A newly widowed Arizona woman in intensive care is urging Americans to take medical advice from doctors — and not U.S. President Donald Trump — after her husband died from swallowing a form of chloroquine the POTUS touted as a coronavirus “game-changer.”
The woman and her husband, both in their 60s, were rushed to hospital after ingesting chloroquine phosphate on Monday, according to a statement from Banner Health in Phoenix, Ariz. The man died in hospital and the woman remains in intensive care.
The woman told NBC News that she and her husband tried chloroquine because they heard President Trump talking about it as a powerful drug for fighting the coronavirus during a recent press conference.
“Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure,” said the woman, who asked NBC that her identity remain anonymous.
The poisoned woman said she and her husband each took a spoonful of chloroquine phosphate, which they had around the house as a fish-tank cleaner. She says they saw “chloroquine” on the label and figured it was what Trump was talking about.
The pair became violently ill within 30 minutes.
“My husband started developing respiratory problems and wanted to hold my hand,” she said. The woman says she struggled to call 911 because she kept falling over and vomiting.
“I was having a hard time talking,” she told NBC News. “I fought for my life.”
When asked what message she wanted to share with others, the woman kept it simple.
“Don’t take anything — don’t believe anything the president says,” the woman said.
“They don’t know what they’re talking about.”
Trump did say that chloroquine “could be an absolute, total game-changer,” during a briefing on the COVID-19 disease last Thursday.
Coronavirus outbreak: Trump says FDA has approved Chloroquine for COVID-19 testing
“We have a drug called chloroquine, a derivation would be hydroxychloroquine, which I hear even better about, it’s a common malaria drug,” Trump said at the press conference. “We’re encouraging you to take a look at it. We have ordered a lot of it and you can, too. It’s by prescription. It’s a very powerful drug for malaria.”
To date, Trump has not offered a full breakdown of the risks and payoffs of ingesting various forms of chloroquine. He has simply recommended people take it or try it with other drugs.
The president has repeatedly doubled down on his initial backing of chloroquine, including at another news conference on Saturday.
At least three people in Nigeria have also died from chloroquine overdoses since Trump’s initial statement about it, according to that country’s health officials. They’re now urging their citizens not to use the drug as a preventive measure for COVID-19.
Trump has retweeted several of his political allies who backed his initial chloroquine claim in recent days, including one who suggested that Trump has no link to the latest death.
Trump, who has no medical background, spent several weeks downplaying the threat of the virus in February and early March.
“It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear,” he said at a White House meeting on Feb. 27.
He has since pivoted to claiming that he was ahead of the curve on coronavirus, not behind it.
“I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic,” he said on March 17.
The U.S. currently has the third-highest number of coronavirus infections in the world, behind only Italy and China. The country is also lagging behind on actually testing people so it can accurately report the number of infected, according to multiple reports.
Fears of the virus have sparked a flood of rumours, false claims and scientifically unverified anecdotes about cures involving everything from garlic water to cocaine to — in this case — chloroquine.
Health officials have urged people to avoid taking chloroquine to treat or prevent COVID-19.
“Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus, but self-medicating is not the way to do so,” said Dr. Daniel Brooks, the medical director for Banner Poison and Drug Information Center, in the organization’s statement.
He added that people who pursue a “vague and risky solution” such as chloroquine are only adding unnecessary strain to the healthcare system.
“We are strongly urging the medical community to not prescribe this medication to any non-hospitalized patients,” said Dr. Brooks.
The man’s widow also urged people to heed the advice of doctors over anything else, given the high stakes involved.
“Be so careful and call your doctor,” she said.
“This is a heartache I’ll never get over.”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
—With files from The Associated Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
OPH investigating 16 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ottawa, bringing total to 122 – OttawaMatters.com
Ottawa Public Health says it is investigation 122 positive confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city — that’s 16 new cases in total.
The city health authority is also investigating two institutional outbreaks of the virus, one of which at Maplewood Retirement Community, OPH confirmed in a Sunday statement.
This is following the health authority’s announcement of 31 confirmed cases on Saturday.
According to Dr. Vera Etches, the retirement home has implemented outbreak management and OPH is connecting with close contacts.
“All residents have been notified and are in self-isolation,” Etches said in a statement. “Staff at the retirement home continue to be screened and have been instructed to wear personal protective equipment in the building, specifically wearing a mask when entering the building and following droplet/contact procedures in all resident rooms.”
Further details of individuals who have tested positive were not provided.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and every citizen must continue doing their part to keep themselves, their family members, their neighbours, co-workers and community members healthy and safe, and reduce the spread of the virus,” Etches added.
Etches urges everyone to continue to practicing physical distancing and to self-isolate if symptoms develop for 14 days or travel was involved. Those with the virus are also to continue their isolation 24 hours after symptoms have fully resolved.
People are also encouraged to avoid visiting elderly friends or relatives unless the visit is essential.
For more tips on how to stay safe, visit the OPH website.
The total number of positive cases in Ontario is now at 1,355.
‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand – Red Deer Advocate
OTTAWA — Canadians have been coming forward in large numbers to donate blood after Canadian Blood Services warned of a possible shortage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Blood donor clinics have extended their hours and put in place strict safety protocols for anyone giving blood.
“The response has been tremendous,” Dr. Isra Levy, the agency’s vice-president of medical affairs and innovation, said Friday.
“From our point of view, the numbers are very, very satisfying in the sense that we’re able to match demand with supply. We really need to keep up that altruism that has motivated donors to come in.”
Canadian Blood Services operates a national blood inventory that allows products to be regularly shifted around the country to meet hospital and patient needs.
About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis.
Levy warned nearly two weeks ago that Canada was facing a critical blood shortage. Donations had dropped about 20 per cent because of concerns about the novel coronavirus.
Because of a suspension of elective surgeries, the demand for blood is also down about 15 per cent, Levy said Friday.
While things are going well now, he added, the concern is whether Canadians will continue to keep donating over the long run.
“We’re going to have this challenge for many weeks to come and the implication is we’re going to need our donors to really continue to show up,” Levy said.
“They need to think about things not about as an urgent and immediate need for blood, but as an ongoing, pressing concern that we have about a potential for a sudden drop in inventory.”
Calgary’s blood donor clinic had to reduce appointments last week because of long lineups and wait times.
Donors waited behind a red line outside the clinic while checking in. Inside, chairs were placed strategically in the waiting room and every other bed was used. Health workers wiped down every donor station thoroughly between patients.
Some donors recently took to social media to discuss the importance of giving.
“First real trip out of the house in a while to Canadian Blood Services. As a former recipient, I understand first hand the importance of donors,” wrote Katie Mitchell on Instagram.
“They have put great steps in place to have donors maintain social distancing requirements. So happy I wasn’t rejected.”
“My dad needs transfusions every three weeks so in addition to worrying about COVID-19, he’s concerned about blood supply shortages,” wrote Sara Jane O’Neill on Twitter.
“Please donate if you can.”
Levy said some donors in Ottawa have told him that they feel they’re able to make a difference when everything else in the world is out of their control.
“It’s a sense of contribution in an uncertain time,” he said.
“The people who are showing up at our donor collection centres, anecdotally, express a sense of satisfaction that they’re able to do something for the community beyond staying at home and finding ways to fill their time.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 27, 2020
— By Bill Graveland in Calgary. Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter
The Canadian Press
8 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba, bringing total to 72 – CBC.ca
There are eight new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba, bringing the province’s total to 72.
Health officials made the announcement at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building Sunday morning.
Officials are looking into the new cases to determine where those people got the coronavirus and whether they could have passed it to anyone else.
One of the patients is in an intensive care unit, and another has been admitted to hospital, chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said.
He said two Manitobans have recovered from the virus so far.
The total number of deaths from the virus reported in Manitoba remains at one: a Winnipeg woman in her 60s, who died Friday after she was admitted to an intensive care unit in critical condition the previous week.
More than 7,000 tests for COVID-19 have been done in the province so far.
Roussin reiterated that the measures the province has taken under the Public Health Act will come into effect on Monday, including limiting public gatherings to 10 people and requiring retail businesses like grocery stores to make sure people are one to two metres apart.
These new measures bolster what was previously only a recommendation.
On Saturday, Manitoba saw its biggest jump in COVID-19 cases since the virus was first detected here, as health officials announced 25 new patients had been identified.
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