The COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented disruptive effect on medicine as well as the economy, writes Jane M. Orient, M.D., in the summer issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. She compares it with the response to AIDS, which at first was believed to be highly contagious and invariably fatal.
It was considered unethical to stigmatize or isolate AIDS patients, to deny them treatment, or to alter the type of treatment they could receive, Dr. Orient recalls. Their contacts were not quarantined, and testing required special informed consent. In contrast, with COVID-19 all but the most essential medical and dental treatment may be forbidden. Widespread testing is contemplated, with isolation of persons with a positive test, and of their contacts.
Recognizing that AIDS patients could not wait for the results of clinical trials, Dr. Anthony Fauci, early in his career, advocated easing the rules to permit patients to try anything they thought might work, she notes. Now, Fauci favors suppressing the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, drugs long-approved for malaria and autoimmune diseases, for this new indication, pending studies that he considers adequate.
“Suddenly, drugs used for more than 60 years…by millions of people, with rare adverse effects, are deemed too dangerous for protecting people from this sometimes deadly virus,” Dr. Orient states.
It is perfectly legal to prescribe approved drugs for “off-label” uses, and about one-fifth of all prescriptions are “off label,” she notes.
Lacking access to treatment, Americans are being subjected to unprecedented, draconian restrictions on their freedom. Dr. Orient observes that such measures were never contemplated for past epidemics, which were far more deadly, including the 1958 “Asian flu” and the 1968 “Hong Kong flu.” There is scant evidence for the effectiveness of masks, lockdowns, and “social distancing,” although there is devastating harm.
In addition to hydroxychloroquine, other promising modalities are either ignored or dismissed by organized medicine and the media. Dr. Orient mentions vitamin D, high-dose intravenous vitamin C, ivermectin, zinc and ionophores that help it enter cells, hyperbaric oxygenation, and low-dose radiation.
Dr. Orient concludes that: “The pretext of ‘science’ and ‘evidence-based medicine’ is masking authoritarianism that disregards, discredits, and attempts to cancel methods that could save thousands of lives threatened not just by COVID-19, but by many other diseases, both old and emerging.”