Patterico's Pontifications

5/18/2020

POTUS Announces He Is Taking Hydroxychloroquine As A Preventative Measure

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:54 pm



[guest post by Dana]

In spite of warnings by Dr. Fauci, and in spite of *FDA safety warnings issued in April, President Trump announced today that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative medicine against the coronavirus. Apparently, the potential side effects on a 73-year old, overweight man with high blood pressure, and lack of actual evidence that it is effective as a preventative medicine did not matter in the end:

President Trump said Monday that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug whose effectiveness against the coronavirus is unproven, for about a week and a half as a preventive measure, saying he had no symptoms of Covid-19.

“All I can tell you is, so far I seem to be OK,” he said, explaining that he takes a daily pill.

The president also said that, along with the daily dose of hydroxychloroquine, he has been taking a a daily dose of zinc and an initial dose of the antibiotic azithromycin. Studies have linked the combination of these drugs to an increase of cardiac arrests.

Dr. David Boulware of the University of Minnesota, who is overseeing a national trial to determine whether hydroxychloroquine can prevent infections, cautioned:

There are no data that pre-exposure prophylaxis is effective to prevent coronavirus. It may be. It may not be. We do not know. The only way I would recommend taking hydroxychloroquine is within a clinical trial.

Other doctors also cautioned against taking it:

“I think it’s a very bad idea to be taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive medication,” said Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and the director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, Calif. “There are no data to support that, there’s no evidence, and in fact there is no compelling evidence to support its use at all at this point.”

Dr. David Maron, a cardiologist and the chief of the Stanford Prevention Research Center, said in an interview that in his opinion “the risk-benefit ratio doesn’t make sense.”

Further:

Dr. Steven E. Nissen, the chief academic officer of the The Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, said hydroxychloroquine was “not an innocent therapy,” adding that he had treated a number of patients who developed a life-threatening arrhythmia, which the drug can cause.

“This disorder can be lethal,” Dr. Nissen said. “My concern would be that the public not hear comments about the use of hydroxychloroquine and believe that taking this drug to prevent Covid-19 infection is without hazards. In fact, there are serious hazards.”

Clearly, all medical practitioners are not on the same page with regard to using hydroxychloroquine as a preventative medication for the coronavirus:

Asked if the White House doctor recommended he begin taking hydroxychloroquine, Trump demurred.

“I asked him what do you think, he said, ‘Well if you’d like it,’ ” the President told reporters.

The President’s physician, Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, alluded in a memo released Monday night to Trump’s personal valet testing positive two weeks ago for coronavirus. While Conley didn’t say directly that Trump started taking hydroxychloroquine in response to the valet testing positive, the timing mentioned by Trump and the positive test match up.

“After numerous discussions, he and I had regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks,” Conley wrote, adding that Trump has taken multiple tests for coronavirus — all negative — and remains symptom free.

“I’m not going to get hurt by it,” Mr. Trump said, claiming he was making the revelation in order to be transparent with Americans. “It has been around for 40 years for malaria, for lupus, for other things. I take it. Front-line workers take it. A lot of doctors take it. I take it.”

And although the released memo reveals that the doctor did discuss the use of hydroxychloroquine by the president, it did not confirm that he was indeed taking it. However, there is this tweet from the NYT:

The president’s decision to take the drug comes as no surprise, given his zealous promotion of it back in early April. He takes a drug that doctors warn against taking as a preventative medicine. He refuses to wear a mask in public, as recommended by medical experts. But I do wonder about the level of pressure Trump put on Conley to prescribe him the drug. Given the lack of evidence supporting its effectiveness as a preventative medication against the coronavirus, as well as the potential side effects on an older person who is not in the best physical shape, and in this case, just happens to be the President of the United States, I would have guessed that the White House physician would have not simply said no to any such request, but would have emphatically said Absolutely Not!.

Anyway, here are some brief clips of Trump explaining why he decided to take the drug:

As The Post notes, today was a “triple whammy” of good news, so why would Trump want to detract from that by making a controversial announcement? I don’t really know why, but I do know that know one steps on his own good press more effectively than Trump himself.

*The FDA did authorize emergency use of hydroxychloroquine against the coronavirus in March, even though there was little evidence that it could work.

–Dana

Lockdown! Economic Collapse! What Should We Do? Let’s Reinstitute Racial Preferences!

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:12 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Lost amid the Golden State’s struggles with COVID-19 and the lockdown-driven economic collapse comes word that the California Legislature wants to place an initiative on this November’s election ballot which would lift the prohibition on racial preferences imposed by the passage of Proposition 209 nearly a quarter-century ago. Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 has the lone virtue of being direct and easy to understand: it simply deletes all of the language found in Article I, Section 31 of the California Constitution which had been added by the passage of Prop 209. This is, of course, the part which promised: “The State shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”

Those of us who were here 24 years ago probably remember the fierce debate surrounding the adoption of race-neutral preferences statewide. Contrary to how we might remember it, the battle to change the UC admissions policy had been won the previous year when the UC Board of Regents, led by Ward Connerly, voted to end racial preferences in admissions to the UC campuses, a decision that had roiled the state’s academic and civil rights establishments and had national reverberations. Prop. 209 codified the UC Regents’ action into state law and extended preference bans across all of the public education landscape as well as to public employment and contracting. Thus, six years later when a new left-wing majority of UC Regents ostentatiously voted to lift the prohibition on admissions preferences, the UC system was still stymied by state law established by Prop. 209.

There is a great deal to deride about the legislature’s latest attempt to re-fight yesterday’s battles. As the title of this post indicates, this hardly qualifies as a pressing issue when the state faces massive health and economic disasters. Debating the issue right now when everyone else’s attention is drawn to dozens of other higher-priority news items seems rather cowardly to me. And introducing a very contentious debate — even in a one-party state — at a time that screams out for cooperation and fellowship is an extremely tone-deaf move suggesting that the obsession with the culture wars takes a backseat to nothing where the social justice left is concerned.

But worst of all is that there is no indication that this fight would necessarily right many wrongs. Because Prop. 209 exempted preference programs that were required by a court decree or mandated by federal legislation, its effect upon public hiring and contracting was minimal. The real action all along as been in university admissions, especially the highly-selective UC schools. Peter Kirsanow over at National Review Online has done excellent work in tracing the post-affirmative action history at these campuses. He points out that while it is true that the enrollment of black and Latino students (those two groups along with Native Americans are slotted into a special “underrepresented minority” category so that diversity commissars have an excuse to ignore Asian-Americans) admitted to UC campuses fell dramatically in the aftermath of the ban on preferences, those numbers have consistently risen over the past quarter-century so that today they are larger than they were the year in the final year of legalized preferences, both in the total number of black and Latino students admitted to those campuses and the overall percentage of blacks and Latinos in the student body. In addition, the graduation rate for those groups has risen substantially, with today’s four-year graduation rate far better than the rate of the preferences era.

While it’s true that the underrepresented minority admissions rate at the two most selective campuses, Berkeley and UCLA, has not yet recovered to pre-ban levels, increased admissions among these groups at the other five UC campuses is more than picking up the slack. It’s certainly true that we should encourage the top students of all races and ethnicities to aspire to admission at our most selective institutions, but not at the expense of putting them in a situation where they will be surrounded by peers who are far better prepared for the rigors of college life. This was the point that UCLA professor Richard Sander and co-author Stuart Taylor made in their 2012 book Mismatch: that a student who might struggle to keep up at Berkeley would perhaps find the educational atmosphere far more manageable at, for example, UC Merced, so we are in fact doing her a disservice when we throw her into the academic maelstrom all in the name of increasing diversity at an elite campus.

The big question is how Asian Democrats will react to a reimposition of admissions preferences. Six years ago a group of black and Latino legislators undertook this same effort to undo Prop. 209, but the objections of their Asian-American legislative colleagues and advocacy groups forced them to back down. Back then, Jerry Brown probably wasn’t too keen on running for reelection with such a divisive proposition on the ballot, especially in a year when it was expected Republicans would have a strong turn-out nationally. But today, California Democrats have made great strides in co-opting Asian-Americans, partly by forgiving them for being so successful as long as they can count on their votes. This is an issue that will certainly affect Asian-Americans more so than any other racial or ethnic group: they make up about 15% of the population of the state, yet account for nearly 40% of UC enrollees. With the GOP prepared to run some Asian-American candidates for state legislative and Congressional seats this fall, Golden State Democrats might end up regretting choosing this particular moment to have this particular fight.

– JVW

A Contrast Of Two Men

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:23 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s let the tweets do the talking.

Saturday:

Monday:

[Ed. What’s funny is, I think Trump is so delusional that he actually believes he could have beaten Obama in 2008 and/or 2012...]

P.S. Two other Republicans have publicly questioned the firing:

“As I’ve said before, Congress requires written reasons justifying an IG’s removal. A general lack of confidence simply is not sufficient detail to satisfy Congress,” Grassley said in a statement.

Late Saturday night, Maine Sen. Susan Collins also responded to the firing in a series of tweets that suggested Linick’s dismissal didn’t meet the standard required by law.

“The President has not provided the kind of justification for the removal of IG Linick required by this law,” said Maine Sen. Susan Collins, referencing a law she co-authored in 2008, as part of a Twitter thread.

–Dana

Ben Sasse’s Commencement Speech to His Old High School

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



This is being panned online by sour Democrats. Well, to heck with them. It’s funny.

He could have stopped after the first China joke but otherwise I liked it.

I don’t like Ben Sasse anymore, for reasons we don’t need to get into right now, but this reminds me of a time when I did. When I read his books and enjoyed his commentary in the Senate.

By the way, someone I still do like — Justin Amash — has dropped out of the presidential race before he even got in. I would have liked to have voted for him but it may be a blessing in disguise for those who believe Donald Trump needs to go. (It’s unclear to me whether Amash is still running for Congress. I asked him on Twitter, but he did not respond. Who says donors get greater access?!?!)

And since this post is turning stream of consciousness … another reason Trump needs to go: this firing of the State Department IG. Who knows why? Because he was investigating Pompeo having staffers pick up his dry cleaning and walk his dog? (Walk your own dog, you bloviating hack.) Because he was inquiring into arms sales to Saudi Arabia? Nobody knows for sure. What we do know is that this President doesn’t like oversight. Because he is fundamentally corrupt and dishonest, and creates an atmosphere in which those who surround him tend to be the same — and people operating in that kind of atmosphere do not do tend to appreciate real oversight.

Which is why Ben Sasse …

OK I said I wasn’t going to get into it. Anyway, enjoy the speech.


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