Dr. Vladimir “Zev” Zelenko, believed to be the unnamed doctor mentioned by Donald Trump who touted hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19, says he thinks the US president is “smart” to self-administer the malaria drug.
Asked what he thought of the president’s tactic, Zelenko tells Channel 12: “I said good for him, and I think good for us. I think the president’s smart. He’s in his 70s and he’s exposed to many people, and he’s at high risk. He’s doing exactly what I’m doing.”
Trump decided to take hydroxychloroquine after two White House staffers tested positive for the disease, but he already had spent months promoting the drug as a potential cure or preventive despite the cautionary advice of many of his administration’s top medical professionals. The drug has the potential to cause significant side effects in some patients and has not been shown to combat the virus.
“I got a letter from a doctor the other day, from Westchester, New York, around the area, he did not want anything. He just said: ‘Sir I have hundreds of patients and I give them hydroxychloroquine, I give them the z-pack, which is azithromycin, and I give them zinc, and out of the hundreds of patients, many patients, more than 300, I haven’t lost one,’” Trump said. “He said: ‘Please keep pressing that sir.’”
Trump did not name the doctor, but it matches the description of Jewish physician Zelenko who has put out several videos addressed to the public, Trump, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touting the use of those three drugs in his treatment of hundreds of cases.
Trump emphatically defends himself Tuesday against criticism from medical experts and others that his announced use of a malaria drug against the coronavirus could spark wide misuse by Americans of the unproven treatment with potentially fatal side effects.
Trump’s bland statement a day earlier that he was taking hydroxychloroquine caught many in his administration by surprise and set off an urgent effort by officials to justify his action. The government has warned that the drug should be administered for COVID-19 only in a hospital or research setting.
— with AP