Fox News’ Neil Cavuto offered strident criticism of President Donald Trump after he told reporters that he was taking hydroxychloroquine and zinc as a prophylactic against coronavirus.
“I cannot stress enough: This will kill you,” he said, of patients in a “risky population.”
But Cavuto seemed taken aback moments later when he interviewed a doctor who said while the drug might not be good for some, “it may be beneficial and potentially life-saving for others,” and that people should consult their doctors.
Cavuto: Dr. Janette Nesheiwat with us right now. Doctor, what do you think of this — surprised a lot of folks, the president wanted to take hydroxychloroquine, the White House physician or physician team let him, as a preventative measure I guess, to ward off COVID-19. Do you agree with hydroxychloroquine for that use?
Dr. Nesheiwat: Hi, Neil. So it’s important to understand, first and foremost, this is an FDA-approved drug. It is not new, it’s been around for many years, and he is taking it as a prophylactic, preventative measure, which I think is very smart to do, because, you know, there’s a lot of people, we just saw recently the vice president’s press secretary tested positive. And you never know, with people coming and going, even if you test daily, you could pick it up, you know, that evening, and then potentially spread it, you know, the next day or two.
Cavuto: Would you recommend it, doctor? Doctor, Would you recommend it? Would you recommend it, someone who, a patient came to you, “Doctor, I just heard the President of the United States is taking this as a preventative measure for COVID-19, I want to do it, too. Would you write a prescription for that patient to do just that?
Dr. Nesheiwat: Neil, being a doctor on the front lines of this pandemic here in New York City, I have prescribed hydroxychloroquine to some of my patients. And for some of them, they said it helped tremendously. Some of them, it didn’t make much of a change. But each person needs to be looked at individually —
Cavuto: For COVID-19? COVID-19, to deal with it — not for malaria, lupus, but for COVID-19 — you were fine with that?
Dr. Nesheiwat: Yes, absolutely. For COVID-19. I have prescribed it to patients who were very, very ill. Some of them benefited from it. Some of them did not. So we need to look at each patient individually. You have to talk to your doctor. We have to look and see, do you have any underlying medical problems? Do you have post-follow-up? Will this medicine interact with any other medicines you may be on? So we have to look at the situation individually —
Cavuto: Well, I just had a doctor on — I just had a doctor on, just to be clear, and I want to make sure I’m sharing good advice with people at home — that if you had any respiratory issues, cardio-related issues, diabetes, or any — this is not the thing you want to be taking. Is — I had a prior physician on earlier, who was saying, under no circumstances would I allow that. What do you think?
Dr. Nesheiwat: That’s not necessarily true. We have to look at the individual medical history, their past medical history. Now, if you have an underlying cardiac arrhythmia, we ned to be careful. We might not want to put you on that unless, you know, you’re on your deathbed and it’s the last resort. But again, what’s important is that you look at the patient’s history, their underlying status, what medicines are they on, do they have any underlying medical problems. This is not a medication for everyone. But it’s important to have that conversation with your doctor to decide: is it best for you? Are you in a high-risk category of death from coronavirus — or, maybe you’re better off just taking high-dose zinc and vitamin D, for example. Both have been show to help fight coronavirus and help prevent viral replication.
Cavuto: Got it. So if you’re in any of that high-risk group, if you’re in any of that high-risk group — very quickly, doctor — that might have any of these other issues, because there are many right now who might, and are hearing the president say that i’s a good thing to do — are you saying that, that group, the one thing you could lose is your life. You’ve got to be very careful, or not?
Dr. Nesheiwat: It’s something that you can consider — again, you’ve got to have to have the discussion with your doctor to decide if it is best for you. It’s not going to be good for everyone. But it may be beneficial, and potentially life-saving for others. So think it is good to have this medication in our toolbox, along with remdesivir, while we wait for vaccines to become approved, and for other therapeutics to get on the market.
Cavuto: All right, doctor. All right, we will have more after this. Dr. Nesheiwat, thank you very much.
Earlier in the program, Cavuto spoke with Dr. Robert Lahita, a prominent physican in New York, who said that while “we use it in those who are very sick,” he had seen “no effect whatsoever.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.