Home/Rod Dreher/Fatal Idiocy Is Not Trump’s Fault

Fatal Idiocy Is Not Trump’s Fault

Do not eat this

Did you hear the story about the elderly couple in Arizona who … well, read it:

An Arizona man has died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate — believing it would protect him from becoming infected with the coronavirus. The man’s wife also ingested the substance and is under critical care.

The toxic ingredient they consumed was not the medication form of chloroquine, used to treat malaria in humans. Instead, it was an ingredient listed on a parasite treatment for fish.

More:

On Monday Banner Health, based in Arizona, said the couple, both in their 60s, took the additive called chloroquine phosphate.

The couple unfortunately equated the chloroquine phosphate in their fish treatment to the medication —known by its generic name, hydroxychloroquine — that’s recently been touted as a possible treatment for COVID-19, which has infected more than 42,000 people in the U.S. and killed at least 462.

An NBC News reporter spoke to the widow on the phone:

Oh, for pity’s sake, really,, ma’am? You’re seriously going to blame the president because you and your husband decided to eat stuff you’re supposed to use for treating sick aquarium fish? From NBC’s report:

The man’s wife told NBC News she’d watched televised briefings during which President Trump talked about the potential benefits of chloroquine. Even though no drugs are approved to prevent or treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, some early research suggests it may be useful as a therapy.

The name “chloroquine” resonated with the man’s wife, who asked that her name not be used to protect the family’s privacy. She’d used it previously to treat her koi fish.

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

No, it wasn’t! That’s not what the president has been talking about! It’s an algaecide.

In the audio clips released by NBC, the reporter did not challenge her blaming Trump because she and her husband ate chloroquine phosphate instead of hydroxychloroquine. Why not? Because it was too good to have a grieving widow on tape blaming Trump for her travails? I can imagine not wanting to be hard on a recently widowed woman in ICU, but come on.

At least NBC is not going as far as this radio station:

Here’s the headline on Axios:

That’s fake news, straight up. They did not eat “chloroquine,” in the sense that they ingested the stuff the president was talking about. They ate something different. The president did not tell them to eat that stuff. The president didn’t even tell them to ingest hydroxychloroquine, the actual fit-for-human-consumption drug!

There are a thousand coronavirus-related things you can legitimately fault Donald Trump for, but two people in Arizona eating fish tank cleaner because the president said that a legitimate drug that sounds like the active agent in the aquarium powder might show promise against coronavirus — that’s not one of them.

This is a sad story, for sure, but it’s the fault of this woman and her husband, nobody else.

UPDATE: Yup:

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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