Friday, April 24, 2020

Five Problems With the Study That Claims 'More Deaths' From Treating Coronavirus With Hydroxychloroquine

It's not a study at all.  Only the sickest patients were given Hydroxychloroquine.  So they were naturally more likely to die

On Tuesday, the results of a study on the benefits of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the coronavirus were released. The study analyzed the impact of hydroxychloroquine with and without the antibiotic azithromycin and compared that to patients receiving standard care. The study found there were "more deaths" among those given hydroxychloroquine than those who just received standard care.

As you could expect, the media pounced on the study. The Washington Post,  CNN, Salon, TIME Magazine, and plenty of others were just itching to claim that Trump had been wrong or even irresponsible for touting hydroxychloroquine in the first place. International Business Times even wrote: "Trump's Hydroxychloroquine Caused More Deaths, Study Reveals."

But, if you actually read through the reporting, even read through the study itself, it becomes clear that the media, which was quick to downplay or ignore earlier studies showing the drug worked, were too quick to hype this study's findings. Here are five problems with the study that should give you pause before you turn your back on hydroxychloroquine.

5. It was a small, non-peer-reviewed study, not a clinical trial
Previous studies showing the promise of hydroxychloroquine in treating the coronavirus have been downplayed by the media because they were small studies, not large-scale clinical trials. This study was not a controlled clinical trial, but an analysis of medical records, and it hasn't been reviewed by other scientists yet.

Even the Associated Press noted that the difference in fatality between those given hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin "was not considered large enough to rule out other factors that could have affected survival." You think?  I'm willing to bet that upon peer review, scientists will acknowledge similar faults with this study that I've identified.

4. The patients were not representative of the entire population
By now there are a number of things we've learned about the coronavirus: It has a higher fatality rate with males, older people are more likely to be affected by it, most who die from it had other illnesses. The patients whose records were analyzed for this study were all male. The patients' ages ranged from 59 to 75, with a median age of 70 (for those treated with hydroxychloroquine), 68 (for those treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin), and 69 (for those receiving standard treatment alone). The patients were also disproportionately black. According to the census, 13.4 percent of United States population is black, but in the study, 68% (HC), 59% (HC+AZ),  and 65% (No HC) of the patients were black. There is a known racial disparity in how the coronavirus impacts those who contract it that isn't fully understood yet.

The prevalence of comorbidities in those who have died from the coronavirus tell me that a study done on VA hospital patients was never going to give an accurate representation of the drug's efficacy. This study was exclusive to a high-risk group of individuals, involving a drug that, like every other drug, has side effects. Could hydroxychloroquine or hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin have side effects that are disproportionately more severe, or even marginally fatal, to older patients? Maybe it does.  That wouldn't make it unique. But this study doesn't tell us anything about how the drug works with the overall population.

3. The most severe cases disproportionately received the drug
The study itself acknowledges that "hydroxychloroquine, with or without azithromycin, was more likely to be prescribed to patients with more severe disease." In such a small study that isn't representative of the entire population, this would likely impact the results. For starters, there is a direct correlation between advanced age and the severity of side effects. If more severe cases were more likely to be prescribed the drug, it's possible that these patients were more likely to be fatal cases regardless of the treatment, and perhaps the drugs weren't administered early enough to alleviate the symptoms to result in recovery. "The findings should not be viewed as definitive because the analysis doesn’t adjust for patients’ clinical status and showed that hydroxychloroquine alone was provided to VA’s sickest COVID-19 patients, many times as a last resort," a spokeswoman for the Department of Veterans Affairs told Fox News.

2. Other studies and anecdotal reports suggest it helps
As PJM's Tyler O'Neil noted earlier this month, "Doctors and patients across America have reported positive results" with hydroxychloroquine in treating the coronavirus. Dr. Anthony Cardillo, the CEO of Mend Urgent Care in Los Angeles, reported seeing "significant success" with the drug in treating coronavirus patients. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo even requested more hydroxychloroquine from the Trump administration after seeing promising results. Democratic Michigan state Rep. Karen Whitsett says the drug saved her life. Were they all just lucky? Unlikely. while these studies were small, and the reports anecdotal, I'd be willing to bet the patient base for all of them were more demographically diverse than the VA hospital study.

1. The study concluded that controlled trials are still needed
The study's conclusion states quite clearly that "These findings highlight the importance of awaiting the results of ongoing prospective, randomized, controlled studies before widespread adoption of these drugs." It seems to me that the authors of the study were aware of its faults when they published. This study was too small and non-representative of the population. Yet we saw the media pounce on its results so they could fault him for promoting hydroxychloroquine. The bottom line here is that we now have studies that say it works and that it doesn't work. Hydroxychloroquine might not be as effective as the small studies with positive results that say it is, and it most likely isn't as ineffective as this VA hospital study suggests. Obviously, it's worth getting a reliable answer.



Virginia:  The naked face of the Democratic party

We see what horrors Democrats are when the constraints are off

Virginia Democrats are incapable of being courteous even in the midst of a pandemic. Due to the coronavirus, the House of Delegates will reconvene this week in a tent; but the Democrat majority did not even have the decency to inform Republican delegates of important matters, such as how votes would be taken and whether voting remotely would be permitted. Consequently, Republican delegates have been learning about the Democrats’ plans through the media. This is disgraceful, but it is typical of the way that arrogant Democrats have acted since they managed to seize full control of Virginia – with the substantial assistance of liberal billionaires.

For generations, politics in the Commonwealth have been conducted the Virginia Way – meaning that lawmakers acted civilly toward each other, listened to opposing viewpoints, and compromised when necessary. The Virginia Way helped make the Commonwealth a good place to live and helped us steer clear of the toxic politics of Washington. Those days are gone.

One of Democrats’ most shameful displays occurred in February when a black pastor, who had been invited by a Republican delegate, gave the opening prayer for the House of Delegates. The pastor’s prayer expressed his traditional family values, which offended Democrat legislators. Some responded by heckling him and walking out as he prayed. Even more egregiously, the House Speaker, Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax County), silenced the pastor by gaveling his prayer to an end and abruptly beginning to lead the chamber in the Pledge of Allegiance.

When Democrat legislators are not busy disrespecting a pastor or passing left-wing legislation, they are busy practicing the politics of spite and retribution. For example, Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Franklin County), proposed legislation to increase the pay for sheriffs’ departments by three percent. Every Senate Democrat voted against the bill. After the bill was defeated, Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax County), the octogenarian Majority Leader, told Stanley that the bill had been defeated because sheriffs had informed legislators that they would not enforce unconstitutional gun laws.

Democrats who dare to step out of line may also suffer retaliation from their own party. After a Democrat state senator voted against a sweeping gun control bill, a Democrat-run committee in the House of Delegates killed a noncontroversial bill sponsored by that senator – without regard for those who would have benefitted from the bill. The legislation, which passed unanimously in the Virginia Senate, would have allowed part-time police officers to purchase their service weapons when they retire. (The law currently allows full-time officers to purchase their service firearms upon retirement.)

Things are so bad that Democrat senators felt the need to threaten the Democrat House Speaker’s agenda to persuade her to do her job. After running on redistricting reform last fall, many House Democrats were suddenly not interested in real reform once they grabbed power. As this year’s regular legislative session neared its end, nine House Democrats broke with their party and voted with the House Republicans for a state constitutional amendment to reform redistricting. However, after the amendment passed the House, Speaker Filler-Corn refused to transmit the amendment to the Senate prompting fears that the bill would be killed. In response, Senate Democrats, who supported the amendment, threatened to retaliate by killing several liberal House bills. Eventually, Filler-Corn relented and transmitted the amendment.

Unfortunately, the lack of decency in the Virginia Democrat Party extends to the Governor’s mansion. Despicably, he supported a bill to make it easier to kill a baby right up until birth – an extreme position only supported by a fraction of the electorate. As if that were not bad enough, we learned early last year that Northam had the nickname “Coonman” in college; absurdly, he claimed not to know how he had acquired this moniker. We also learned that there was a photo of two individuals with one in a KKK outfit and another in blackface on his page in his medical school yearbook. At first, Northam admitted he was in the photo – without saying whether he was wearing blackface or dressed as a klansman – then quickly reversed himself and claimed not to know how the photo appeared on his page. This is the same man who, during his campaign for governor, smeared Republican voters as murderous racists.

The good news is that next year there will be elections for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and the House of Delegates. Because these thuggish Democrats have shown themselves to be unfit to serve, perhaps Virginia’s voters will take them to the woodshed and deliver a thrashing they will not soon forget.



Trump Orders Navy to Destroy Any Iranian Gunboats That Harass US Ships

About time

On Wednesday morning, Earth Day no less, when any responsible president would have been hectoring people about global warming, President Trump had other concerns on his mind. “I have instructed the United States Navy,” he tweeted, “to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.”

Predictable scorn ensued from the Left. Writer Nick Jack Pappas was just one of the many who focused on Trump’s choice of words, tweeting, “Trump is giving the order to shoot down boats. I didn't realize Iran had flying boats now.” They ignored the fact that one can shoot a man down without his being able to fly, but anything will do for a dig at the President.

Iranian freedom activist and journalist Heshmat Alavi was more focused, tweeting: “The mullahs' regime ruling #Iran harasses UN [sic] Navy ships for propaganda purposes. Thank you, President Trump, for reminding this regime that the Obama years are gone. And BTW, this regime does not represent the Iranian people."

Alavi was right. The Iranian mullahs, apparently having forgotten that Barack Obama is no longer President, were at it again just last week. According to Business Insider, “nearly a dozen Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy vessels sailed out Wednesday to harass a collection of US Navy and Coast Guard vessels conducting operations in international waters.”

The U.S. Navy stated that eleven Iranian boats of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN) “conducted dangerous and harassing approaches,” and added that “the IRGCN’s dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision.” The Iranians, said the Navy statement, were violating the “rules of the road.”




Trump's 60-day immigration pause, which exempts temporary foreign workers, falls well short of full ban, but the White House's goal is to allow more jobs to be filled by U.S. citizens (Politico)

U.S. deaths top 45,000, doubling in a little over a week (Reuters)

The first stateside death was in California on February 6 — weeks earlier than initially believed (NBC News)

CDC chief warns second wave may be worse, arriving with flu season (Reuters)

NIH panel recommends against combining the drugs hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (NPR)

"An appalling campaign of deceit, concealment, misfeasance, and inaction": Missouri becomes first state to sue China over coronavirus (The Washington Free Beacon)

Trump says he will ask Harvard, which boasts a $40 billion endowment, and big businesses to return relief funds (The Hill)

For the record: Filthy-rich Harvard isn't the only university taxpayers shouldn't bail out (The Federalist)

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer awards (then rescinds after being busted) coronavirus contract to Democrat consulting firm (The Washington Free Beacon)

Navy deploys two ships to South China Sea amid tensions (The Hill)

Policy: The world's bad actors see coronavirus as an opportunity (Bloomberg Opinion)

Policy: How public transit makes the nation more vulnerable to disasters (The Federalist)


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


No comments: