COVID Tyranny: the truth, and why we need our elected representatives to do their job

You probably saw the news that the tech giants are censoring the doctors from the capitol hill press conference yesterday. But, you may have missed the fact that a few days ago a leading researcher – HARVEY A. RISCH, MD, PHD , Professor of Epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health – published an op-ed in Newsweek about a politically-suppressed paper he recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Dr. Risch gave us the astonishing news that we basically already have what amounts to successful and inexpensive cure to COVID-19! But because of politics and corporate greed, the cure (and his research) is being suppressed. I mean, why stop thing now that the governors are just getting their groove on? Am I right?

As professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, I have authored over 300 peer-reviewed publications and currently hold senior positions on the editorial boards of several leading journals. I am usually accustomed to advocating for positions within the mainstream of medicine, so have been flummoxed to find that, in the midst of a crisis, I am fighting for a treatment that the data fully support but which, for reasons having nothing to do with a correct understanding of the science, has been pushed to the sidelines. As a result, tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19 are dying unnecessarily. Fortunately, the situation can be reversed easily and quickly.

The Key to Defeating COVID-19 Already Exists. We Need to Start Using It | Opinion, by HARVEY A. RISCH, MD, PHD , PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, YALE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, https://www.newsweek.com/key-defeating-covid-19-already-exists-we-need-start-using-it-opinion-1519535
A screenshot of Dr. Risch’s profile on Yale’s website.

Dr. Risch was flabbergasted that the success of the highly inexpensive Hydroxychloroquine treatment was being downplayed in favor of some potential future vaccine, which no doubt is going to be extremely expensive and difficult to obtain.

On May 27, I published an article in the American Journal of Epidemiology (AJE) entitled, “Early Outpatient Treatment of Symptomatic, High-Risk COVID-19 Patients that Should be Ramped-Up Immediately as Key to the Pandemic Crisis.” That article, published in the world’s leading epidemiology journal, analyzed five studies, demonstrating clear-cut and significant benefits to treated patients, plus other very large studies that showed the medication safety.

The Key to Defeating COVID-19 Already Exists. We Need to Start Using It | Opinion, by HARVEY A. RISCH, MD, PHD , PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, YALE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, https://www.newsweek.com/key-defeating-covid-19-already-exists-we-need-start-using-it-opinion-1519535
A description of Dr. Risch’s experience on Yale’s website.

Any time I express doubt about the premise that we have to live forever in a “new normal” with restricted liberty and rights, I get mocked for not being an epidemiologist. Well here’s an epidemiologist for you:

Physicians who have been using these medications in the face of widespread skepticism have been truly heroic. They have done what the science shows is best for their patients, often at great personal risk. I myself know of two doctors who have saved the lives of hundreds of patients with these medications, but are now fighting state medical boards to save their licenses and reputations. The cases against them are completely without scientific merit.

The Key to Defeating COVID-19 Already Exists. We Need to Start Using It | Opinion, by HARVEY A. RISCH, MD, PHD , PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, YALE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, https://www.newsweek.com/key-defeating-covid-19-already-exists-we-need-start-using-it-opinion-1519535

He explained that he believes (and this is a shocker) that politics have been injected into what should be a basic medical discussion:

Why has hydroxychloroquine been disregarded?

First, as all know, the medication has become highly politicized. For many, it is viewed as a marker of political identity, on both sides of the political spectrum. Nobody needs me to remind them that this is not how medicine should proceed. We must judge this medication strictly on the science. 

The Key to Defeating COVID-19 Already Exists. We Need to Start Using It | Opinion, by HARVEY A. RISCH, MD, PHD , PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, YALE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, https://www.newsweek.com/key-defeating-covid-19-already-exists-we-need-start-using-it-opinion-1519535

And the results are continuing to look good for this inexpensive treatment:

Since publication of my May 27 article, seven more studies have demonstrated similar benefit. In a lengthy follow-up letter, also published by AJE, I discuss these seven studies and renew my call for the immediate early use of hydroxychloroquine in high-risk patients. These seven studies include: an additional 400 high-risk patients treated by Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, with zero deaths; four studies totaling almost 500 high-risk patients treated in nursing homes and clinics across the U.S., with no deaths; a controlled trial of more than 700 high-risk patients in Brazil, with significantly reduced risk of hospitalization and two deaths among 334 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine; and another study of 398 matched patients in France, also with significantly reduced hospitalization risk. Since my letter was published, even more doctors have reported to me their completely successful use.

The Key to Defeating COVID-19 Already Exists. We Need to Start Using It | Opinion, by HARVEY A. RISCH, MD, PHD , PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, YALE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, https://www.newsweek.com/key-defeating-covid-19-already-exists-we-need-start-using-it-opinion-1519535

Want to read the paper for yourself? Here it is. This is the “abstract” summarizing the paper’s research and findings. The research itself, albeit with watermark, follows:

More than 1.6 million Americans have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and >10 times that number carry antibodies to it. High-risk patients presenting with progressing symptomatic disease have only hospitalization treatment with its high mortality. An outpatient treatment that prevents hospitalization is desperately needed. Two candidate medications have been widely discussed: remdesivir, and hydroxychloroquine+azithromycin. Remdesivir has shown mild effectiveness in hospitalized inpatients, but no trials have been registered in outpatients. Hydroxychloroquine+azithromycin has been widely misrepresented in both clinical reports and public media, and outpatient trials results are not expected until September. Early outpatient illness is very different than later hospitalized florid disease and the treatments differ. Evidence about use of hydroxychloroquine alone, or of hydroxychloroquine+azithromycin in inpatients, is irrelevant concerning efficacy of the pair in early high-risk outpatient disease. Five studies, including two controlled clinical trials, have demonstrated significant major outpatient treatment efficacy. Hydroxychloroquine+azithromycin has been used as standard-of-care in more than 300,000 older adults with multicomorbidities, with estimated proportion diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmias attributable to the medications 47/100,000 users, of which estimated mortality is <20%, 9/100,000 users, compared to the 10,000 Americans now dying each week. These medications need to be widely available and promoted immediately for physicians to prescribe.

Abstract, Early Outpatient Treatment of Symptomatic, High-Risk Covid-19 Patients that Should be Ramped-Up Immediately as Key to the Pandemic Crisis American Journal of Epidemiology, kwaa093, https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwaa093
Published: 27 May 2020

Read it for yourself:

So with the West Virginia legislature out of session, and apparently willing to sit this “once-in-our-lifetimes” emergency out, who’s responsibility is it to sort through the facts? Do West Virginians have access to Hydroxychloroquine? Are our medical “Czars” who are making the decisions about whether our businesses get closed or not, reviewing all of the data? Or are they just playing politics?

Do you see why our wise forefathers gave us a system of representative Democracy? We have decision-makers, who have little microphones at their seats so they can argue with each other over disputed facts and policy, with hand little rule-books so that the process is organized. They’re called our delegates, and our senators. We elect them to act on our behalf. And in return they will be accountable to us. Right now nobody is accountable.

“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” – Thomas Paine.

3 thoughts on “COVID Tyranny: the truth, and why we need our elected representatives to do their job

  1. Mr. Bryan, the refutation to Dr. Risch’s article is too detailed to post here, but I urge you to read the linked rebuttal in its entirety. Feel free to follow up on all the individual refutations yourself, as I did. I think you will find that Dr. Risch’s argument falls apart under scrutiny.

    Please reconsider promoting this potentially harmful information. Of course, all medical opinions should be considered, but when they are in direct opposition to medical and scientific consensus AND they cross over into dangerous advice, as Dr. Risch’s does, they become the equivalent of shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater. The potential for harm outweighs the potential for benefits.

    https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/hydroxychloroquine-to-treat-covid-19-evidence-cant-seem-to-kill-it/

    Independently checked credentials of the source of this article:

    https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/science-based-medicine/

      • Mr. Bryan, I understand why you would be reluctant to listen to a random guy on the Internet, especially when he is criticizing a doctor’s opinion on a medical issue. But you are a lawyer, sir, and undoubtedly familiar with the term “preponderance of evidence”, something that in this case is in direct opposition to your narrative. Surely you must see Dr. Risch is an outlier, and unqualified in that position – not relative to me, but relative to the vast majority of doctors, scientists and researchers who strongly maintain an opposing opinion.

        Perhaps you will pay more attention to Dr. Risch’s own Yale colleagues:

        “We write with grave concern that too many are being distracted by the ardent advocacy of our Yale colleague, Dr. Harvey Risch, to promote the assertion that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) when given with antibiotics is effective in treating COVID-19, in particular as an early therapeutic intervention for the disease. As his colleagues, we defend the right of Dr. Risch, a respected cancer epidemiologist, to voice his opinions. But he is not an expert in infectious disease epidemiology and he has not been swayed by the body of scientific evidence from rigorously conducted clinical trials, which refute the plausibility of his belief and arguments. Over the last few weeks, all of us have spent considerable time explaining the evidence behind HCQ research, as it applies to early and late stage COVID-19 patients to the scientific community and general public, and now are compelled to detail the evidence in this open letter.

        We are seriously alarmed for the safety of patients and the coherence and effectiveness of our national COVID-19 emergency response when misinformation about HCQ is spread and when rigorous scientific evidence and consensus produced by the community of expert researchers in infectious diseases, federal agencies and national and global health organizations are not heeded. Let us be clear: we are unanimous in our desire to see the development of therapies to treat COVID-19 and to prevent the transmission or acquisition of SARS-CoV-2. If HCQ was shown to be effective, even among subgroups of patients with COVID-19 in ongoing high quality trials, we would join our colleagues in promoting access to it for all who need it. However, the evidence thus far has been unambiguous in refuting the premise that HCQ is a potentially effective early therapy for COVID-19.”

        https://medium.com/@gregggonsalves/statement-from-yale-faculty-on-hydroxychloroquine-and-its-use-in-covid-19-47d0dee7b2b0

        I encourage you to do your own research on this matter, rather than cherry-picking the one outlying doctor whom you believe bolsters your narrative. Act like a good lawyer and search for the conclusion which is supported by the preponderance of evidence. And once you exercise your own critical thinking skills in the matter and come to the only logical conclusion, I encourage you to cease spreading harmful advice from unqualified outlying sources for what can only be termed as furthering a partisan narrative at the expense of public health in the midst of a pandemic.

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