Last week, President Donald J. Trump made medical expert’s heads collectively explode when he announced out of the blue that he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure against the coronavirus. After his announcement, experts and news hosts everywhere began sending out warnings for people not to take after the president. They emphasized that the anti-malaria drug has not been proven to be effective against the virus, and could even be fatal.
Of course, none of that sage advice was heeded by many Trump allies. Right-wing hosts like Sebastian Gorka and Mike Coudrey almost immediately announced that they too were taking the drug. Coudrey even posted a picture on his Twitter feed to prove he was taking it. The only problem with his picture is that it shows the “other” drug, azithromycin that supporters of the unproven treatment believe could enhance hydroxychloroquine. But none of that has stopped any of them from pushing the unproven remedy like a pusher pushes meth.
I have been taking #hydroxychloriquine for the past month, no side effects, actually feel great & I feel like I have increased energy & higher mental clarity.
My face is also very plush & vibrant, likely bc the drug increases extracellular H202 production & helps immune system pic.twitter.com/tD9EHSzdJ3
— Mike Coudrey (@MichaelCoudrey) May 19, 2020
Are Trump and his media allies really taking the medication(s)? No one actually knows. It is possible they or others are following the advice of conservative media personality, Lionel Lebron. He is a QAnon conspiracy theorist who visited Trump in the White House in 2018, urged his fans to lie about taking the drug just to anger liberals.
#HCQ. Tell everyone you’re taking it. Even if you’re not. Say you’re taking it via enema. A high colonic with a twist of lime. You’re bathing in it. Say you’re having clothes made with fibers soaked in HCQ. Name your dog HCQ. Tattoo it on your forehead. Drive these idiots nuts.
— 🇺🇸Lionel🇺🇸 (@LionelMedia) May 19, 2020
Regardless if Trump and his media minions are or are not taking the drug(s) it seems that if the QAnon crowd has its way, HCQ could be the next meth. The conspiracy theorist(s) published a home recipe so anyone who watched Breaking Bad and said to themself — “yeah, I could do that” — can now try their hand at amateur home chemistry. From the Daily Beast …
Other Trump fans desperate for hydroxychloroquine have turned to unconventional, potentially dangerous methods. Last week, promoters of the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory—which posits that top Democrats run pedophile sex dungeons and eat children—boosted a “home recipe” for hydroxychloroquine that consisted of steeping various fruit rinds. While the recipe’s proponents claimed that it would help people avoid “big pharmas fillers,” the fruits suggested in the recipe, like grapefruit, could react dangerously with other medications.
They aren’t alone. a video made by Trumpian Chiropractor Eric Nepute raging against “fake news” went viral, racking up more than 1 million views. In his video, Nepute claimed that people with COVID-19 symptoms should just drink Schweppes Tonic Water for the quinine, wrongly claiming that its effects were “similar-ish” to hydroxychloroquine.
Experts also point out that because of the small amount of quinine in tonic water would require them to consume about 25 liters a day to have any of the intended effects — if any of the unproven theories actually hold any water — which none have shown so far.
People should not forget that people once thought that methamphetamine was just a fun cheap “high.” Over time, millions learned just how expensive meth is when it cost them their families, their jobs, their homes, their health, and sometimes their lives. If the consensus of the medical and scientific community is correct, HCQ, even if made at home, could end up being just as expensive — and deadly.
If it turns out that Trump and his media allies were lying about taking HCQ, then all of them will have a lot of blood to wash off their hands.