A Michigan state lawmaker infected with COVID-19 is crediting the controversial anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine with saving her life. She proclaims she felt better within a few hours of taking her prescription which was difficult to obtain.
Democratic State Rep. Karen Whitsett of Detroit told FOX News’ “The Ingraham Angle” Monday that she went into home quarantine on March 12, the day she last attended a session at the State House in Lansing, and her condition only got worse from there.
“It took the longest [time] for me to actually be able to get an appointment and getting with my doctor, which was the 18th of March, and then actually getting the COVID test,” Whitsett said on the program.
She initially thought she’d contracted a bout of pneumonia and was prescribed the anti-viral drug amoxicillin.
But then on March 31, she tested positive for COVID-19. By then, she said, her condition had “just plummeted”.
“It went from the headaches being severe to fluid building up in my lungs, to sweats breaking out to the cough and my breathing being labored,” Whitsett said. “It all happened in a matter of hours.”
At the hospital, Whitsett learned that the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, under Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, had issued a state order prohibiting the use of hydroxychloroquine. Though that order was retracted several days later, at the time, Whitsett struggled to get her hands on the medication.
“I did have a difficult time, even that day, obtaining the medication because of an order that was put down in my state,” she said on the program. “And it was on that day so you can imagine how terrified I was that I had to beg and plead and go through a whole lot to try to get the medication.”
Whitsett suffers from chronic Lyme disease — for which hydroxychloroquine is also used as a treatment — but she said she had never thought of it as a potential coronavirus treatment until President Donald Trump touted the drug.
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“If President Trump had not talked about this it wouldn’t have been something that would be accessible for anyone to be able to get right now,” the lawmaker said.
“It has a lot to do with the president … bringing it up,” the freshman lawmaker told The Detroit Free Press. “He is the only person who has the power to make it a priority.”
Trump tweeted the Free Press’ story Monday.
Congratulations to State Representative Karen Whitsett of Michigan. So glad you are getting better! https://t.co/v6z46rUDtg
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 6, 2020
“Congratulations to State Representative Karen Whitsett of Michigan,” he wrote. “So glad you are getting better!”
Trump has repeatedly highlighted the drug’s ability to fight COVID-19, especially when combined with the antibiotic azithromycin. But health professionals have argued it is unproven and carries multiple risks. They also say Trump’s promotion of the drug could lead to a shortage of the medication of those who normally use it for other illnesses.