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Hospital: Arizona man dies after self-medicating to fend off COVID-19

Coronavirus

President Donald Trump speaks as Vice President Mike Pence, left, and FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor look on, during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Sunday, March 22, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

TAMPA (WFLA/AP) – An Arizona man has died after he swallowed chloroquine phosphate, an additive commonly used at aquariums to clean fish tanks in an attempt to protect himself from becoming infected with the coronavirus.

Banner Health says the couple in their 60s took chloroquine phosphate and got sick within 30 minutes.

Most patients who become infected with COVID-19 will only require symptomatic care and self-isolation to prevent the risk of infecting others.

The routine use of specific treatments, including medications described as ‘anti-COVID-19’, is not recommended for non-hospitalized patients, including the anti-malarial drug chloroquine as at this time there are no drugs approved to prevent or treat the coronavirus.

Dr. Daniel Brooks, medical director of Banner Poison and Drug Information Center, says the last thing health officials want is for emergency rooms to be swamped by patients who believe they found a vague and risky solution that could potentially jeopardize their health.

“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… We are strongly urging the medical community to not prescribe this medication to any non-hospitalized patients,” said Dr. Brooks.

Last week, President Trump falsely stated the Food and Drug Administration had just approved the use of chloroquine to treat patients infected with the coronavirus. Even after the FDA chief clarified that the drug still needs to be tested, Trump overstated the drug’s potential upside in containing the virus.

For disinfecting surfaces, the Centers for Diseases and Control Prevention recommends the use of diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol and common EPA-registered household disinfectants.

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