Andrew Wilkow, a host on Sirius XM’s “Patriot” channel, routinely makes a perceptive observation about the conflict between President Donald Trump and the Democratic Party.
Trump could cure cancer, Wilkow said, and the Democrats would defend the rights of tumors.
Wilkow’s observation is not so absurd when applied to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A coalition of “progressives,” the Democratic Party, government bureaucrats and media refuses to promote or make an effective, inexpensive treatment available. Why? So they can politically exploit the pandemic for as long as possible and get the Presidential ticket of former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris elected.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman inadvertently revealed that strategy when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer interviewed him Aug. 3. Blitzer began by expressing hopelessness about the pandemic.
“I mean, it’s a sad situation what’s going on right now, and I don’t see any end in sight,” Blitzer said. “Hopefully there will be a therapeutic that comes out that can prevent people from getting really sick and dying. Hopefully, there will be a vaccine at some point that will ease this. But right now, it doesn’t seem to have any end in sight. Do you see an end in sight right now?”
Friedman issued a surprising response.
“Oh, I do see an end in sight,” Friedman said. “It’s in November, Wolf. And let me be very clear about this. Wolf, I will walk, I will crawl, I will slither, I will bike, I will hike, but I will be going to the polls to vote for Joe Biden. Because until and unless we replace this president and this administration, we’re going to be having this same conversation every day, all right?”
“That is what this is about. This is about power. It’s about removing this man who has no business being president, who is incapable of navigating us out of this crisis. And there is only one thing to do, and that is vote for Joe Biden.”
As FrontPage Magazine exposed in “Leftist Masquerade” and “Socialist Distancing,” the Democrats promote their agenda by ignoring scientific studies that warn against continuous mask-wearing and social distancing. So which effective, inexpensive treatment for Covid-19 is being suppressed?
Hydroxychloroquine, which the Food and Drug Administration approved in 1955. As a result, doctors can prescribe hydroxychloroquine at their discretion. The FDA allows doctors to do so to discover new remedies for new conditions.
Hydroxychloroquine proved effective in China against the SARS and Covid-19 viruses, so scientists wondered if they could replicate those results elsewhere.
In one of those studies — conducted by the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan and published last month in the International Journal of Infectious Disease — hydroxychloroquine “significantly” reduced the death rate in hospitalized patients. In doing so, the drug produced no adverse side effects affecting the heart. Among 2,541 patients hospitalized between March 10 and May 2, 87 percent of those who received hydroxychloroquine survived, compared to 74 percent of those not treated with it.
In other words, hydroxychloroquine enabled 331 more patients in the study to survive Covid-19.
“Our analysis shows that using hydroxychloroquine helped save lives,” said Dr. Steven Kalkanis, a neurosurgeon who serves as the system’s senior vice president and chief academic officer. “As doctors and scientists, we look to the data for insight. And the data here is clear that there was benefit to using the drug as a treatment for sick, hospitalized patients.”
Dr. Harvey Risch, professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, argued for hydroxychloroquine’s widespread use in a column Newsweek published July 23.
“When this inexpensive oral medication is given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control,” Risch wrote, “it has shown to be highly effective, especially when given in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and the nutritional supplement zinc.”
Yet the FDA rejected the Henry Ford Health System’s ensuing request to include hydroxychloroquine as a treatment option. Why? Blame the reaction to Trump.
When the president suggested in March that hydroxychloroquine could be a “game changer,” ridicule immediately followed. Three Democratic governors — New York’s Andrew Cuomo, Nevada’s Steve Sisolak and Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer — quickly placed severe restrictions on its use. When Trump said in May that he took hydroxychloroquine and zinc as a preventative measure, opposition failed to relent.
State governments even refused to release nearly 50 million doses of hydroxychloroquine that major drug manufacturers donated to the Strategic National Stockpile.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also dismisses hydroxychloroquine:
“We know that every single good study — and by good study I mean randomized control study in which the data are firm and believable — has shown that hydroxychloroquine is not effective in the treatment of Covid-19.”
Instead, Fauci recommends wearing masks continuously and adding plastic face shields. Fauci also promotes remdesivir, a drug manufactured by Gilead Sciences, as what he calls “the standard of care.”
Fauci’s own agency conducted a clinical trial for remdesivir, which the FDA approved unusually quickly for use as an emergency treatment in hospitals. The trial’s findings have yet to be analyzed independently.
“It is unusual to call a drug the ‘standard of care’ until peer review of data and publication, and before studies have shown benefit in mortality,” said Dr. Michele Barry, director of Stanford’s Center for Innovation in Global Health.
But remdesivir holds greater potential for profit. Remdesivir costs an insured patient $3,120 for a five-day treatment regimen under Gilead Science’s recommendations. The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a non-profit organization that establishes cost criteria for medications, stated that treatment could cost as much as $5,080 per patient.
However, 200 mg of hydroxychloroquine in 60 tablets cost an average of $149.19, without discounts.
“I think we have to look at the money,” said Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. “There’s no big profits made in hydroxychloroquine. It’s very cheap, easy to manufacture, been around for 70 years. It’s generic. Remdesivir is a new drug that could be very expensive and very lucrative if it’s ever approved. So I think we really do have to consider there’s some financial interest involved here.”
Among those with a possible financial interest are members of a government panel devising guidelines for treating Covid-19. Out of 11 with ties to drug companies, nine have a relationship with Gilead Sciences. Two of the panel’s leaders were among seven who hid their links to Gilead for 11 months before disclosing them. Two others sit on Gilead’s advisory board.
Punctuating Gilead’s links with government is George Shultz’s presence as an emeritus director. Shultz served as President Richard Nixon’s secretary of labor and secretary of the treasury, and as President Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state.
“If remdesivir is used to treat Covid-19, Gilead shareholders, not the taxpayers, will profit,” said Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet, a former director of the AAPS.
Doctors had seen enough.
In June, the AAPS sued the FDA for arbitrarily interfering with doctors’ ability to prescribe hydroxychloroquine. But not until July 27 did physicians demonstrate mass resistance in public.
On that day, a group calling itself America’s Frontline Doctors — who have treated Covid-19 patients — held a press conference at Capitol Hill as part of their two-day meeting about the pandemic. During that press conference, the doctors demanded that bureaucrats allow them to prescribe hydroxychloroquine at their discretion, and that reporters stop spreading disinformation about it.
“If it seems like there’s an orchestrated attack going on against hydroxychloroquine, it’s because there is,” said Dr. James Todaro. “When have you ever heard of a medication generating this degree of controversy?”
Social and broadcast media were not amused.
Facebook, Google and YouTube immediately deleted videos of the press conference and stopped providing streaming coverage of the group’s meeting. Anyone tweeting the videos — including Donald Trump Jr. — faced Twitter censorship. Twitter even posted old, inaccurate information from the FDA’s website about hydroxychloroquine as a counterattack.
On July 28, Fauci went on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to repeat his opposition to hydroxychloroquine. On July 29, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb did likewise on MSNBC. On July 30, Dr. Simone Gold, one of the organizers of America’s Frontline Doctors, was fired from her position as an emergency-room doctor.
On July 31, the Washington Post provided the piece de resistance. Media columnist Margaret Sullivan proclaimed America’s Frontline Doctors to be “fringe doctors spouting dangerous falsehoods about hydroxychloroquine as a Covid-19 wonder cure,” she wrote.
In his farewell address before leaving the White House — the same one in which he warned against the “military-industrial complex” — President Dwight Eisenhower also warned against the budding relationship between government and science:
“…research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government. … the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity.
“The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”
Include the complicity of reporters, social media and left-wing activists, and you have our current conundrum. Only not just public policy is held captive. So are Americans’ very lives.
The Covid-19 pandemic makes Eisenhower’s admonitions prophetic.