Listen to the experts on HCQ, yes, but pay attention to the mounting anecdotal evidence, too
As President Trump touts the efficacy of an antimalarial drug that could help mitigate the effects of the Wuhan virus, a Democrat state lawmaker in Ohio is threatening to refer him to the International Court of Justice.
Nope. Not kidding.
On Sunday, State Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-OH) warned that she has visited the court and would be charging the president with "crimes against humanity" after his repeated advocacy of the drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in conjunction with the antibiotic azithromycin (Z-pack) as a method of treating the Wuhan virus.
"I can't take it anymore," Galonski tweeted. "I've been to The Hague. I'm making a referral for crimes against humanity tomorrow. Today's press conference was the last straw. I know the need for a prosecution referral when I see one."
In what was perhaps a moment of clarity (sobriety?) Galonski said Sunday that she has “no idea” how to go about her plan. Galonski has previously claimed she was a juvenile court magistrate for more than 14 years. There is, however, no record of her serving on the bench.
The International Criminal Court (ICC), which operates at The Hague, Nederlands, defines “crimes against humanity” as including murder, extermination, enslavement, persecution, apartheid, torture and “other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury.”
Not that it matters. The United States does not recognize the authority of ICC over U.S. citizens.
Trump has repeatedly promoted HCQ as an effective method to treat the flu-like illness which has been linked to the deaths of 10,000 U.S. citizens. It is a 65-year old drug first developed to treat malaria, and has since been found effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
The debate over whether hydroxychloroquine should be prescribed to patients infected with the Wuhan virus has boiled over into a week-long confrontation in the White House. The president and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci have clashed publicly over authorizing its widespread use.
Dr. Fauci and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro reportedly feuded over the drug during a meeting over the weekend. Fauci has urged caution over claims the drug could cure the disease, saying reports touting hydroxychloroquine's effectiveness are anecdotal and should not be seen as evidence of a cure.
State Rep. Karen Whitsett (D-Michigan) appeared on The Ingraham Angle on Fox News Monday to credit President Trump with making her aware of the HCQ treatment for Wuhan virus, through his mentioning of it almost daily during virus task force briefings. (Photo: Fox News)
Navarro told CNN's New Day on Monday he would like a "second opinion."
State governors, some of whom have flip-flopped on the treatment, have also squabbled with their legislators and medical advisors over HCQ. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer overturned her own directive against hydroxychloroquine which threatened "administrative action" against any medical professional who prescribed the medicine to treat patients with the Wuhan virus.
Nevada Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak initially banned the use of HCQ in his state on the advise of his unlicensed Chief Medical Officer. He flip-flopped also, on Sunday authorizing its limited use.
Opposition to HCQ is puzzling. On March 29, the FDA approved its use to combat the Wuhan virus. Four days later, a small study published in France appeared to discredit two earlier French studies claiming success with the HCQ/Z-pack strategy.
Dr. Fauci commented on that study, continuing to counsel caution on the use of HCQ.
"The data are really just at best suggestive. There have been cases that show there may be an effect, and there are others to show there's no effect," Fauci said during an appearance on CBS's Face the Nation. "So I think in terms of science, I don't think we could definitively say it works."
Many commentators have mistaken Dr. Fauci's position for a negative opinion about the drug. The media aren't listening when they project that attitude on Dr. Fauci.
What he has repeatedly said is that it isn’t a “knockout drug” and for some it may not be. Still, it is difficult to discount the multiple stories of seemingly miraculous recoveries by those given the HCQ/Z-pack treatment.
Two men — on in Florida and another in New Jersey — credit HCQ as having pulled them back from the brink of death. St. Rep. Karen Whitsett (D-MI) credits President Trump’s mention of the drug combination for saving her life. She told Fox News' Laura Ingraham via Skype Monday night she and her doctor wouldn’t have known about the treatment if she had not heard the president talk about it during one of his task force briefings.
Recently, The Wall Street Journal published an article in which doctors from around the world credited HCQ and Z-pack — with some including zinc in the mix — with saving their patients lives.
Yes, as Dr. Fauci and some outright critics of the approach have said, these are anecdotal cases —success stories based on personal accounts rather than facts or research.
We have to ask ourselves if that really matters. In a crisis like the Wuhan virus, if something works, we’d better use it, critics and overly cautious “just the facts, ma’am” researchers be who want proven clinical trials heard, but not necessarily heeded.
It would be great if we could do full clinical trials and come out the other end with numbers and control groups, etc., that prove it works. We can’t afford that right now, especially given all these success stories, and nothing but fake news claiming it will harm the person doctors are trying to cure.
HCQ is an old, clinically proven, safe drug. Put it to work here. Help people live.