President Donald Trump said Monday that he is taking a malaria drug to lessen symptoms should he get the new coronavirus, despite warnings from his own government that it should only be administered in a hospital or research setting due to potentially fatal side effects.
Trump told reporters he has been taking the drug, hydroxychloroquine, and a zinc supplement daily “for about a week and a half now.” Trump spent weeks pushing the drug as a potential cure for COVID-19 against the cautionary advice of many of his administration's top medical professionals. The drug has the potential to cause significant side effects in some patients and has not been shown to combat the new coronavirus.
Trump said his doctor did not recommend the drug to him, but he requested it from the White House physician.
"I started taking it, because I think it’s good," Trump said. "I’ve heard a lot of good stories."
The Food and Drug Administration warned health professionals last month that the drug should not be used outside of hospital or research settings, due to sometimes fatal side effects. Regulators issued the alert after receiving reports of heart-rhythm problems, including deaths, from poison control centers and other health providers.
In other developments:
- An experimental vaccine against the coronavirus showed encouraging results in very early testing, triggering hoped-for immune responses in eight healthy, middle-aged volunteers. Study volunteers given either a low or medium dose of the vaccine by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. had antibodies similar to those seen in people who have recovered from COVID-19.
- More than 130,000 autoworkers returned to factories across the U.S. for the first time in nearly two months Monday in one of the biggest steps yet to restart American industry. Detroit’s Big Three — Fiat Chrysler, General Motors and Ford — as well as Honda and Toyota all had screening procedures in place at dozens of factories that reopened from the Great Lakes states south to Tennessee and Texas and out west at Tesla’s factory near the San Francisco Bay.
- The coronavirus pandemic has created a huge need for healthcare in the U.S., but it also is delivering a devastating financial blow to that sector. COVID-19 worries have kept patients away from doctors’ offices and forced the postponement and cancellation of non-urgent surgeries. Hospitals, health systems and doctors have been forced to lay off staff, cut costs and hope a return to normal arrives soon.
- Italy and the Vatican allowed the first public Masses to be celebrated since March as coronavirus restrictions eased further, following a sharp confrontation between church and state over limits on worshiping in the era of COVID-19. Guards in hazmat suits took the temperature of the faithful entering St. Peter’s Basilica, where Pope Francis celebrated an early morning Mass for a handful of people to commemorate the centenary of the birth of St. John Paul II.
- Chinese President Xi Jinping says China will provide $2 billion over two years to help with the response to the coronavirus pandemic. Xi’s announcement by videoconference at the start of the World Health Organization’s annual assembly marks a sharp contrast to the United States. The Trump administration has announced a suspension of its funding for WHO over its alleged mishandling of the outbreak and praise of China’s response.
- Just one week after a third of French schoolchildren went back to school in an easing of the coronavirus lockdown, there’s been a worrying flareup of about 70 COVID-19 cases linked to schools. Some schools were opened last week and 150,000 junior high students went back to the classroom Monday as further restrictions were loosened by the government.
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