Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday accused President Trump of “giving people false hope” after the president revealed earlier that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine despite a lack of evidence proving the drug to be effective in treating and preventing the novel coronavirus.
“What the president did with hydroxychloroquine was reckless, simply reckless,” Schumer during an appearance on MSNBC. The New York Democrat also said that Trump was “giving people false hope” with his comments and said “people may take it instead of going to the doctor.”
“But it’s worse than that,” he continued. “His own FDA has said it has bad side effects, whether it affects the rhythm of the heart in many bad ways. For him to say this is reckless, it shows no regard for the public.”
Earlier on Monday, Trump said that he decided to start taking hydroxychloroquine, which he has touted as a potential treatment for the novel coronavirus, less than two weeks ago after claiming to hear positive reviews about the drug from medical professionals working on the front lines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Here’s my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it,” he said, adding: “So far, I seem to be OK.”
Evidence from the medical community showing the drug to be a potential treatment for the virus remains scarce. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned last month that the drug has not yet “been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19.”
“Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can cause abnormal heart rhythms such as QT interval prolongation and a dangerously rapid heart rate called ventricular tachycardia,” the agency said at the time. “These risks may increase when these medicines are combined with other medicines known to prolong the QT interval, including the antibiotic azithromycin, which is also being used in some COVID-19 patients without FDA approval for this condition.”