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Trump Defends Hydroxychloroquine for COVID, Blames Testing for Surge in Cases

As coronavirus cases in the United States top 2,100,000, with over 116,000 reported deaths, the Food and Drug Administration has pulled its emergency-use authorization for antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, saying, “It is no longer reasonable to believe [they] may be effective in treating Covid-19.” The drugs have been repeatedly touted by President Trump, even as multiple studies showed they were not only ineffective for COVID-19, but potentially could result in heart attack or even death. When asked about this latest news, Trump continued to defend the drugs Monday.

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President Donald Trump: “People that were like seriously ill, like they weren’t going to make it, let’s give them a little hydroxy, and then they don’t make it, and they say, ‘Oh, wow, maybe the president was wrong.’ All I know is that we’ve had some tremendous reports.”

President Trump also blamed increased testing for the country’s high number of coronavirus cases. “If you don’t test, you don’t have any cases,” he told reporters. Vice President Mike Pence echoed this idea on a call with governors Monday, encouraging them to adopt the same message that more testing is leading to rising numbers, rather than community spread due to relaxed restrictions. But the data suggests recent spikes in cases are much greater than what would be reflected simply by a higher number of tests being administered.

Cases continue to surge in Arizona, where over 4,400 new cases were reported over the weekend. Arizona’s outbreak started surging in early June — two weeks after lifting its stay-at-home order. Arizona’s infection rate per capita is now more than three times higher than New York state. Florida, which is also seeing a spike in cases, reported Friday 3,400 children have tested positive for the coronavirus, 10 of whom have a serious inflammatory condition which has been described by health officials as similar to Kawasaki disease, or toxic shock syndrome.

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