A Democrat state representative from Detroit, Michigan, who has been battling the coronavirus for weeks, is crediting hydroxychloroquine for saving her life, the Detroit Free Press reported on Monday. State Rep. Karen Whitset thanked President Trump —even as the corporate media continued to criticize him for touting an “unproven” drug—because she would not have asked for it unless he had brought it up.
Whitset and her husband have both suffered a range of symptoms—including swollen lymph nodes, and shortness of breath—since March 18, according to the Free Press.
She started taking taking hydroxychloroquine in combination with antibiotics on March 31.
Whitset told the news outlet that she started feeling relief in “less than two hours,” although she is still experiencing headaches.
Whitsett said she was familiar with “the wonders” of hydroxychloroquine from an earlier bout with Lyme disease, but does not believe she would have thought to ask for it, or her doctor would have prescribed it, had Trump not been touting it as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
Trump, at his daily coronavirus briefings, has repeatedly touted the drug in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin, despite criticism from health professionals that it is unproven and potentially dangerous. There have also been complaints that Trump’s remarks have resulted in a shortage of the drug for those people who normally use it for its recommended purposes.
But the freshman lawmaker had only praise for Trump’s comments about the potential benefits of the drug.
“It has a lot to do with the president … bringing it up,” Whitsett said. “He is the only person who has the power to make it a priority.”
When asked if she thinks Trump may have saved her life, Whitsett said: “Yes, I do,” and “I do thank him for that.”
Whitsett said her husband works as an engineer at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and the couple believes he was exposed at work. He is still awaiting the results of his COVID-19 test, she said.
She’s also lost people close to her through COVID-19 — a fellow Detroit lawmaker and a member of the clergy, among others — and said the entire experience has been scary.
“This is a very uncertain time,” she said. “As a lawmaker, I want to be sure, but I’m not always sure.”
The governor of Michigan initially restricted the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat patients suffering with the coronavirus, but reversed course last week after the Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use of the drugs for COVID-19 patients.
On Monday, a major medical society also endorsed using hydroxychloroquine for seriously ill coronavirus patients.
The American Thoracic Society, which specializes in the treatment of respiratory diseases, issued the following guidelines for COVID-19 patients with pneumonia:
“To prescribe hydroxychloroquine (or chloroquine) to hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia if all of the following apply: a) shared decision-making is possible, b) data can be collected for interim comparisons of patients who received hydroxychloroquine (or chloroquine) versus those who did not, c) the illness is sufficiently severe to warrant investigational therapy, and d) the drug is not in short supply,” the Thoracic Society said.
Availability of the life-saving drug was threatened last week, when India banned exports of all forms of hydroxychoroquine in order to preserve supplies for domestic use. Nearly half of the supply of the drug to the U.S. comes from India.
But the Asian nation reportedly agreed to make an exception for the United States after President Trump talked to Indian Prime Minister Modi.
BREAKING: India has allowed the export of Hydroxychloroquine to the United States, making an exception to its earlier ban on exports to keep supply for themselves.
"The decision follows a telephone conversation between Trump and PM Modi on Saturday" pic.twitter.com/B4j8tpyL1d
— Mike Coudrey (@MichaelCoudrey) April 6, 2020