Trump totes COVID-19 treatments that aren’t effective, experts say

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Courtesy of Gage Skidmore

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump has floated ideas for possible COVID-19 treatments in recent days, but experts say they could actually be harmful.

Trump has claimed for months that warm weather could lead to a possible drop in COVID-19 cases, much like how warm weather leads to decreases in cases of influenza and other respiratory diseases each year. However, the scientific community has raised questions about this theory, since warm places like New Orleans, Australia and Iran remain hot spots for COVID-19.

Trump has also praised hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, two malaria treatments, as “game changers” in the fight against COVID-19.

However, one study done with 368 Veterans Affairs patients who had contracted COVID-19 found that hydroxychloroquine alone actually increased risk of death and did not help patients avoid the need for ventilators. However, the study has not yet been peer reviewed nor was a controlled trial, according to the New York Times.

The president’s own health officials, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have questioned the drugs’ effectiveness.

“There’s nothing that has been dramatic at all,” Dr. Fauci said about the results of early trials of the drugs in an interview with the Times. 

 These experts have said that there is little or no scientific evidence that the drug works as a treatment for COVID-19, according to the Times.

Rick Bright, director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, said in a statement Wednesday he was removed from his post by the Trump administration because he questioned the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine.

Despite these warnings, many hospitals across the country, including hospitals in Boston, are using the drugs to treat some COVID-19 patients according to WBUR.

The Food and Drug Administration cautioned against the use of the drugs Friday, as they can cause abnormal heart rhythms in some patients, according to the FDA’s announcement.

In his press briefing Thursday, Trump suggested using ultraviolet light, which has been shown to cause skin cancer, and injecting disinfectant products to fight the virus. But disinfectant products can cause death if ingested. Manufacturers of Lysol and Clorox, as well as several state emergency management services, strongly advised against the injection or ingestion of such chemicals.

“As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion, or any other route),” Lysol officials said in a statement on the company’s Twitter Friday:  

Trump made this suggestion after the head of science at the Department of Homeland Security, William Bryan, told members of the press that the agency had tested the effectiveness of sunlight and disinfectants in killing the virus on surfaces, according to the Times.

While Trump was signing the newest COVID-19 relief bill into law Friday, he said this suggestion was a joke.