One of the major problems of having a president who lies dozens of times daily to the American people is that, when he says something that’s optimistic and brings people hope, we cannot, unfortunately, take him at his word that things will be better or improve in some way.
Case in point: on Thursday, President Donald Trump declared that a drug called chloroquine, which has been used in the past to treat malaria and arthritis, may hold the potential to treat those infected with COVID-19 as well.
The president touted the pill as ready to go, and approved by the Food and Drug Administration:
“It has shown very, very encouraging early results, and we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately, and that is where the FDA has been so great. It’s gone through the approval process. It’s been approved. They took it down from many months to immediate.”
However, much of what Trump has said is not accurate. The drug has been approved in the past, but not for treating coronavirus. Doctors can prescribe the drug right now, but there’s no indication that it’d help those with symptoms of the disease fight it back.
Pres. Trump touts chloroquine, an old malaria drug, that doctors say may help treat novel coronavirus, claims it will be available "almost immediately."
— ABC News (@ABC) March 19, 2020
It has shown some promise in lab tests, but the FDA has said it wants to do more testing before saying it can help in the ways Trump said it would.
The drug is one of many in an “expanded use” testing program, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said, speaking after Trump did on Thursday.
“We are looking at drugs that are already approved for other indications,” Hahn added. “[Chloroquine is] a drug that the president has directed us to take a closer look at as to whether an expanded-use approach to that could be done to actually see if that benefits patients.”
Trump’s words likely give hope to a number of Americans currently afflicted with coronavirus, and to millions more who worry they could be next. Hope is a good thing — overselling that hope, however, can lead to disappointment, something that the American people just don’t need at this moment.
Featured image credit: Airman Ridge Shan/U.S. Air Force