Once again, Trump was right and the media were wrong
By Andrea Widburg
In February, China reported that chloroquine could fight coronavirus, which led to a burst of media optimism. However, when President Trump said he hoped that chloroquine might cure coronavirus, the media instantly turned on the drug. Unsurprisingly, the media were wrong. The lead doctor of the latest study on the drug says chloroquine is so helpful it would be unethical to deny it to control groups.
We first learned about chloroquine in mid-February, when Sun Yanrong, the deputy head of the China National Center for Biotechnology Development, announced that it was one of three drugs that the Chinese had successfully used to treat coronavirus. For a month, the media thought chloroquine could be the answer.
For example, in early March, UPI reported favorably that South Korean experts recommended anti-malarial drugs to treat coronavirus. On March 17, NBC News reported that chloroquine was one “of the options being explored” because it was “useful in blunting the effects of coronavirus.”
Everything changed, though, on March 20 when, in a press conference, President Trump said he was optimistic that chloroquine would be a magic bullet against coronavirus:
But I will say that I am a man that comes from a very positive school when it comes to, in particular, one of these drugs. And we’ll see how it works out, Peter. I’m not saying it will, but I think that people may be surprised.
By the way, that would be a game-changer. But we’re going to know very soon.
It may work and it may not work. I feel good about it. It’s all it is. It’s just a feeling, you know, I’m a smart guy. I feel good about it.
President Trump tweeted out the same message the next day:
HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains – Thank You! Hopefully they will BOTH (H works better with A, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents)…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2020
Almost instantly, the media stopped touting chloroquine’s potential and, instead, threw shade on the medicine. The media reported on Dr. Fauci’s more cautious view as if he had said Trump was lying, instead of merely saying that there were still studies to be done. One Arizona outlet even called Trump’s optimism “bizarre, even delusional.” Science Magazine published an article proclaiming, “‘This is insane!’ Many scientists lament Trump’s embrace of risky malaria drugs for coronavirus.”
The media now described chloroquine as deadly (as all drugs are if misused). The best known of these stories was the claim that a man died and his wife took ill after following Trump’s “advice.” What really happened was that the couple ate fish tank cleaner because they were stupid. (In an Agatha Christie mystery, the truth would have been that the woman cleverly figured out how to kill her husband.)
The media even went as far afield as Nigeria to report that two people overdosed after self-medicating with chloroquine following Trump’s press conference. In fact, the Nigerian press had already reported in February that chloroquine could be a potential coronavirus treatment.
As always, when it comes to the media’s obsessive need to contradict Trump, the media were wrong. It was the hopeful Trump who was correct. A new study from the French doctor on the forefront of coronavirus treatment shows that 97.5% of patients who received hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin improved (emphasis added):
Today, Prof. Didier Raoult and his team published results of their new study. The study was supported by the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire (IHU) Méditerranée Infection. Unlike the previous small study trial, the new observation study has a larger sample size of 80 COVID-19 patients. The objective of the study was to find an effective treatment to cure COVID-19 patients and to decrease the virus carriage duration.
In 80 in-patients receiving a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, the team found a clinical improvement in all but one 86 year-old patient who died, and one 74-year old patient still in intensive care unit. The team also found that, by administering hydroxychloroquine combined with azithromycin, they were able to observe an improvement in all cases, except in one patient who arrived with an advanced form, who was over the age of 86, and in whom the evolution was irreversible, according to a new paper published today in IHU Méditerranée Infection.
Indeed, the chloroquine and azithromycin treatment was so successful that Dr. Raoult refused to use a control group. He believed that doing so would be unethical insofar as it would deny people a proven life-saving treatment.
And Trump once again scores against a hostile media.
(TLB) published this article from American Thinker
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