Thursday, April 09, 2020

9 April, 2020

Drug Is Safe and Sometimes Works, Let All COVID-19 Patients Take It

In mid-March a Palo Alto, California, woman’s COVID-19 worsened to pneumonia while being treated at Stanford Hospital. She had already suffered from asthma and diabetes.

In a trial, doctors decided to give her the drug remdesivir, which has been well established as safe and used to treat Ebola. It worked; she’s now home recovering wonderfully.

The outstanding question is: Is it helpful for COVID-19? The answer is: Yes, at least for some coronavirus victims.

So why not let the drug be given to all COVID-19 patients rather than just in trials, as was the case with the Palo Alto woman’s trial? They have everything to gain and nothing to lose. The drug sometimes cures pneumonia and possibly prevents it in the first place.

Governmental medical science, tragically, does not work this way. The Food and Drug Administration requires that, before a drug can be prescribed, it must clear three sets of clinical trials to prove that it is safe and effective; that usually takes a year.

COVID-19 patients usually have anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to live or die. Why can’t patients with the coronavirus take remdesivir to see if it helps?FDA approval for efficacy is largely pointless.

I learned of this sad FDA policy the hard way. I was on the board of the Abigail Alliance that sued the FDA when a terminal cancer patient was denied the right to experimental drugs even though the FDA had found the them clinically safe and promising.

Our argument was that if we have a constitutional right to defend ourselves against an attacker, why can’t we have that same right of self-defense when the attacker is cancer? I based this logic on my own wife’s experience: she had terminal lung cancer and was given an experimental drug that extended her life and eliminated her chronic pain.

Our case was heard in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on August 7, 2007. We lost and would likely lose today because the FDA still mandates three clinical trials to prove drugs safe and effective.

Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases cites frequently the necessity of this three-clinical-trial process referring to any other drug cure of the coronavirus as merely “anecdotal.”

Judge Judith Rogers supported our case and pointed out a cruel irony: In rejecting our appeal to extend cancer patients’ lives, said the judge, “the right to try to save one’s life is left out in the cold despite its textual anchor in the right to life.”

Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg also supported our case. He argued: Do we have a constitutional “right to eat meat” when the Constitution is silent on the matter?

It is silent on drugs, which does not mean that we can’t take them. It is a right we are given by the Ninth Amendment: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

It is tragic that a patient with COVID-19 and pneumonia or difficulty breathing cannot be given the remdesivir, which is safe and, in some cases, effective.

It sent the Palo Alto woman home rather than to the morgue.



Coronavirus Deaths Will Be 'Much, Much, Much Lower' Than Predicted Models, Says Head of CDC

In the ever-changing contradictory nature of information during the pandemic age, the head of the CDC, Robert Redfield, told listeners of Arizona's 1030 KVOI radio he believes there's good news ahead. Redfield said the death toll from the Chinese COVID-19 will be "much, much, much lower" than the models have predicted. “If we just social distance, we will see this virus and this outbreak basically decline, decline, decline. And I think that's what you're seeing,” he said.

The models the White House is using projected the deaths of between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans. Redfield says models aren't the end of the story. "Models are only as good as their assumptions, obviously there are a lot of unknowns about the virus,” he said. “A model should never be used to assume that we have a number.”

He continued to praise the American people for taking the social distancing seriously, saying, "I think that's the direct consequence of why you're seeing the numbers are going to be much, much, much lower than would have been predicted by the models."

Redfield has vociferously approved of the social distancing measures taken by the federal and local governments.



Dem Lawmaker in Detroit Says Hydroxychloroquine and Trump Helped Save Her Life

State Rep. Karen Whitsett, a Detroit Democrat, tested positive for the coronavirus last month. Now, she's crediting hydroxychloroquine and Donald Trump with saving her life.

President Trump has been touting hydroxychloroquine as a potential game-changer since mid-March after small studies showed it potentially served as an effective treatment for coronavirus patients. “I feel good about it. Just a feeling. I am a smart guy, we’ll see soon enough and we have certainly big samples of people,” Trump said at the time. The media was quick to pounce on Dr. Anthony Fauci's reluctance to fully endorse the drug because there had not been a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus yet. Hydroxychloroquine has long been approved by the FDA as an antimalarial drug.

Whitsett was prescribed hydroxychloroquine, and she said she felt relief from her symptoms in less than two hours. She had experienced shortness of breath, swollen lymph nodes, and what felt like a sinus infection.

Boston Globe Editorial Board Claims Trump Has 'Blood on His Hands'
Whitsett had been aware of  "the wonders" of hydroxychloroquine after a previous Lyme disease affliction, but, the Detroit Free Press reports, "does not believe she would have thought to ask for it, or her doctor would have prescribed it, had Trump not been touting it as a possible treatment for COVID-19." Whitsett says she's been taking the drug in combination with antibiotics.

"It has a lot to do with the president ... bringing it up," Whitsett said. "He is the only person who has the power to make it a priority."

When asked by the Detroit Free Press whether she thinks Trump may have saved her life, she replied. "Yes, I do," and "I do thank him for that."

President Trump responded to the story on Monday, "Congratulations to State Representative Karen Whitsett of Michigan. So glad you are getting better!"

The media has desperately tried to undercut Trump's positive message about hydroxychloroquine's potential as a treatment for the coronavirus, calling it "unproven" and claiming there's "no proof" that it works. The New York Times even alleged that Trump's motivation for touting the drug was self-serving because he holds “a small personal financial interest” in Sanofi, the company that makes a brand name version of hydroxychloroquine, even though the drug's patent is expired and any pharmaceutical company can manufacture their own generic versions of it. Even New York governor Andrew Cuomo conceded that “There has been anecdotal evidence that it is promising."



Setting a 'D-Day' to Restart the American Economy

Much is being said these days about how the two-week period of April 5-19 is expected to experience a peak in coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths. This prediction applies to the city of New York as well as certain other cities and areas of the United States.

Concurrent with the above time period and continuing thereafter, the nationwide supplies of essential face masks, protective clothing, ventilators, protective gloves, and other needed medical supplies to combat the virus are exponentially mushrooming. As of the last week in April, there should be little or no scarcity of the above items to treat dangerously infected Americans, no matter where they live. Furthermore, by the end of April, one or more therapies will most likely receive greater approval as effective treatments against COVID-19.

It is well known that the president and state governors have a delicate balancing challenge. On the one hand, they must consider COVID-19 death rates. On the other hand, they must consider the ongoing tremendous damage and harm being done to the mental and physical health of millions of Americans who have suddenly lost jobs, lost savings, become bankrupt, or otherwise are experiencing severe mental anxiety, hopelessness, and/or depression.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic thus far rightfully have concentrated on the number of people infected, recoveries, and deaths. Largely overlooked, however, are predictions that the ultimate death toll from the pandemic could be higher due to job losses, bankruptcies, lost savings, and containment/mitigation efforts than from the actual virus itself.

It is well established that unemployed individuals often suffer from loss of self-esteem and a sense of shame, humiliation, or despair. They may suffer from hopelessness, depression, and social isolation, which are all serious risk factors for suicide.

Given the above, this article suggests that in order to establish a degree of certainty, and absent any further catastrophic event(s), President Trump and his administration should designate a day in May as the target day — D-Day, if you will — for America’s $22 trillion economy to be “back in business.” A possible date to consider is May 12, which happens to be the 75th anniversary celebration of the allied victory over Nazi Germany in Europe.

In taking this action, the president will, of course, need to defer actual implementation to the governors of the 50 states according to their own assessments of their containment, mitigation, and recovery efforts in their respective states. But the president can set an example by, among other things, authorizing the opening of federal buildings and other facilities and services under his control.

The president’s decision and recommendation for when people should return to their jobs is similar in at least one important aspect to the decision General Dwight Eisenhower had to make concerning the launching of the Normandy invasion in June 1944. Both decisions revolve around life-and-death issues. Eisenhower knew that the allied death rate could be very high (many tens of thousands) if the invasion was unsuccessful, whereas President Trump understands that the number of COVID-19 deaths could be in the many hundreds of thousands if he acts too early or, conversely, too late. As with Eisenhower, President Trump ultimately must make his decision for all Americans, not just those who unfortunately happen to be directly in harm’s way.

No doubt many will say that the president is “between a rock and a hard place.” He will be criticized no matter when he eventually recommends that people return to their jobs even with the understanding that critical mitigation actions need to be maintained for the foreseeable future such as frequently washing hands, not touching one’s face, and maintaining a safe distance from another person.

Thus, Mr. President, please work with the state governors and push for the American economy largely to be “back in business” during May 2020. This senior citizen is more than willing to take responsibility for my own personal COVID-19 mitigation actions, as I am sure many others like me will do the same. Get the economy rolling again — soon.




The steep rise in coronavirus deaths appeared to be leveling off Monday in hard-hit New York (AP)

Austria and Denmark are first in Europe to announce easing of lockdowns (The Washington Post)

Researchers lower fatality projections in model used by White House (The Daily Caller)

Trump approves USNS Comfort to treat New York patients (UPI)

Communist sympathizers at WHO demand abortion be considered "essential" healthcare services during pandemic (The Daily Wire)

Trump nominates White House lawyer Brian Miller to serve as Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (The Daily Caller)

Pelosi says next stimulus boondoggle will be $1 trillion or more (Bloomberg)

"I appreciate his calling": Trump says he and Biden had a "warm conversation" about coronavirus (Washington Examiner)

Trump asks reporter if she's working for the Chinese government after pro-Beijing questions. Sure enough, her agency is a front for the CCP. (The Daily Caller)

Bring back Scott Walker: Wisconsin Supreme Court overturns governor's gamesmanship, orders Tuesday elections to proceed (Politico)

Hillary Clinton can't duck out of Benghazi testimony by citing official privilege, State Department says (PJ Media)

"He made a mistake": Trump urges Navy not to "destroy" captain who wrote coronavirus letter (Washington Examiner)

Rise in searches for "How to set fire" a sign insurance fraud beckons as economy crashes (Washington Examiner)

Auto insurers rightfully refunding millions due to stay-at-home policies (Fox News)

District court upholds closing of Los Angeles-area gun shops (The Volokh Conspiracy)

Policy: How the Left is trying to blame capitalism for COVID-19 deaths (Mises Institute)

Satire: The Bidens still don't know how many grandchildren they have (The Washington Free Beacon)

For the record: "More people will die, even in the worst projections, from cigarette smoking in this country than are going to die from coronavirus this year." —U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams

Food for thought: "Our national media is ROOTING for hydroxycloroquine to not work as a treatment for #Covid_19. Think about that." —Matt Mackowiak


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is hereHome page supplement


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