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Man Dies In Phoenix After Ingesting Chemical Touted By President Trump For COVID-19

ABC News

A man is dead and a woman is in critical condition in Phoenix after they took a chemical they thought would prevent COVID-19 infection. It was recently touted by President Trump as a possible safeguard against the virus. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The couple, both in their 60s, ingested chloroquine phosphate, a chemical commonly used to clean aquariums. According to Banner Health, within 30 minutes they became ill and were rushed to a hospital where the man died.

Chloroquine in a different form is a common antimalarial drug. During a news conference last week, President Trump mentioned it as a potential coronavirus treatment. However, moments later infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, said chloroquine was unproven and there’s only anecdotal evidence it could be effective.

The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved any medications to treat coronavirus. Medical toxicologists and emergency physicians are warning the public against taking inappropriate medications or household products to prevent or treat COVID-19.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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