Could Donald Trump’s COVID-19 Treatment Accidentally Kill Him?

Aaron Dinin, PhD
9 min readMay 20, 2020
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

As the COVID-19 pandemic began shutting down the United States, early reports suggested an old drug used to treat malaria — hydroxychloroquine — had promising results. But the excitement surrounding hydroxychloroquine faded when further tests seemed to disprove its “miracle drug” status. A couple months later, the drug retook the spotlight after news surfaced that President Donald Trump began taking the medication to protect him from COVID-19. It’s reasonable to wonder: “If it’s a good idea for the president of the United States, is it a good idea for me?”

The arguments for and against hydroxychloroquine’s value in battling COVID-19 are heated, and I don’t know enough to take sides. However, I do know something about hydroxychloroquine’s side effects that’s unrelated to COVID-19 but has killed plenty of people. Since none of the mainstream conversations about the drug are mentioning it, I figured I should warn people. Maybe it’ll save a few lives. Maybe it’ll even save the President’s.

If you look carefully at discussions of hydroxychloroquine, you’ll see vague references to a possible side effect described as “heart problems.” You might think it’s referring to heart disease, which millions of people live with every day. Connecting “heart problems” with “heart disease” makes hydroxychloroquine seem less scary because heart disease can be improved through diet and exercise. Unfortunately, eating less bacon and spending more time on the elliptical won’t solve the heart problems caused by hydroxychloroquine. Instead, hydroxychloroquine causes problems with the heart’s electrical system.

Yes, your heart has an electrical system. It’s the part of your anatomy responsible for making your heart beat, which, as you might already know, is very important. The beating of your heart pumps blood to the rest of your body, giving all your organs the life-sustaining nutrients they need to do everything that allows you to exist. Naturally, that means you don’t want anything screwing with the heart’s electrical system.

Enter hydroxychloroquine. Hydroxychloroquine, that “safe” drug everyone keeps talking about in relation to COVID-19, messes with the heart’s electrical system. Some people’s hearts can handle the change. But some people’s hearts can’t. The…

Aaron Dinin, PhD

I teach entrepreneurship at Duke. Software Engineer. PhD in English. I write about the mistakes entrepreneurs make since I’ve made plenty. More @