An immunocompromised New York City Councilman who underplayed the severity of his COVID-19 diagnosis in April now says that it was actually much worse, and hydroxychloroquine saved his life.
Paul Vallone, a Democrat who represents Queens, says he took the drug along with a 'Z-pack' antibiotic and drastically improved within days.
"I couldn’t breathe, very weak, couldn’t get out of bed. My doctor prescribed it. My pharmacy had it. Took it that day and within two to three days I was able to breathe," Vallone told the New York Post, adding "Within a week I was back on my feet."
Though Vallone went public with his coronavirus diagnosis in an April 1 Twitter post, saying he was experiencing “mild symptoms,” his actual condition was considerably more severe. Vallone’s initial prognosis was particularly grim, as he also suffers from sarcoidosis, an auto-immune disease that attacks his lungs.
“We were in panic mode when I went down because I didn’t have a lot of immune response,” he said. “I needed something to stay alive.” -New York Post
Vallone's brother, former City Councilman Peter who currently serves as a civil court judge in Queens, is now a believer in the drug.
"I guess all those doctors who are prescribing it are right. This drug is already on the market and the patent is up so it’s cheap. A new drug won’t be. So big money does not want this drug to be used. Always follow the money," Peter said in a May 12 Facebook post.
Paul, responding in the comments section, said "[It] saved my life."
Hydroxychloroquine, or HCQ, is a commonly used anti-malaria drug also used for decades to treat lupus and arthritis. It became covid-19 treatment non-grata, however, after President Trump touted the inexpensive drug earlier this year - admitting to taking a course as a prophylactic against the disease.
"You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the frontline workers before you catch it. The frontline workers — many, many are taking it," Trump said in May.
Studies on the drug have been mixed but mostly positive, with recent evidence pointing to significant results against COVID-19 when used early in the disease's progression.
Paul Vallone reflected on his April diagnosis, saying "At that time, there was only fear and panic, he offered hope in a possible treatment when there was none. With my sarcoidosis and then my COVID symptoms, It basically saved me. For that my family will always be thankful."