Arizona man dies, wife ill after taking drug touted as virus treatment: “Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure”


A Phoenix-area man has died and his wife was in critical condition after the couple took chloroquine phosphate, CBS affiliate KPHO reported. The additive used to clean fish tanks that is also found in an anti-malaria medication that’s been touted by President Donald Trump as a treatment for COVID-19.

Banner Health said Monday that the couple in their 60s got sick within half an hour of ingesting the additive. The man couldn’t be resuscitated when he arrived at a hospital, but the woman was able to throw up much of the chemical, Banner said.


“I saw it sitting on the back shelf and thought, ‘Hey, isn’t that the stuff they’re talking about on TV?'” the woman told NBC.

“Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure,” she said, adding her advice for people would be, “Don’t take anything. Don’t believe anything. Don’t believe anything that the president says and his people … call your doctor.”

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Banner Health is warning everyone to avoid self-medicating.


“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, Banner Poison and Drug Information Center medical director. “The last thing that we want right now is to inundate our emergency departments with patients who believe they found a vague and risky solution that could potentially jeopardize their health.”


At a news conference last week, Mr. Trump falsely stated  that the Food and Drug Administration had just approved the use of an anti-malaria medication called chloroquine to treat patients infected with coronavirus. Even after the FDA chief clarified that the drug still needs to be tested for that use, Mr. Trump overstated the drug’s potential upside in containing the virus.

On Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, called Mr. Trump’s assertions about hydroxychloroquine “anecdotal” and said there is no evidence that it is effective for COVID-19 patients. But the next day, Mr. Trump was still touting the drug on social media.

Chloroquine is obtained by prescription, and Banner Health is now urging medical providers against prescribing it to people who aren’t hospitalized. There are reports of people stockpiling the drug, and people with lupus, who need a version of the medication on a regular basis, say they are struggling to fill their long-standing prescriptions.

The difference between the fish tank cleaning additive that the couple took and the drug used to treat malaria is the way they are formulated.

The World Health Organization has launched a global clinical trial to study the potential effectiveness of a number of drugs to treat coronavirus, including hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.

But Science magazine reports, “In guidance published on Friday, the US Society of Critical Care Medicine said that ‘there is insufficient evidence to issue a recommendation on the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine in critically ill adults with COVID-19.'” It adds that hydroxychloroquine, in particular, can have side effects, in some cases affecting the heart, which could be a serious concern for vulnerable COVID-19 patients.

The man’s death came as the number of COVID-19 cases in Arizona spiked more than 50% in one day, from 152 on Sunday to 235 on Monday, according to the state Health Department.

Pima County reported its first coronavirus death: A woman in her 50s with an underlying health condition.

It marked the third COVID-19 death in Arizona. Two men, one in his 70s and one in his 50s, died previously from the disease. Both had underlying conditions.

Gov. Doug Ducey said he’s working on an “economic protection plan” to help people struggling with the loss of income, but he did not outline details. He said it will be released soon.

Ducey also answered questions about the role of the National Guard in Arizona, which the governor called upon last week. Ducey said the Guard is now involved only in shoring up the supply chain for grocery stores and food banks, but “they’re going to be flexible.”

He said he’d deploy the Guard as needed but sidestepped a question about whether the soldiers would be involved in law enforcement.

About 100 National Guard soldiers received briefings Monday from medical, legal, public affairs and others staff, Major Aaron Thacker said. All were given a basic medical screening to check for a fever, he said.

“They’re preparing for the mission,” Thacker said. “I’m anticipating in the next couple of days you’re going to see a large volume of guardsmen crossing across the state in order to support the needs of the food banks.”

The Guard expects to mobilize more than 700 people this week, but it wasn’t clear exactly when they would hit the streets, and many more could be expected.

Ducey anticipates the response to the virus will include up to 5,500 Arizona National Guard personnel, he wrote Friday in a letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper requesting federal money and additional authority. That would represent the majority of the Guard’s 7,600 members. Ducey said the state needs immediate help in several areas including planning, consulting, logistics and supplies, testing and personnel movement.

People have tested positive in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties, including 139 cases in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous.

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, older adults and people with health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the virus.


Dr. Cara Christ, Arizona’s top health official, said the state is preparing for surging demand on hospitals. She said possibilities include building three field hospitals and re-opening shuttered medical centers, and using a former basketball arena to house patients leaving the hospital but not yet well enough to go home.

Ducey issued an executive order outlining “essential services” that can continue to operate if the state or any local government issues an order for people to stay home. The essential services include health care, food suppliers, gas stations, banks, hardware stores, laundromats, home repair and infrastructure.

Ducey said he’s preparing for the future but there’s no need currently for a stay-at-home order like those issued in several U.S. cities and states, including California and New York.

“Arizona is not there yet,” Ducey said. “We’re not at the same stage as other states.”



People with Type A blood are MORE likely to catch coronavirus than those with Type O, study claims

People with Type A blood are significantly more likely to catch coronavirus than those with Type O, Chinese academics have found. The study in Wuhan – the epicentre of the disease – also found those with Type A blood are more likely to die from COVID-19.

In the general population Type O blood (34%) is more common than A (32%). However, among COVID-19 patients, people with Type O accounted for just 25%, whereas Type A made up 41%. 

People with Type O blood made up a quarter (25 per cent) of deaths in the research. Normally, Type O people make up 32 per cent of people in Wuhan. 

The controversial correlation has yet to be scrutinised by other academics in peer review and the researchers are unable to explain why infection varies by blood type.  

Researchers in China assessed 2,173 people who had been diagnosed with the coronavirus, including 206 people who died after contracting the virus, from three hospitals in Hubei. 

Academics compared the data of the infected Wuhan patients with 3,694 non-infected people in the same region. 

Of the 206 patients in the study who died, 85 had type A blood, equivalent to 41 per cent of all deaths. 

In the healthy Wuhan population, a city of 11 million people, 34 per cent of people are type A.

In the study cohort, 52 of the people who died were type O, making up a quarter of all deaths. Under normal conditions just 32 per cent of people are type O. 

The figures for all infections, not just deaths, are 26 per cent and 38 per cent for type O and type A, respectively.  

The coronavirus pandemic has infected almost 200,000 people and killed more than 8.000 worldwide. More than 3,200 deaths were in China, the disease’s ground-zero.   

The researchers write: ‘Blood group O was associated with a lower risk of death compared with non-O groups. To the contrary, blood group A was associated with a higher risk of death compared with non-A groups.’

The researchers point out that a larger study group would make the figures more reliable. 

The researchers believe this correlation may reveal type O people are less susceptible to the SARS-COV-2 virus. 

‘People of blood group A might need particularly strengthened personal protection to reduce the chance of infection,’ wrote the researchers in their paper, which has not yet been peer-reviewed but has been published online on  medrxiv . 

‘Sars-CoV-2-infected patients with blood group A might need to receive more vigilant surveillance and aggressive treatment. ‘

The researchers add: ‘It might be helpful to introduce ABO blood typing in both patients and medical personnel as a routine part of the management of Sars-CoV-2 and other coronavirus infections, to help define the management options and assess risk exposure levels of people’. 

Gao Yingdai, a researcher with the State Key Laboratory of Experimental Haematology in Tianjin, told South China Morning Post: ‘[The study] may be helpful to medical professionals, but ordinary citizens should not take the statistics too seriously.

‘If you are type A, there is no need to panic. It does not mean you will be infected 100 percent.

‘If you are type O, it does not mean you are absolutely safe, either. You still need to wash your hands and follow the guidelines issued by authorities.’

The difference in blood groups depends on attachments to red blood cells called antigens. The presence, or absence, of these molecules dictates what blood type a person is. 

Previous research has indicates people with types A, B and AB blood have an increased risk of coronary heart disease compared to people with type O blood.

Other research claims people with blood type A have a 24 per cent higher risk of heart attack than people than people with AB or O blood types. 

Commenting on the research, Professor Robin C May of the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham, who was not involved in the study, said its findings do not explain the mechanisms that show whether a person with blood type A is more susceptible to the Covid-19 disease.

He said that as this coronavirus infects the lungs, it is ‘harder to see how a virus that does not live in red blood cells would be impacted by your blood type’.

According to Professor May, the results from the study should ‘definitely not’ be a cause for concern for those with A type blood, as ‘the proportion of increased risk associated with the blood group is quite slender’ when compared with ‘the proportion of relative risk of washing your hands’.

In the UK population, 48 per cent have blood type O, making it the most common blood group, while 38 per cent have type A.

GPs do not routinely check people’s blood groups so for those wanting to know their blood type, one of the options is to donate blood through the NHS Blood and Transplant, which will be recorded on the official donor card.