During a roundtable event with leaders of the restaurant industry on Monday, Donald Trump said that he has been taking anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine for about two weeks to prevent coronavirus infection. Hydroxycholorquine, frequently used by doctors to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, is not yet a proven treatment for COVID-19.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about the drug after reports of “serious heart rhythm problems” in patients with the coronavirus who were treated with the malaria drug, often in combination with antibiotic azithromycin.
A small study in Brazil was stopped after coronavirus patients taking chloroquine, which hydroxychloroquine is derived from, developed arrhythmia, including some who died.
Last week, another study published in the JAMA Network found the drug did not help Covid-19 patients and, instead, increased the risk of cardiac arrest.
“I happen to be taking it,” Trump said. “A lot of good things have come out. You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the front-line workers. Before you catch it. The front-line workers, many, many are taking it.”
Trump, who refuses to wear a mask, added that he is taking zinc and azithromycin.
Trump said that he does not own stock in the company that produces hydroxychloroquine.
“It seems to have an impact, and maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t,” he continued. “But if it doesn’t, you’re not going to get sick or die. This is a pill that’s been used for a long time, for 30, 40 years,” he said.
A Covid-19 vaccine by biotech company Moderna is raising hopes in the race to find a cure. Individuals participating in the study had positive early results, developing antibodies to the virus at levels near or exceeding those seen in people who naturally recovered from coronavirus. Moderna will continue to Phase 2 of the trial, which will involve a larger number of people.
Several current and former national security and public health officials warn that the U.S. and Europe’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic shows just how vulnerable the countries are to biological terrorism. Lack of planning on testing, tracking and treating a pandemic and sustaining an adequate supply of protective equipment for health care workers has had devastating effects on health care infrastructures and economies. These flaws, experts say, may act as a “neon light” for terrorist groups looking to attack Western nations.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson attributed rising numbers in cases of Covid-19, at least in part, to the state’s reopening of businesses. Texas saw its highest single-day increase in positive Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic this past Saturday, according to numbers released by Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who plans to announce more reopening measures soon, has blamed the rise in cases on increased testing.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order on Monday to protect workers as they begin to reopen sectors of the economy. The order requires businesses to implement strict safety guidelines to protect workers and patrons from infection.
“Nobody in Michigan should feel unsafe when they go back to work,” Whitmer said. “Nobody should be worried about their family member or loved one.”
In Louisiana, more than 26,000 people have recovered from coronavirus. The state is also reporting 277 new cases, totaling 34,709. 2,440 people have died statewide. There were zero deaths reported in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes on Monday.
All but two states, Connecticut and Massachusetts, have loosened shelter-in-place restrictions, allowing limited gatherings and the reopening of restaurants and some businesses.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
In an interview on CBS this week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said it could be another year and a half before the U.S. recovers from the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. But he added that the U.S. is not headed for another Great Depression. Powell stressed that Congress may need to provide additional financial relief to keep families and businesses afloat until the virus is under control.
In an email to its staff, ride-sharing company Uber announced on Monday that it is cutting another 3,000 employees. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi also said the company will be “closing or consolidating around 45 office locations globally.” Uber cut 3,700 jobs on May 2.
Apple has announced its reopening measures for its 500+ global locations. Customers who enter the store will have their temperatures checked at the door and be required to wear masks. Stores will limit the number of people allowed in stores and offer curbside drop-off and pick-up options at some locations.