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Friday, August 7, 2020

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I’ve generally tried to stay out of the hydroxychloroquine debate. My hesitation has been for one reason and one reason only: I have no degree in medicine, and I don’t want to pretend otherwise. As my youngest son has said of my Ph.D., “Dad’s not a real doctor. He can’t really help anybody.”    

With my lack of medical credentials noted, however, I have decided it is time to get off the sidelines and engage this issue.  


Why?  

Put simply, the Democrats’ Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) is literally killing people.

Consider the following from the recent news cycle. 

On July 23, 2020, the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (AAPS) provided the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration copious amounts of data showing, among other things, that countries using hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) are attaining far lower mortality rates than the United States. “The mortality rate from COVID-19 in countries that allow access to HCQ,” said the AAPS, “is only one-tenth the mortality rate of countries where there is interference with this medication, such as the United States.”

Did you catch that? One-tenth the mortality rate means that our country’s current death count of about 160,000 could be and perhaps should be, as low as 16,000.

Oh, but I assume you’ve been told that the AAPS is a “fringe group” of “conservative” doctors who should be discredited? 

Well, aside from the fact that such a claim is a textbook example of the Socratic fallacy of an ad hominem attack, i.e., “shooting the messenger rather than attending to the message,” there’s more, lots more.

First, there’s the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan, which recently published a study involving thousands of patients where HCQ proved to be both very safe and highly effective in treating COVID-19. This study reports reducing mortality by 50%. Did you catch that? Fifty percent. 

Then, there’s the Palmer Foundation report published last week highlighting the Indian slum of Dharavi. This is Asia’s biggest and densest slum, housing more than a million people. In the early days of the pandemic, Dharavi suffered a cluster outbreak. Doctors report containing it by using proactive measures, “including the use of hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis (preventive) treatment.” As a result, Dharavi’s COVID-19 infection rate dropped drastically from April through June, and in July, new infections were very low, almost reaching zero on July 9.”  

Yes, you read that correctly. “Almost reaching zero.” 

Still the stuff of right-wing nut jobs, you smirk? 

Well, there is Harvey, A. Risch, MD, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health (generally not known as a bastion of conservative political thought), who recently wrote in Newsweek magazine: “I am … flummoxed to find that, in the midst of a crisis, I am fighting for a treatment that the data fully support but which, for reasons having nothing to do with a correct understanding of the science, has been pushed to the sidelines. As a result, tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19 are dying unnecessarily.” 

Yes, you read that correctly. “Tens of thousands of patients are dying unnecessarily.” 

Dr. Risch then goes on to cite study after study showing the efficacy of HCQ. There is a study involving 400 high-risk patients treated by Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, with zero deaths. There are four studies totaling almost 500 high-risk patients treated in nursing homes and clinics across the U.S., with no deaths. There is a controlled trial of more than 700 high-risk patients in Brazil, with significantly reduced hospitalization and two deaths among 334 patients.

There is another study of 398 matched patients in France, also with significantly reduced hospitalization. And there is the reverse natural experiment in Switzerland where on May 27 the Swiss national government banned outpatient use of hydroxychloroquine. By June 10, COVID-19 deaths had increased four-fold and remained elevated. On June 11, the Swiss government revoked the ban, and on June 23, the death rate reverted to what it had been beforehand.

Like many of you, I may not have a degree in medicine. But, as with tens of thousands of you, I do have enough of an education to recognize that when any government politicizes medicine, that far from “just saving one life,” that same government likely just took the lives of tens of thousands.  

There is abundant evidence that HCQ has great benefit.

If we would have started using it in March as President Trump suggested, we would potentially be talking about 16,000 deaths right now rather than 160,000. That means that our arrogant little despots such as Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Gavin Newsom of California and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan have killed more than 120,000 people so far. 

Put entire populations out of work and under quarantine where they are forced to spend 24/7 confined in close quarters with others who may or may not have brought the virus into the home. Then force sick senior citizens into nursing homes where they are likely to contaminate the entire facility. Then refuse to let doctors prescribe medication shown to be beneficial in treating the disease. Now that’ll fix the surplus human population and save the planet, won’t it?

What a deal. What a Green New Deal.

• Everett Piper (dreverettpiper.com, @dreverettpiper), a columnist for The Washington Times, is a former university president and radio host. He is the author of “Not a Daycare: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery).


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