Last week, a new peer-reviewed study of hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness at treating the coronavirus was published, and it found that the drug significantly reduced mortality rates.
And by significantly, I mean it literally cut the mortality rate by more than half.
The study also determined that despite previous reports, there were no adverse effects on the heart.
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. Since then, 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, and that certain at-risk people can die from the drug. They pounced when Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed reluctance to fully endorse the drug because there had not been clinical trials studying it’s effectiveness as a coronavirus treatment yet.
Hydroxychloroquine offered hope, but since Trump was the messenger, the media was desperate to quash it. They claimed an elderly Arizona couple had ingested chloroquine after seeing President Trump talking about it during a Coronavirus Task Force press briefing. The incident left the husband dead and the woman in intensive care. Eventually, it was revealed that the media hadn’t reported the fact that they didn’t take the medication at all, but had actually ingested poisonous fish tank cleaner because it contained a chemical variant of chloroquine, chloroquine phosphate, as an additive. But that didn’t stop the media from pretty much accusing Trump of murder.
Several studies came out linking hydroxychloroquine to a higher mortality rate. The media pounced on a U.S. Veterans Health Administration study supporting this claim, even though it wasn’t a clinical trial, but a small, non-peer-reviewed study of patients who were not representative of the entire population, and patients with severe cases of the coronavirus were also disproportionally administered the drug. A number of follow-up studies were also touted by the media as proof that the drug caused a higher rate of mortality, but then it was discovered those studies were based on bogus data, causing medical journals that published the studies to issue retractions.
When Trump announced he had directed the FDA to fast-track the approval of hydroxychloroquine to treat patients with the coronavirus, the media went into attack mode. The president “peddles snake oil and false hope,” wrote the USA Today editorial board.
“To fight the coronavirus, President Donald Trump is adopting the audacity of false hope,” claimed CNN, even though studies had shown promising results.
“Trump was at the White House podium peddling a fake cure for a virus that could kill hundreds of thousands of Americans in a way that would have gotten him kicked off the Home Shopping Network and potentially invited federal prosecution for false claims and fraud,” claimed Salon.
In March, Gretchen Whitmer banned the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine to treat coronavirus patients, threatening doctors with “administrative action” if they prescribed it for that purpose. Eventually, she reversed course. Steve Sisolak, the Democrat governor of Nevada, also signed an emergency order restricting the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus.
When President Trump announced that he was taking hydroxychloroquine to protect him from the coronavirus, the media pounced again. MSNBC medical contributor Dr. Vin Gupta called Trump irresponsible and accused him of taking it to “continue his disinformation campaign.” Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto went on a rant following the revelation, citing studies that found that some patients with certain pre-existing conditions had a higher chance of death. One study cited by Cavuto was the VA Study, which was previously debunked here at PJ Media.
“As the only medical doctor among our nation’s governors, I suggest you stop taking hydroxychloroquine,” Governor Ralph Northam tweeted in reference to Trump. Nancy Pelosi made her infamous quip about Trump being morbidly obese (which he’s not, by the way). Joe Biden even compared Trump’s taking of hydroxychloroquine to him injecting himself with Clorox. Hydroxychloroquine has been approved by the FDA for various treatments for decades. CNN’s Chris Cuomo also mocked Trump for taking the drug, even though he had used a version of it himself for his own treatment following his positive diagnosis for the coronavirus.
How many lives were lost because the Democrats and the media claimed that taking hydroxychloroquine would kill you? In May, Dr. John Giles of Columbia University told NPR that fears about hydroxychloroquine made it difficult to recruit volunteers for clinical studies. “Pretty much everybody said, ‘well, that’s the drug that is dangerous to your heart,’ or ‘I talked to friends and they said don’t take it,’ or ‘I saw it on TV that it was dangerous,'” Giles explained. “It became almost impossible to get anyone interested.”
But Giles knew these fears were unfounded. “It’s a very, very safe drug. It’s been used for over 75 years,” he said.
Despite the drug being safe, Giles eventually gave up on doing his study.
He wasn’t alone. Dr. Christine Johnston at the University of Washington told NPR that volunteers felt “that the study and the drugs feel too political, and they just don’t want to participate at all.”
And all this time, hydroxychloroquine has been shown to cut the death rate of the coronavirus in half.
A Yale study published in May noted that “Five studies, including two controlled clinical trials, have demonstrated significant major outpatient treatment efficacy” of hydroxychloroquine alone or hydroxychloroquine combined with azithromycin. “These medications need to be widely available and promoted immediately for physicians to prescribe.”
Think about this: Had Democrats cared more about saving lives than the November election, more people would have been comfortable taking hydroxychloroquine as treatment. More people would have participated in clinical trials. More people would have recovered from the coronavirus. Instead, immediately after Trump started touting the drug, he was criticized and mocked by Democrats, the media, and even government officials. They ignored studies that showed it worked, pretended not to hear anecdotal evidence from patients who were successfully treated by the drug, and told people that hydroxychloroquine could kill them.
The Democrats and the media need to be held accountable for this. How many people died because they chose to make the public afraid of hydroxychloroquine?
Matt Margolis is the author of the new book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis