The 'Party of Science' Is Hampering the Progress of ... Science

AP Photo/Steve Helber

The Democratic Party masquerades as the “party of science” when in reality it is anything but. Democrats support abortion, even though biologists say life begins at conception. Democrats support climate alarmism, even though the predictions of doom keep failing. Don’t even get me started on transgenderism. During the coronavirus pandemic, Democratic governors defend lockdowns by citing “science,” but Democrats’ poo-pooing of hydroxychloroquine isn’t just wrong — it’s actually hampering the progress of science.

President Donald Trump has expressed hope about the effectiveness of treating coronavirus patients with hydroxychloroquine, and some anecdotal results have bolstered that optimism. Yet the media backlash against hydroxychloroquine — and egged on by Democrats like Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and presumptive nominee Joe Biden — has prevented doctors from finding willing volunteers.

Columbia University’s Dr. Jon Giles planned a clinical trial for hydroxychloroquine and tried to start enrolling patients at the end of April. People were clamoring to enroll, but then — as NPR’s Will Stone put it — “the news changed.”

“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,” Dr. Giles told NPR. “It became almost impossible to get anyone interested.”

One study, which had not been peer-reviewed, suggested the drug did not reduce the need for a ventilator and even linked hydroxychloroquine to higher death rates among COVID-19 patients. The FDA responded by issuing a warning. Yet Dr. Giles had planned to study the drug’s protective potential, giving it to people after someone in their household tested positive. As NPR noted, the doctor is “comfortable with hydroxychloroquine” and prescribes it to patients with lupus and arthritis.

“It’s a very, very safe drug. It’s been used for over 75 years,” the doctor said. He ultimately gave up on the study.

Dr. Christine Johnson at the University of Washington ran into the same problems.

“We’re hearing now from some participants that the study and the drugs feel too political, and they just don’t want to participate at all,” she told NPR.

Dr. William O’Neill at Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System is running a study on whether hydroxychloroquine can be used to prevent infection among health care workers.

“Everything that we see about hydroxychloroquine suggests that the earlier you use the drug, the more likely it is to be effective,” he told NPR. He insisted that this is a different question than whether the drug works for people who are seriously ill or on a ventilator.

“O’Neill says the fact that President Trump is touting this drug means some people are now invested in the idea that hydroxychloroquine won’t work,” NPR reported.

“And the problem with that is this is not politics; this is life and death,” the doctor complained. “We’re talking about a treatment. Who would be rooting for us not to find the therapy, for God’s sakes?”

Who, indeed? Who would root for the extension of the lockdowns and a longer economic recession? Who would root for a drug to fail at saving lives?

Only those driven to blindness by hatred for President Donald Trump.

Sure, the president was rather too effusive about hydroxychloroquine. His questions about disinfecting the human body and light therapy were also ill-timed, coming in one of his nationally-streamed coronavirus press briefings. Yet left-leaning reporters blew these missteps out of proportion.

Trump critics seized on a case where a man died after ingesting fish tank cleaner as supposed evidence against hydroxychloroquine. While the story was false, many liberals appear to still believe the drug is dangerous. When Trump announced he was taking the drug himself, Pelosi, Northam, and Biden suggested this was insane.

Yet hydroxychloroquine has been used for decades. Trump’s suggestion that it could work in the coronavirus crisis already has positive anecdotal results from doctors on the frontlines. A true scientific study on hydroxychloroquine’s effect on coronavirus patients would be a positive step forward for scientific discovery — and an essential bit of knowledge in this crisis.

Thanks to the media’s hydroxychloroquine derangement syndrome, encouraged by naysaying from the “Party of Science,” that study is more elusive.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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