overdid it with his “game-changer” language and his claim that they’d been OK’d by the Food and Drug Administration, which had only given the thumb’s-up for testing.

Only anecdotal evidence suggests they may work, not any clinical trials. It’s far too soon to hype them.

On the other hand, New York began testing them Tuesday, as well as a different experimental treatment using antibodies from recovered corona patients, on those who are seriously ill with the disease. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the trials are “promising.”

Indeed, some doctors already prescribe them and say they’ve seen positive results.

Bottom line: In this mess, it’s more important than ever to state the facts accurately. Neither the media nor the president is doing that.

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