Dear National Forum Members, Stakeholders, and Mayors in Move with the Mayor™,
The National Forum continues to drill down to help you answer questions about people with heart disease and diabetes being at risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Two questions we’re hearing this week are
- Who should wear a face covering and when? and
- If hydroxychloroquine might work against COVID-19, what’s the harm in trying it?
Face Coverings Are Advised
In a briefing on April 6, CDC Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases Jay Butler said CDC recommends that even people without symptoms of COVID-19 wear coverings over their noses and mouths when they may encounter other people. Dr. Butler stressed that face coverings do not replace social distancing or other proven strategies to prevent the spread of the disease. Rather, wearing a facial covering is an additional measure one can take to reduce the chances of infecting other people.
Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams has a great video showing how to make a facial covering using items found at home. If you have not already shared this with the people you serve, inform, and influence, you may want to do so
Chloroquine, Hydroxychloroquine – Unproven Treatments With Proven Side Effects
Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are getting lots of attention. Some people may view these medications as low-risk option that might work, so why not try one of them?
Public health experts point out that these medications’ effectiveness against COVID-19 has not been proven place but significant side effects have been. Dr. Butler highlighted that arrythmia—abnormal heartbeat—is an established side effect of hydroxychloroquine combined with azithromycin, and arrythmia can be fatal.
Clinical trials are currently taking place. Meantime, the National Forum recommends getting information from expert sources such as the American College of Cardiology (ACC), American Heart Association, CDC and NIH. ACC’s Cardiology Magazine has a good article about hydroxychloroquine and related potential treatments, “Ventricular Arrhythmia Risk Due to Hydroxychloroquine-Azithromycin Treatment For COVID-19.”
CDC: A Reliable Source
The National Forum recommends frequently checking CDC’s website for updates to its guidance for preventing and controlling the spread of COVID-19 in various settings.
I hope you are well and stay that way.
John M. Clymer
National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention