New York City has become the U.S. Wuhan.
As of today at 3:27 p.m., Johns Hopkins University reports, COVID-19 had plagued 14,904 individuals and killed 125 in America’s most populous metropolis. As a Manhattanite, it has been eerie in recent days to listen to the silence coming through my normally racket-riddled windows, with commerce, culture, and cuisine at an almost total standstill.
But none of this matters to America’s so-called “Paper of Record.” Even as its readers and subscribers literally drop dead by the dozen, it devoted time, energy, and column inches to ridicule a possible treatment for COVID-19 — just because President Donald J. Trump praised it.
Based on recent research by France’s Dr. Didier Raoult of Aix-Marseille University, a drug called hydrocholoroquine has shown clinical aptitude among people infected and even hospitalized with COVID-19. This is no cutting-edge drug. It traces its roots to Interessengemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG’s Dr. Hans Andersag, who developed it in Elberfeld, Germany in 1934. It has been used since then, in various forms, to fight malaria. Its salutary impact on COVID-19 seems to be enhanced by azithromycin, a prescription antibiotic discovered in Yugoslavia in 1980 and branded by Pfizer as Zithromax in 1991. It has sold happily ever after.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson presented this encouraging news last Thursday. Word spread quickly, and President Donald J. Trump discussed it enthusiastically at one of his daily COVID-19 press conferences last week. “It’s shown very, very encouraging early results,” the president said.
Rather than celebrate a potential remedy for this ailment, which would preserve the health and the very lives of thousands of people who buy its “newspaper” daily, this Left-wing-propaganda outlet went on attack — not against these deadly germs, but against something they hate even more: President Trump.
As National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis wrote Saturday, the “Paper of Record” skinned up its nose at the hydroxychloroquine hypothesis.
“With Minimal Evidence, Trump Asks F.D.A. to Study Malaria Drugs for Coronavirus,” huffed a headline Friday. The subhead sneered: “The use of the existing drugs against the new virus is unproven, and some shortages have already been reported.”
Of course, this is the definition of research: Start with minimal evidence, study in search of further evidence, and see if it will prove or disprove an unproven theory. High-school students recognize this as “the scientific method.”
This article then scolded President Trump who, the piece claims, “exaggerated the potential of drugs available to treat the new coronavirus, including an experimental antiviral treatment and decades-old malaria remedies that hint of promise but so far show limited evidence of healing the sick.”
Hardly a snake-oil peddler, Trump merely said, “I feel good about it. And we’re going to see. You’re going to see soon enough.” The article itself admitted that the president “acknowledg[ed] he couldn’t predict the drugs would work.”
Not yet sated, the Old Gray Lady’s minions continued their hope-killing mission with another article whose headline suggested that the president remains untouched by the Enlightenment: “Trump’s Embrace of Unproven Drugs to Treat Coronavirus Defies Science.”
What a difference a few days make! The Old Gray Lady now has been exposed as petty, heartless, stupid, flat-out wrong, and — gasp! — anti-science. The “unproven drugs” that “defy science” now are being considered very seriously as a prospective path out of this sudden-onset national nightmare.
Scientists have observed the paucity of COVID-19 cases in Africa where, sadly, malaria still exists. In some African nations, many people use chloroquine against that disease. So, ironically, Africans who are vulnerable to malaria might enjoy a desirable side effect: COVID-19 resistance.
The Centers for Disease Control greeted all of this with the scientific equivalent of a flashing yellow light: Proceed, with caution.
“Based upon limited in-vitro and anecdotal data, chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine are currently recommended for treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in several countries,” according to a CDC guidance for clinicians posted Saturday. “One small study reported that hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination with azithromycin reduced detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in upper respiratory tract specimens compared with a non-randomized control group but did not assess clinical benefit…In the United States, several clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis or treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection are planned or will be enrolling soon.”
SARS-CoV-2 = COVID-19.
The University of Minnesota on March 17 began recruiting 1,500 participants for a randomized, quadruple-blind Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trial. It aims to determine the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for post-exposure prophylaxis and/or preemptive therapy for people exposed to COVID-19. Researchers expect published results in May 2021.
Governor Andrew Cuomo (D – New York) will not wait 14 months for those findings. In fact, on Sunday, he announced that the Empire State had secured 750,000 doses of chloroquine, 70,000 of hydroxychloroquine, and 10,000 of Zithromax. These drugs, Cuomo explained, would be used in a COVID-19 clinical study that begins today. He said: “The president is optimistic about these drugs, and we are all optimistic that it could work.”
Let’s see if the Old Gray Lady slams Cuomo as a buffoon who should shut up, or if she cheers Cuomo for echoing Trump’s positive feelings for this would-be cure. More likely, the Old Gray Lady simply will admit nothing and slouch off to her next disgrace. Being the “Paper of Record” means never having to say you’re sorry.
On this life-or-death topic, America’s most shameless rag could have rejoiced, cautiously expressed anticipation, or — what a concept! — simply written a balanced news story (i.e.Doctors Adams, Avila, and Abramowitz are intrigued about treating COVID-19 patients with hydrochloroquine. However, Doctors Zane, Zapata, and Zweig are skeptical about this approach. Further research may settle this widely debated clinical question.)
Instead, these “reporters” went far out of their way to take the first flash of gold in this horror show and grind it beneath their heels into the sidewalk at Eighth Avenue and West 40th Street — their sad, scared, and sick readers, subscribers, and advertisers in America’s COVID-19 epicenter be damned.
Even as dead bodies stack up in New York City, this mockery of a media outlet’s enemy is not COVID-19. No matter what, its sworn and permanent enemy is President Donald J. Trump.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor, a contributing editor with National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.