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Opinion

The Key to Defeating COVID-19 Already Exists. We Need to Start Using It – Dr. Harvey Rish, Newsweek

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.

I am referring, of course, to the medication hydroxychloroquine. When this inexpensive oral medication is given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control, it has shown to be highly effective, especially when given in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and the nutritional supplement zinc.

  •  As a result, tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19 are dying unnecessarily.
  • An inexpensive and be highly effective treatment, especially when given early: Hydroxychloroquine in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and zinc.
  • The article, “Early Outpatient Treatment of Symptomatic, High-Risk COVID-19 Patients that Should be Ramped-Up Immediately as Key to the Pandemic Crisis” was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (AJE). It analyzed five studies, demonstrating clear benefits and safety of this treatment.
  • Other 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.
  • “Natural experiments:” northern Brazil state of Pará used hydroxychloroquine to reduce deaths.
  • Hydroxychloroquine has shown major success when used early in high-risk people but, as one would expect for an antiviral, much less success when used late in the disease course.
  • Delays in waiting before starting the medications can reduce their efficacy.
  • FDA concerns about the drug did not announce is that these adverse events were generated from tens of millions of patient uses of hydroxychloroquine for long periods of time, often for the chronic treatment of lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The harms are minuscule compared to the mortality occurring right now in inadequately treated high-risk COVID-19 patients.

https://www.newsweek.com/key-defeating-covid-19-already-exists-we-need-start-using-it-opinion-1519535

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News

Hydroxychloroquine could save up to 100,000 lives if used for COVID-19: Yale epidemiology professor – Fox News

Dr. Harvey Risch, an epidemiology professor at Yale School of Public Health, said on Tuesday that he thinks hydroxychloroquine could save 75,000 to 100,000 lives if the drug is widely used to treat coronavirus.

“There are many doctors that I’ve gotten hostile remarks about saying that all the evidence is bad for it and, in fact, that is not true at all,” Risch told “Ingraham Angle,” adding that he believes the drug can be used as a “prophylactic” for front-line workers, as other countries like India have done.

Risch lamented that a “propaganda war” is being waged against the use of the drug for political purposes, not based on “medical facts.”

Researchers at the Henry Ford Health System in Southeast Michigan have found that early administration of hydroxychloroquine makes hospitalized patients substantially less likely to die.

https://www.foxnews.com/media/hydroxychloroquine-could-save-lives-ingraham-yale-professor

Categories
Opinion

‘The lockdown is causing so many deaths’ – Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, Spiked

Lockdown deaths:

The really concerning thing is that if all the deaths taking place during lockdown are put down as Covid-19 deaths, we are going to miss the fact that the lockdown policies have caused an increase in deaths from many other things. There has been a 50 per cent reduction in people turning up to A&E. It is clear that people just do not want to bother the doctors. And a number of these people will be dying. If we muddle the Covid-19 statistics in with the other statistics, we might think the lockdown has prevented a certain number of deaths, when it has actually caused a large number of deaths.

NHS capacity:

You hear this idea that all NHS staff have been working 20 times as hard as they have ever done. This is complete nonsense. An awful lot of people have been standing around wondering what the hell to do with themselves. A&E has never been so quiet.

The chances of children dying from COVID-19:

How many people aged 15 or under have died of Covid-19? Four. The chance of dying from a lightning strike is one in 700,000. The chance of dying of Covid-19 in that age group is one in 3.5million. And we locked them all down. Even among the 15- to 44-year-olds, the death rate is very low and the vast majority of deaths have been people who had significant underlying health conditions. We locked them down as well. We locked down the population that had virtually zero risk of getting any serious problems from the disease, and then spread it wildly among the highly vulnerable age group.

On vaccines:

It is not clear that getting the virus actually makes you immune to it in the future, and it is not clear a vaccine would either.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/06/26/the-lockdown-is-causing-so-many-deaths/

Categories
Opinion

Lockdown and social distancing could make our immune system weaker, says scientist – The Telegraph

Prolonged periods of lockdown cocooning the public from germs could leave people dangerously vulnerable to new viruses, a leading epidemiologist has warned.

Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology at the University of Oxford, fears intense social distancing could actually weaken immune systems because people are not exposed to germs and so do not develop defences that could protect them against future pandemics.

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Videos

COVID19 Never Grows Exponentially – Professor Michael Levitt

Part 1: Exponential Growth is Terrifying

This is my first podcast and they will improve. This is Part 1 and it describes how COVID may grow exponentially and how we flatten the growth curve.

Part 2: Curve Fitting for Understanding

This is Part 2. Fitting viral growth data with simple mathematical functions can give important insights into how epidemics will grow. Here we illustrate two commonly used growth curves, the Sigmoid Function and the Gompertz Function. While superficially similar, they are really very different.

Part 3: COVID19 Never Grows Exponentially

Part 3. The total case numbers in South Korea and New Zealand have exponential growth rates that decrease linearly on a log-scale. This is not ever exponential growth.

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Publications

Complexity of the Basic Reproduction Number (R0) – NCBI (2019)

Although R0 might appear to be a simple measure that can be used to determine infectious disease transmission dynamics and the threats that new outbreaks pose to the public health, the definition, calculation, and interpretation of R0 are anything but simple. R0 remains a valuable epidemiologic concept, but the expanded use of R0 in both the scientific literature and the popular press appears to have enabled some misunderstandings to propagate. R0 is an estimate of contagiousness that is a function of human behavior and biological characteristics of pathogens. R0 is not a measure of the severity of an infectious disease or the rapidity of a pathogen’s spread through a population. R0 values are nearly always estimated from mathematical models, and the estimated values are dependent on numerous decisions made in the modeling process. The contagiousness of different historic, emerging, and reemerging infectious agents cannot be fairly compared without recalculating R0 with the same modeling assumptions. Some of the R0 values commonly reported in the literature for past epidemics might not be valid for outbreaks of the same infectious disease today.

R0 can be misrepresented, misinterpreted, and misapplied in a variety of ways that distort the metric’s true meaning and value. Because of these various sources of confusion, R0 must be applied and discussed with caution in research and practice. This epidemiologic construct will only remain valuable and relevant when used and interpreted correctly.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6302597/

Categories
Publications

DFTB COVID-19 EVIDENCE REVIEW – Don’t Forget the Bubbles (pediatrics blog)

Don’t Forget The Bubbles — a blog for medical professionals specializing in pediatrics — partnered with the UK Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health to track and review studies on COVID-19 in children, according to its website. Using research from 78 of those studies, it released a 45-page report on April 22 that extracts early findings on the epidemiology, transmission and symptoms of the coronavirus in children.

Conclusion:

The role of children in transmission is unclear, but it seems likely they do not play a significant role.

https://dontforgetthebubbles.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/COVID-data-top-10.pdf

Categories
News Opinion

Britain’s Covid-19 lockdown was futile, says Swedish epidemiologist – The Telegraph

Johan Giesecke, a state epidemiologist who advises the World Health Organisation, said the UK’s death toll suggested instating harsh social restrictions was not the best method of tackling the pandemic. 

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News Videos

Coronavirus: Is the government really ‘following the science’? – BBC Newsnight

Throughout the UK’s coronavirus crisis, the government has stressed its response has been guided not by ideology; not by politics – but by the science. So what are the scientific justifications for lockdown?

Categories
Publications

Significant levels of herd immunity in the UK – Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford – medRxiv

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.24.20042291v1

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News

Characteristics of COVID-19 positive deceased patients in Italy as of 17 March 2020 – 67/5000 – Epidemiology for Public Health Italy

https://www.epicentro.iss.it/coronavirus/bollettino/Report-COVID-2019_17_marzo-v2.pdf

Categories
Videos

How Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg sees the current Corona pandemic

Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg, an epidemiologist and lung disease specialist, explains coronavirus testing.