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Desperation, Risk and Science - the Dilemma Facing Public Health Amid COVID-19

The revelation made yesterday by United States (US) President Donald Trump that he has been taking a drug, not approved by his Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the treatment of COVID-19, as a prophylaxis for the disease, certainly creates greater chaos among those ill-informed amid a desperation to find a treatment and/or cure against the pandemic, which has now infected some 5 million people worldwide and has killed more than 300,000, including 1.5 million infections in the US and more than 90,000 deaths.

Trump's stark disclosure of using the malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine - a drug his health agencies found no evidence of effectiveness in the treatment or prevention of COVID-19, is indicative of the gamble the president is willing to take with the public health in America in order to get the US economy back to pre-COVID-19 levels so as to throw his re-election ambitions a much needed lifeline. His actions also add frustration to some Americans, who are desperately struggling to temper risk versus science amid the still spreading deadly pandemic.

Trump has touted and suggested Americans to take the malaria medication for the treatment of COVID-19 for a number of weeks. His challenge to Americans as to what they have to lose by taking the drug, certainly comes against factual warnings from his health agencies that Hydroxychloroquine could have severe and deadly cardiac consequences to users. Yet, the president has bucked science and doctors by suggesting and taking the drug. And, unfortunately, those naysayers to science, information and education could fall fatally victimized to their president's suggestions and actions.

Safety and rational public health is paramount in all societies. Therefore, in the mounting fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the people, even in desperation for normalcy, should be rationally advised to elect science over all risks.