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A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943

COVID-19: Who Has ‘Blood on His Hands’?

NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Joe Biden whether President Trump “has blood on his hands” for his allegedly slow response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Trump has been guided by the bureaucracies charged with protecting the public health—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—and the same career-long official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was in charge of the response to the AIDS epidemic and the 2009 novel influenza (swine flu or H1N1 ) epidemic. The latter looked about as bad or worse than COVID-19, though the final outcome of COVID-19 is as yet unknown.

Who is responsible for not replacing the 100 million masks used up in 2009, or for not locking down the country then? Not President Trump. Who is responsible for our dependence on China for 90% of our medications and most of our personal protective equipment? Not President Trump. (It happened over decades.)

Who is impeding rapid use of a promising old and inexpensive drug to treat and possibly reduce spread of COVID-19, which was mentioned by President Trump?

Hydroxychloroquine, especially combined with zinc sulfate and the antibiotic azithromycin, is showing great promise in many countries, and in New York State. Early use before extensive lung damage, or prophylactic use, is most likely to work. Many doctors are taking or prescribing it. This is a perfectly legal “off-label” use of a drug approved for other indications. As many as one in five prescriptions for all drugs may be off label.

We won’t know the results of ongoing studies for months. If we wait, many patients may unnecessarily die, spend weeks on a ventilator, or suffer permanent organ damage. Do the side effects of the drugs (some serious but rare) outweigh the benefits? That’s a judgment call. Doctors go to medical school to learn how to make those decisions.

Who is demonizing or threatening doctors who prescribe, or even forbidding them to prescribe or pharmacists to fill prescriptions except under restrictive conditions?

We can be sure that government officials, agencies, or professional organizations will not be held accountable if patients die because their doctors’ hands are tied.

For further information, see our compendium of Corona Virus Articles.

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