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LEADERSHIP BY EXAMPLE or Fool’s Gold

Updated: Jun 5

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump made the astounding admission during a press conference that he is currently taking hydroxychloroquine. This drug is traditionally prescribed for patients combating malaria and Lupus disease. This follows the President’s earlier recommendations that consuming Clorox bleach and directing ultra violet light to internal organs could kill the COVID-19 virus. Sadly, some Americans have followed the President’s advice. There have been cases of Americans that required urgent medical care for drinking Clorox bleach which is a corrosive agent and can severely damage internal organs.


What is most disturbing about President Trump’s public declaration of the “potential” benefits of taking hydroxychloroquine pills is that it defies the official medical opinions of the most respected US government doctors and public health agencies. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a physician and immunologist who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, declared that there is not any scientific evidence (that is, clinical control studies whose findings have been peer reviewed and thus essentially verified by other medical experts) that hydroxychloroquine has any positive impact in preventing COVID-19 infections. Similarly, Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-- the leading, national public health institute of the United States—warns consumers with preexisting health conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure) that the potential side-effects are serious including death. In fact, there are verified cases of Americans that ingested high doses of hydroxychloroquine and died within 48 hours.


The growing number of studies conducted with human subjects have yielded largely negative or some neutral/marginally positive results. In fact, the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) declared, “FDA cautions against use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems.” A recent study of several hundred US military veterans who were treated with hydroxychloroquine reported side-effects that were so severe (including many deaths) that the study was terminated and doctors refused to continue to prescribe to COVID-19 patients.


President Trump was so incensed by the criticism of US medical and public health experts that he claimed that the scientific studies were “rigged”—explicitly designed--to discredit his advice by specifically selecting human subjects that “were going to die anyway.” Furthermore, it is the basis of the “whistleblower” complaint of Dr. Rick Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Bright claimed that he was demoted in retaliation for his early warnings about the virus and his opposition to the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 due to increased mortality rates among human subjects. On May 8, 2020, the United States Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency which protects whistleblowers, reported that it found reasonable grounds for an investigation and that Dr. Bright should be reinstated as head of BARDA while the investigation is conducted.


Clearly, President Trump is defying the expert recommendations and official pronouncements of the official US government health and infectious disease agencies that the rest of the world looks for guidance. In addition, there is concern that his recommendations will create medication shortages for those in desperate need of hydroxychloroquine pills in combating malaria and Lupus. Once again, the US President is pretending to be the “Magician” who can conjure the precious “silver bullet” for swiftly slaying the COVID-19 beast for self-serving political gain. In the process, there is concern over President Trump’s personal health. That is, by repeatedly ingesting dosages of hydroxychloroquine as a preventative response to the Coronavirus, it could result in serious health consequences due to his age (73 years old), weight (243 pounds), and existing heart condition.


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