Growing up in small town America in the 1960s, I saw physicians as scientists. They seemed to take it is as part of their duties to walk patients through the reasoning that attends the scientific method. I experienced it myself and heard it described by others, so at age 12, when I first met a physician socially (a heart-and-lung surgeon, father of my brothers’ new kayak buddies), I asked him about it. He counseled me to think of physicians as scientists, but ones who work with scalpels and medicine rather than with telescopes or particle accelerators. He confirmed to me that it was understood among physicians that their “calling” included acting as missionaries of science into the heart of America, and that in the 1940’s – 1960’s it was indeed part of medical school education to nurture in would-be physicians a broad conception of their role in society, including the role of fostering scientific thinking in the public through their practice of medicine.
Occasionally our families skied together. One after-ski evening in their condo in Stratton, Vermont, new neighbors dropped by. One man introduced himself as “Dr.” so and so. He was quizzed, and it turned out he was a professor of history in a college in Vermont. When the introductions reached the surgeon, the surgeon said his name and then, “I’m a real doctor not a PhD.” I knew what he meant, and it stuck in my mind. It did not seem out of place, either, to me at 12, for a physician to be imperious towards others in that way. They were, after all, scientists.
It would strange to me now, because of late, some physicians have fallen in exemplifying a scientific mindset for the populace. They have become political agents. I will avoid mentioning the ways they are mute before the advance of pseudo-scientific ideologies. But their abdication of responsibility is nowhere more profound than it is with regard to Covid. They have let themselves be bullied and pushed around into breaking the Hippocratic Oaths they made to the Greek gods, in practice they have provided substandard care to millions of patients, and their indolence has played a role in the destabilization of society.
Nowhere is that more clear than with respect to Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin. These two drugs are on the WHO List of Essential Medicines (2017), which is to say, they are on the short list of several dozen medicines that every country should have in ample supply. They are ubiquitous in the Third World, and are thought of as being about as benign as aspirin. I myself have had one occasion to take Ivermectin and numerous occasions to take HCQ, and experienced no ill effect (I vaguely recall one moment of dizziness lasting a couple seconds, a common side-effect of HCQ).
Best of all, it turns out that remarkable success is possible in treatment of Covid with HCQ and Ivermectin. In October, 2020, the NIH published a study showing treatment of critically ill Covid patients with HCQ was effective: “Low dose of hydroxychloroquine reduces fatality of critically ill patients with COVID-19“
“These data demonstrate that addition of HCQ on top of the basic treatments is highly effective in reducing the fatality of critically ill patients of COVID-19 through attenuation of inflammatory cytokine storm.’
The American Journal of Therapeutics reported this summer that “large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using Ivermectin.”
Even more encouraging than reductions in mortality in advanced cases of Covid-19, have been results regarding HCQ and Ivermectin for early treatment of Covid-19. The NIH paper above states, “Using ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease.” And a live metastudy of 274 academic studies shows 65-75% reductions in disease and death when HCQ is administered early.
Once the success of these two drugs started becoming apparent, the Establishment did everything possible to demonize the drugs. Governors got in on the act by writing special orders preventing physicians from using these benign drugs to treat Covid-19. Pharmacies are reported as refusing to fill prescriptions for HCQ if they suspect it is being used to treat Covid, so intent are they that it not be used to stop the spread of Covid.
Significant numbers of doctors have broken from this othodoxy. Dr. Simone Gold is a physician-lawyer who leads a group called “America’s Frontline Doctors“. A colleague of hers recently put it to me succinctly: At this point any physician who is simply following the standard protocols is betraying patients.
That is how it looks from the point of patient care. But from an epidemiological point of view, how well do HCQ and Ivermectin work? Just four months ago, the world watched as India’s second Covid-19 wave swelled to dwarf their 2020 Covid experience. Nightly newscasts showed India turning into a scene out of a disaster flick. “India’s Failure of Leadership Collapses Health System in COVID-19 Surge“, wrote the Commonwealth Fund on April 29, 2021 (just three months and a week ago as I write). In early May, India was being written off as a medical disaster zone (a basket case with a “collapsed health care system”) in the face of this second wave:
India decided to take the step that had been counseled for over a year by dissident physician groups such as Dr. Gold’s: provide HCQ and Ivermectin to Covid patients as early as possible, without prescription.
For this decision India was vilified by the global health Establishment. For example: “‘Fearing Covid’, Indians are popping ivermectin, HCQ, dexamethasone — all self-prescribed“.
After taking these unprecedented steps to make hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin available to India’s general public, rather than seeing India’s health care system (and India itself) collapse under the weight of Covid, the only thing that collapsed was that second wave of Covid engulfing India. Note the red mark where India made HCQ and Ivermectin widely available:
I suspect the pandemic we are experiencing could be resolved tomorrow (and could have been resolved a year ago) if we had the clarity and courage that India has demonstrated. It does not take poisoning Americans with concentrations of Covid’s spike protein (i.e., the J&J vaccine); it does not take putting miniature Covid-19 spike protein factories in our arms to wreak havoc with ovaries and balls (i.e., Pfizer and Moderna’s “vaccines”). We can just use two drugs that are widely available, have many decades of safe use, and cost about 10 cents per treatment.
To this day, hospital protocol across the USA still holds that when people present with positive Covid-19 tests and early-stage Covid-19 symptoms, tell them to go home, rest, take Ibuprofen, and let it run its course. In other words, “Have some chicken soup.” Shockingly, the protocol is not to tell people about HCQ and Ivermectin. Only if a case gets bad enough is a patient instructed to reappear at the hospital for more aggressive treatment (e.g., monoclonal antibodies, or ultimately, intubation, which are worth at least $3,000 and $10,000 to the hospital, respectively).
Those instructions are killing Americans, have their origin in decisions made in Washington, DC. They have little to do with what is best for the health of Americans, and everything to do with the political considerations of a regime that came to power in a rigged election.
I waited 46 years to write this: “I say that as a real doctor and not a medical doctor.” 😂😅😆😂
NB Something woke me up in the middle of the night telling me to revisit this. The frustration of trying to fight an epidemic and having one’s motives questioned struck me as not right (notwithstanding that they did it to Trump for a year). Medical information has its own special rules. So just to be super clear:
- “I’m a real doctor not a medical doctor” – This is a stab at humor, and refers to the fact that I am a PhD of philosophy (like that professor of history mentioned above), not a medical doctor. As readers of this site know, I believe. Thus, there is a fine line: I believe I can comment on policy decisions being made, but I do not want anyone to mistake that for individual medical advice.
- The thrust of my critique is not regarding taking the vaccines or not. If you have the co-morbidities that attend Covid-19, it may definitely make sense for you. What is it that troubles me, then, about official responses to Covid-19 worldwide?
- Antipathy to the point of demonization of HCQ and Ivermectin, two drugs that until a year ago the World Health Organization thought entirely benign, and among the three dozen or so drugs it recommends be ubiquitous, and whose efficacy against Covid if given early has been demonstrated in hundreds of studies linked to above.
- Odd behavior of the authorities regarding vaccinations, particularly their enthusiasms for boosters based on science that no one can explain. Dr. Simone Gold (an MD from University of Chicago and a JD from Stanford, interestingly enough) runs an organization (America’s Frontline Doctors) that provides a wealth of published scientific research on this subject. I feel that if a new pulsar were discovered in Andromeda, their reply would be, “Well that sounds like a reason to recommend another booster!” I have been on close terms with many a physician, and they have always displayed a type of conservativism in choices that I do not see on display here.
- Obviously this is all fair for social commentary. But that must be distinguished from giving medical advice to individuals. Every decision people need to make about Covid and their treatment thereof is an individual decision (at least to some degree), and must reflect individual cost/benefit trade-offs (as well as some social cost/benefit trade-offs, public health officials would argue). For some of our population that may mean taking the vaccine. My mother got the vaccine, and given her age and medical history, I was supportive of that decision. Frankly, I could argue it round or flat. In making your decisions about treatment you have to consult your own history and physicians, and not be guided by a social critique such as mine. After all, I am not a physician, and while they were studying useful subjects like Immunology, I was studying useless fields like mathematical logic.