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Early on in his March press briefings, Trump started mentioning that the drug may show promise and that he was hopeful about it, but people should defer to their physician [0]. It was always qualified, early-on expression of hope for anything really that may lessen the impact (esp. because it's cheap and pervasive).

Trump pointed to doctors publishing reports of how they were using it in China and Korea, amongst others. That regimen, incidentally, seemed to involve a loading dose, followed by about five days, taken in conjunction with azithromycin and zinc. Innocuous, except for extreme edge cases (source: I took HCQ for years and am overly familiar with its health risks, zpacks and zinc speak for themselves). It was suspected (confirmed, I think) that he ended up taking this regimen himself.

Trump may also have known then (as do any of you smart folk) that the odds of a working vaccine for any coronavirus are long, to be generous. So antiviral treatments become pretty important when you know there's probably no vaccine coming. [1]

He also called in a favor to Modi when India (HCQ's primary producer) put a hold on all exports of the drug, and got millions of doses shipped to the US.

So the media treated this recurring talking point as him irresponsibly endorsing the drug and stories started coming out to make it a "gotcha" moment, including the ludicrous story of a retired engineer who drank pool cleaner containing chloroquine phospate, implying he did so only because of Trump's "endorsement" [1]. Further, any story of a retroactive analysis showing inefficacy of HCQ or better - health risks - got an inordinate amount of coverage (inordinate, considering such studies were no better than the evidence promoting it, or made claims of unrealistic health risks).

If you didn't watch the source material of Trump's statements, but relied on new reports, you'd be forgiven for thinking that he has been giving medical treatment advice this whole time and causing deaths from people drinking clorox. It stands to reason, though, that the same sources that pushed Russiagate [3] for years may not be the best authorities on what Trump has or has not said.

[0] https://www.c-span.org/video/?470503-1/president-trump-coron...

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/22/why-we-might-n...

[2] https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronavirus-no-ho...

[3] https://theintercept.com/2020/05/14/new-documents-from-the-s...




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