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Deborah Birx, co-ordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, was asked at a media briefing on Friday to respond, in light of Donald Trump’s enthusiastic promotion of hydroxychloroquine, to the recent Lancet study of the drug suggesting that it could cause heart problems and even increase the risk of mortality for coronavirus patients.

As a medical professional having sworn to uphold the Hippocratic Oath and at the fore of the US government’s response to an unprecedented health threat, you might imagine that she would use the opportunity to clearly and painstakingly endorse the findings of the study and use her time at the podium to leave Americans with no uncertainty that the taking of hydroxychloroquine to treat and prevent coronavirus is not only ill-advised but dangerous...

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