March 25, 2020

Around the nation: Doctors warn against taking chloroquine products for COVID-19

Daily Briefing

    An Arizona man and his wife ingested an aquarium product that contained large amounts of chloroquine after reading online that the compound may help combat the new coronavirus, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

    • Arizona: Fearing they might have COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, an Arizona man and his wife ingested an aquarium product that contained large amounts of chloroquine after reading online that the compound may help combat the virus. The couple felt sick within 30 minutes and went to a local ED, where the man died and the woman was resuscitated. Researchers currently are testing whether existing chloroquine medications—which are commonly used to prevent malaria—also could be used to fight COVID-19, and President Trump has touted chloroquine as a possible treatment. However, researchers note that chloroquine medications can cause significant side effects and warn they should not be used to treat COVID-19 without first evaluating the drugs' safety and effectiveness for the disease (KTAR News, 3/23).

    • Pennsylvania: The Massaro Construction Group will donate N95 facemasks—which are in shortage for health care facilities nationwide due to the nation's coronavirus epidemic—to the Allegheny Health Network. Steven Massaro, president of Massaro Construction, said, "These times are unprecedented and therefore require our community to come together, pull resources, and design a support system that plays a role in reducing potential risks associated with this [epidemic]" (Doughty, Pittsburgh Business Times, 3/24).

    • Rhode Island: CVS Health announced that it will hire 50,000 new employees and provide all employees who are required to work on-site during the United States' coronavirus epidemic with bonuses of up $500. CVS CEO Larry Merlo in a statement said, "Our colleagues have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to providing essential goods and services at a time when they're needed most." He added, "As they continue to be there for the individuals and families we serve, we're taking extra steps to provide some peace of mind and help them navigate these uncertain times" (Bomey, USA Today, 3/23).
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