News & Politics

'What the Hell Do We Have to Lose?'—Trump Sent Malaria Meds to NY to Begin Trials on COVID-19 Patients

President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing on coronavirus in the Brady press briefing room at the White House, Saturday, March 14, 2020, in Washington, as U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson listen. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Trump says that New York State will begin testing the anti-malaria medicine, chloroquine, on patients who are “very sick” with COVID-19 beginning on Tuesday.

Though he was chided by the media for giving “false hope” about the drug’s usefulness, Trump’s FDA has allowed special use of the medication by those suffering from COVID-19. As Trump put it last week, “what the hell do we have to lose?”

An NBC reporter last week challenged the president that he was giving “false hope” and “misrepresenting” the impact of the drug.  Trump wheeled back and let him have it, saying, “The American people are looking for answers and they’re looking for hope and you’re doing sensationalism … And you ought to get back to reporting instead of sensationalism. Let’s see if it works. It might and it might not. I happen to feel good about it, but who knows. I’ve been right a lot. Let’s see what happens.

In Sunday’s Coronavirus Task Force update, Trump said that the meds have already been sent to New York to Governor Cuomo:

“He’s excited about it like I’m excited about it. Now, will it work? I think it has a really good chance. I think it’s worthwhile. Why should we be testing it in a test-tube for a year-and-a-half when we have thousands of people who are very sick. They’re very, very sick. And we can use it on those people and maybe make them better. And in some cases maybe save their lives.”

Trump’s been fighting for the use of the drug. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the NIH says evidence that the drug works on COVID-19 is only anecdotal.

According to Forbes, Cuomo has acquired massive amounts of three main drugs:

“750,000 doses of chloroquine, 70,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine and 10,000 doses of Zithromax were acquired by New York state for the trial. Chloroquine (an anti-malaria drug) and hydroxychloroquine (used for lupus and arthritis) were approved by the FDA for clinical trials as possible coronavirus treatments, while Zithromax is a brand-name antibiotic.
“The president is optimistic about these drugs and we are all optimistic that it could work,” Cuomo said.”

Trump says if New York’s trials result in good outcomes it could be a game-changer for the country.

“I think if [it works], I think much of what we’re talking about with ships and hospitals and all of the things that we’re doing – all of these masks and everything that we’re ordering, ventilators – it’s a whole different game if that happens. And we’ll see. There are some tremendous signs that this thing could work. … We’re gonna see. We’re gonna know, sometime after Tuesday.”

Fingers crossed.