A new study of patients who were treated in Veterans Administration hospitals shows very little benefit in treating coronavirus patients with hydroxychloroquine. In fact, those who received the drug had worse outcomes, with a fatality rate of 28 percent versus 11 percent among those who did not. More medical research is needed on treatment protocols, but this does prove definitively that you should never take medical advice from Sean Hannity and Judge Boxwine. Ditto for the president's free lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his crank economics advisor Peter Navarro. In fact, how 'bout we just cross everyone at Fox off the health care query list, including Dr. Mehmet Oz, 'mmmkay?

Because every single one of those idiots spent the past month flogging a regimen of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine plus the antibiotic azithromycin as the miracle cure for coronavirus. They bought into bullshit anecdotes from YouTube and FaceBook, hoping against hope that Americans would forget all about the botched response to a global pandemic if Trump could find a magic pill to "cure" the disease.

Along the way, they managed to create widespread shortages of hydroxychloroquine for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, who actually need it, and probably endangered heart patients who pressured their doctors to give them the regimen despite known heart risks. Can we get a big round of applause for the crew of sycophants who convinced the president to go on national television and tell everyone to TRY IT?


What do you have to lose? I'll say it again: What do you have to lose? Take it. I really think they should take it. But it's their choice and it's their doctor's choice, or the doctors in the hospital. But hydroxychloroquine — try it, if you'd like.

Leave aside that encouraging widespread consumption by healthy people of a drug that suppresses immune response during a pandemic is FUCKING CRAZY. Here on Planet Earth, there were plenty of warning signs that this was a really bad idea, with multiple studies overseas halted due to dangerous cardiac side effects.

Nonetheless, the White House's resident economics loon Peter Navarro was dispatched to source millions of doses of the drug STAT. Here he is 'splaining to Judge Jeanine how actually he's the real expert on pharmaceuticals, gonna show those assholes at CNN who laughed at him when he said he used game theory to prove that the administration should bet all its chips on some unproven antimalarial drug.

Oh, Ron Vara, you sure showed 'em!

Hey, remember when our esteemed Attorney General Bill Barr complained about a media jihad against this miracle drug?

Turns out ... not so much.

In this study, we found no evidence that use of hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin, reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with Covid-19. An association of increased overall mortality was identified in patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone. These findings highlight the importance of awaiting the results of ongoing prospective, randomized, controlled studies before widespread adoption of these drugs.

Now that's a retrospective study based on examination of patient records, and its authors call for future clinical trials. But it doesn't exactly augur well for the drug that the Trump administration pinned all its hopes on. Which is probably why the National Institutes of Health changed their COVID-19 guidelines to say there is "insufficient clinical data to recommend either for or against using chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19," and to recommend entirely against use of the "combination of hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin (AIII) because of the potential for toxicities" outside of a clinical trial.

Oh, hey, didn't South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem volunteer her state's residents to be guinea pigs in just such a clinical trial after she declared healthcare to be a personal responsibility and wound up with a 730-person corona cluster at the Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls? Yep, sure did.

So, to summarize: There's no known benefit to the hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin protocol, and it may well be dangerous, but the government spent a month flogging it anyway because they really, really hoped it would work. Along the way they created shortages for people who rely on it, convinced one idiot to kill himself by swallowing similar chemicals from an aquarium supply store, and risked the health of millions of Americans. And now we're going to open up the country and hope for the best.

Oh, and PS, remember last week when the stock market had that big rally because everyone thought Gilead's drug remdesivir might be the next big thing in coronavirus treatments? Well, the NIH finds "insufficient clinical data to recommend either for or against using the investigational antiviral drug remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19." Cue Rudy, Jeanine, Hannity, Ron Vara, and Drs. Oz and Phil flogging this one in 3...2...

[Hydroxychloroquine Study / NIH Guidelines / Politico]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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