Mar 21, 2020 - Health

Trump touts drugs not yet approved by FDA for treating coronavirus

Trump briefs the press on March 20. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Saturday that hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, and azithromycin, an antibiotic, "have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine" when taken together — as novel coronavirus cases surge in the U.S.

Reality check, via Axios' Sam Baker: Hydroxychloroquine has shown some promise against the coronavirus in a very small French study, but it is not federally approved to treat the COVID-19 because no official studies have been conducted to determine whether it's both safe and effective for those sick patients.

  • "What I said is that we don’t have definitive proof that it works," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday on Fox, in regards to the anti-malarial drug chloroquine. "So what we need to do, since there are suggestions anecdotally that it works, try to get it available, but to do it in the context of a protocol where we accomplish two things."
  • "We make something that’s maybe hope and promising for someone, at the same time we determine whether or not it’s safe and whether or not it actually does work," Fauci added.

Go deeper: Chloroquine, an old anti-malarial drug, takes the coronavirus spotlight

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World coronavirus updates: Fewer deaths in Italy and Spain, U.K. toll jumps

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Health officials in Italy and Spain are seeing a glimmer of hope, as both countries reported a decline in deaths from the novel coronavirus Sunday. But the death toll continues to surge in the United Kingdom, which now has the world's fourth highest number of fatalities from COVID-19.

The big picture: The virus has killed more than 69,000 people and infected 1.25 million others globally as of early Monday, per Johns Hopkins data. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 131,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 15,000). About half the planet's population is now on lockdown.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll passes 9,600

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 9,600 in the U.S. Sunday night, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this upcoming week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health

How the coronavirus is upending childbirth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Expectant mothers are facing some daunting new realities amid the coronavirus outbreak.

What's happening: Some doctors, especially in areas that haven't seen large numbers of cases yet, are encouraging women to induce their labor. That can help keep mothers and babies out of the hospital later, when the risk of a coronavirus infection will be higher, and also helps free up beds that may be needed for COVID-19 patients.

Go deeperArrowApr 4, 2020 - Health