Following a video of Houston physician Dr. Stella Immanuel that went viral Monday in which she claimed that the drug Hydroxychloroquine works to both treat COVID-19 and as a preventative to avoid catching the virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci told Good Morning America he stands with the FDA on their findings that the drug is not an effective or safe way to treat COVID-19.
Immanual said in the video, “In the past few months, after taking in over 350 patients, we have not lost one. Not a diabetic, not somebody with high blood pressure, not somebody with asthma, not an old person. We’ve not lost one patient.”
She says Hydroxychloroquine in combination with zinc, and Zithromax work to treat COVID-19 if given early in the infection.
Yet when asked about the effectiveness of Hydroxychloroquine after Immanuel spoke about it in the video during America’s Frontline Doctors Summit, Fauci said “I go along with the FDA. The overwhelming prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in coronavirus unknown disease.”
The group that Immanuel was part of, America’s Frontline Doctors Summit, was organized by Tea Party Patriots, according to Breitbart News.
The FDA said on July 1 that a “summary of the FDA review of safety issues with the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat hospitalized patients with COVID-19” showed “reports of serious heart rhythm problems and other safety issues, including blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver problems and failure.”
Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos asked Fauci about accusations that he is misleading the public. He responded, “I have not been misleading the American public, under any circumstances. We’re in the middle of a crisis with regard to an epidemic a pandemic. This is what I do. This is what I’ve been trained for my entire professional life and I’ll continue to do it.”
A Newly Released Study of Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 by the Henry Ford Health System Found the Drug Cut Down COVID-19 Deaths & Did Not Cause Heart Problems
Just a day after the FDA released its latest opinion, a study by The Henry Ford Health System published on July 2 said “treatment with hydroxychloroquine cut the death rate significantly in sick patients hospitalized with COVID-19 – and without heart-related side-effects.”
The reasons for such different study results are explained by Dr. Marcus Zervos, division head of Infectious Disease for Henry Ford Health System. He said it had to do with a different approach to treatment, including closer monitoring for possible heart issues and different dosing. He said:
“We attribute our findings that differ from other studies to early treatment, and part of a combination of interventions that were done in supportive care of patients, including careful cardiac monitoring. Our dosing also differed from other studies not showing a benefit of the drug. And other studies are either not peer-reviewed, have limited numbers of patients, different patient populations or other differences from our patients.”
In their study, 13% of patients treated with hydroxychloroquine died. Of the group not treated with the drug, 26.4% died.
Social Media Outlets Including Facebook & Twitter Have Removed Posts of Immanuel’s Speech & Suspended Accounts of Donald Trump Jr. For Tweeting the Video Saying It Was Spreading False Information
CNN reported Tuesday that Donald Trump Jr.’s Twitter account was temporarily suspended for tweeting the viral video of Immanuel saying Hydrochlorquine is a cure for COVID-19 and that masks are not necessary. The account would only be suspended for 12 hours.
According to CNN, “the video, which was published by the right-wing media outlet Breitbart News and went viral online on Monday, featured a group of doctors making false and dubious claims related to coronavirus, including that masks are unnecessary. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube removed the video after it started to go viral.”
In a time when conflicting information is coming out from doctors and different studies as epidemiologists are still learning about coronavirus, the attributes of Hydroxychloroquine has been touted by President Trump for months as both a treatment and a preventative for the disease, even as some of the top medical agencies in the United States have discounted the drug, which is normally used to treat things like malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is sold under the name Plaquenil or in generic form.
The National Institute of Health said in June that their studies on Hydroxychloroquine did not cause any harm but also did not provide any benefit.
Fox News had Dr. Harvey Risch, an epidemiology professor at Yale School of Public Health, tell them Tuesday, in his opinion “hydroxychloroquine could save 75,000 to 100,000 lives if the drug is widely used to treat coronavirus,” saying he thinks frontline doctors know this yet the FDA’s admonishment of the drug is blocking a decision that he says should be between patients and doctors.
One thing that Fauci says is not debatable, though, is the guidance put forth by the CDC about how to avoid getting and spreading the virus. He told Good Morning America:
There are certain fundamental things we should be doing particularly if you happen to be in an area with high viral activity. Wear a mask all the time when you’re outside; social distancing six feet at least; avoid crowds; close bars in areas with high viral activity; and do hand hygiene. There’s no question about that — so that’s something that’s not really arguable.