Nancy Pelosi on Monday said ‘morbidly obese’ Donald Trump should not take hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19.
The president, 73, said he started taking the controversial medication ‘a couple of weeks ago’, despite warnings from his own administration about the side effects of the anti-malaria drug.
Following the admission House Speaker Pelosi told CNN: ‘He’s our president and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists.
‘Especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, what is morbidly obese, they say. So, I think that it’s not a good idea.’
Her warning came after Trump’s 2019 physical revealed he had a BMI of of 30.4. That’s obsese, according to the CDC, but not morbidly.
Pelosi pointed out Trump’s weight and age – in what Twitter users saw as a dig at the president – as doctors around the nation expressed concern at the revelations.
That’s despite the Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, saying in an official memo he and Trump discussed the matter and believed the gain from using hydroxychloroquine outweighed its risk factors.
But the medic did not specifically say he had prescribed the drug to Trump in the note.
Nancy Pelosi told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday that ‘morbidly obese’ Donald Trump should not take hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19
President Donald Trump said he’s been taking hydroxychloroquine for around two weeks
“I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group, and in his, shall we say, weight group: ‘Morbidly obese,’ they say,” says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Pres. Trump’s revelation he is taking hydroxychloroquine. pic.twitter.com/0ImjpEjg9q
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) May 19, 2020
HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR BODY MASS INDEX – AND WHAT IT MEANS
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height.
- BMI = (weight in pounds / (height in inches x height in inches)) x 703
- BMI = (weight in kilograms / (height in meters x height in meters))
- Under 18.5: Underweight
- 18.5 – 24.9: Healthy
- 25 – 29.9: Overweight
- 30 or greater: Obese
The president said he does not have the virus, which has infected 1.53 million Americans and killed more than 90,000.
But speaking at the White House during an event with restaurant workers he said: ‘I’m taking it – hydroxychloroquine. Right now yeah. A couple of weeks ago, started taking it.’
The Food and Drug Administration warned in April that hydroxychloroquine can significantly increase the risk of death in people, especially those with heart problems, and cautioned against its use.
The president repeatedly has touted hydroxychloroquine – used to treat malaria, lupus and other diseases – and the antibiotic azithromycin, often referred to as ‘Z-pack,’ to be used to treat the coronavirus.
Trump said he took one dose of the z-pack antibiotic and is now taking a zinc supplement along with a daily hydroxychloroquine pill. He noted he’s had no side effects.
‘I’m taking the two – the zinc and the hydroxy,’ he said. ‘So far I seem to be okay.’
‘I have been taking it for about a weekend for about a week and a half,’ he noted. ‘Every day. I take a pill every day.’
‘At some point I’ll stop,’ he added.
Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, released a memo Monday night, saying he and Trump discussed the matter and believed the gain from using hydroxychloroquine outweighed its risk factors
White House physician, Dr Conley noted: ‘After numerous discussions, he and I regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from the treatment outweighed the relative risk.’
‘In consultation with our inter-agency partners and subject matter experts around the country, I continue to monitor the myriad studies investigating COVID-19 therapies and I anticipate employing the same shared medical decision making based on the evidence at hand in the future,’ he said.
Conley, a commander in the U.S. Navy, noted President Trump is ‘in very good health and has remained symptom-free. He receives regular COVID-19 testing, all negative to date.’
Trump said he started taking the drug after talking with Conley. ‘He said well if you’d like it. I said yeah I’d like it, I’d like to take it,’ Trump said.
Medics around the nation have expressed concern at the news, warning Americans to not take the drug without at least consulting their doctor
But medics around the nation have expressed concern at the news, warning Americans to not take the drug without at least consulting their doctor.
Dr. William Schaffner told The Washington Post: ‘I certainly would not recommend that people in the U.S. ask their physicians to prescribe hydroxychloroquine for the prevention of Covid. Its use is entirely speculative.’
Former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen tweeted: ‘There is NO evidence for hydrochloroquine being effective in treatment of #covid19 or prophylaxis to prevent the disease.
‘This is a medication that has serious side effects. I am very concerned about @realDonaldTrump continuing to model behavior that could harm many Americans.’
And Dr. Rob Davidson, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare, said: Today @realDonaldTrump announced that’s he’s taking Hydroxychloroquine to prevent #COVID19. This is dangerous. Ignore him. There is no evidence of benefit and there is evidence of harm.
‘Trump is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands. Let’s not add to that number.
Hydroxychloroquine has potentially serious side effects, including to the heart
The president shrugged off warnings about the side effects of hydroxy issued by the FDA and the National Institutes of Health. Both medical organizations note the drug is only approved for the use of patients in hospitals who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Side effects of hydroxychloroquine
Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, dizziness, or headache
slow heartbeat, symptoms of heart failure (such as shortness of breath, swelling ankles/feet, unusual tiredness, unusual/sudden weight gain)
mental/mood changes (such as anxiety, depression, rare thoughts of suicide, hallucinations)
hearing changes (such as ringing in the ears, hearing loss), easy bruising/bleeding
signs of infection or liver disease
muscle weakness, unwanted/uncontrolled movements (including tongue/face twitching), hair loss, hair/skin color changes
low blood sugar, severe dizziness, fainting, fast/irregular heartbeat, seizures
– from WebMD
‘You’re not going to get sick or die,’ he said about taking the medication. ‘I’ve taken it about for a week and a half now. And I’m still here.’
He said he’s heard ‘a lot of good stories’ about the drug.
‘I’ve heard a lot of good stories. And if it is not good, I will tell you right. I’m not going to get hurt by it. It has been around for 40 years for malaria, for lupus, for other things. I take it,’ Trump said.
‘I was just waiting to see your eyes light up when I said this,’ he told the assembled media.
At least two White House staffers tested positive for the coronavirus this month, both of whom had access to the president: his Navy valet who serves him meals and Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller, who speaks for the Coronavirus Task Force and is married to Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller.
After the outbreak, new safety protocols were put into effect at the White House, including daily testing of senior staff who get close to the president. Additionally, staff and Secret Service agents have started wearing face masks around the complex, where close working conditions make social distancing impossible.
Trump last underwent a partial checkup in a November visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that was not on his public schedule. He has said in March he would complete his physical in the next 90 days.
At his last physical Trump weighed 243 pounds, which is considered obese for a man of his reported height of 6 feet 3 inches. Past reports said he’s taking rosuvastatin, a lipid-lowering drug, to control his cholesterol.
The president has touted his love of steak and fast food. His only exercise is golf, which has been on hold since early March as the coronavirus pandemic causes courses to be closed.
Hydroxy has potentially serious side effects, including altering the heartbeat in a way that could lead to sudden death, and the FDA has warned against its use for coronavirus infections except in formal studies.
A study released last Monday showed hydroxychloroquine does not work against the coronavirus and could cause heart problems.
It was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and follows an earlier study in the New England Journal of Medicine that also showed the drug doesn’t fight the virus.
White House doctor Dr. Sean Conley said he and Trump, believed the gain from using hydroxychloroquine outweighed its risk
Additionally, the FDA and the National Institutes of Health issued warnings about using the drugs for coronavirus patients.
‘Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19. They are being studied in clinical trials for COVID-19, and we authorized their temporary use during the COVID-19 pandemic for treatment of the virus in hospitalized patients,’ the FDA warning said.
‘Although there is anecdotal evidence that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin may benefit people with COVID-19, we need solid data from a large randomized, controlled clinical trial to determine whether this experimental treatment is safe and can improve clinical outcomes,’ Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and head of the NIH, said last week.
Trump dismissed such studies and complained they were done by the Veterans Administration, where he does not have a lot of supporters.
‘Here’s my evidence. I get a lot of positive calls about it. The only negative I heard — was at the VA? People that aren’t big Trump fans,’ he said.
‘If you look at that phony report that was put – in that report or the hydroxy was given to people that were an extraordinarily bad condition, extraordinary bad people that were dying. No, I think for whatever it’s worth I take I was,’ he said.
Trump also said he has ‘zero symptoms’ of the coronavirus, is tested daily and has tested negative.
‘Totally negative, no symptoms, no nothing,’ the president said.
Trump said a doctor wrote to him about hydroxy and his description fits that of Vladimir Zelenko, a New York doctor who is being investigated by prosecutors
The president said a doctor in New York wrote to him about treating his patients with both hydroxy and the z-pack.
He did not mention a name but the description fits that of Vladimir Zelenko, a New York doctor who has promoted hydroxy as a coronavirus treatment and has been touted by Fox News host Sean Hannity.
Federal prosecutors are examining Zelenko’s records after conservative commentator Jerome Corsi, accidentally sent an email intended for Zelenko to another ‘Z’ name in his address book — federal prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky, who as a member of special counsel Robert Mueller III’s team who examined Corsi’s activities during the 2016 presidential election, according to The Washington Post.
Zelinsky is tasked now with investigating coronavirus-related crimes in the Maryland U.S. attorney’s office, including fake cures for the disease.
Trump’s enthusiasm for hydroxy was based on a French study of 20 patients in March that showed the drugs might work against the virus. But many scientists have questioned the methods that study and one from China used, saying more research on the drug was needed.
Trump has repeatedly touted stories he’s heard of hydroxy’s effect on those with the coronavirus.
In early April, he talked about Michigan State Rep. Karen Whitsett, who he saw on Ingraham’s show the previous evening talking about her experience with the drug.
‘A woman last night, I watched her on one of the shows, good show, Laura, and she thought she was dead. She was a representative from Michigan. She was just in horrible shape for 12 days, 14 days. She thought she was dead. I think she said that her doctor said it’s going to be very tough. She saw me talking about this and she asked her husband to go to the drugstore. This is a Democrat representative, a person that you know perhaps wouldn’t be voting for me. I think she will be voting for me now even if she’s a Democrat,’ he said.
‘She asked her husband, she said please go out. I’m not going to make it. You have to hear her story. Please go out and get it. He went at 10:00 in the evening to the drugstore and he got it. He gave it to her. I don’t say it works like this but four hours later she woke and she said I feel better. And then shortly thereafter she felt great,’ the president said.
Ingraham met with Trump in the Oval Office to tout the drug. Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, has been an advocate of hydroxy.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, has both been advocates of hydroxychloroquine
Trump repeatedly has advocated for hydroxychloroquine to be used as a treatment option for the coronavirus even as many medical officials – including Dr. Tony Fauci, who sits on the White House Coronavirus Task Force – have urged a more cautious approach, noting the lack of reputable scientific studies on hydroxychloroquine.
And, in early April, during an impromptu White House press briefing Trump stopped Fauci from answering a question from a reporter about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine.
When reporters tried to get Fauci’s opinion on the drug – after he previously warned against seeing the malaria medication as a wonder drug – Trump stepped in and stopped the question.
‘We’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. And hopefully in the not-too-distant future we’ll be very proud of the job we all did,’ Trump said, instead of letting Fauci answer.