There has been legitimate criticism of some of the statements made by President Donald Trump during the coronavirus outbreak as overstated or inaccurate. However, there has also been a continuation of the type of “Gotcha” stories that seem to be so reflexive for many in the media. An example is the slew of recent articles on how an Arizona man died of taking the anti-malaria drug repeatedly raised by Trump as a potential treatment for COVID-19. Trump has discussed Chloroquine as a drug which has shown promising results, which is true, in other countries. Indeed, a variation, hydroxychloroquine, has shown remarkable success but still needs to be fully studied for safety. However, the Arizona stories omit that this elderly couple did not take prescriptions of either drug but rather home remedied with chloroquine phosphate used to clean fish tanks.
The Arizona couple were in their 60s and concerned about having COVID-19 symptoms. They read on the Internet that you could just use aquarium products to combat coronavirus. The New York Post and others posted the reference to fishtank cleaner. The dosage however was the equivalent to several days of treatment and the husband died shortly later. The wife is still being treated in Phoenix and remains in serious condition.
There is no question that drugs can lead to fatal overdoses as shown recently in Nigeria. This is a very powerful drug and there are clearly high risks as flagged by China and other countries. However, France has reported early success with the drug. One study recently published results in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents that found that the combination of hydroxychloroquine, sold under the trade name Plaqenuil, and antibiotic azithromycin (aka Zithromax or Azithrocin) is particularly effective in treating the COVID-19 coronavirus and reducing the duration of the virus in patients.