Commentary / Coronavirus

Doctors Rebut Misleading Hydroxychloroquine Media Bias

 hydroxychloroquineMy long-time doctor friends who have treated COVID-19 patients have been disappointed recently in some of the national and regional media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.  They point out the over-emphasis often given to statistical information without proper understanding.

For example, emphasizing the volume of reported cases without equally emphasizing increased testing and positivity ratios is misleading.  Governors, doctors and hospitals seriously consider positivity ratios, and the media should not bury the lead here.  It isn’t all about case volume.

Also, some in the media and Democratic leaders, like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden have recently been critical of President Trump for taking hydroxychloroquine prophylactically, with his doctor’s consent and prescription. This is not as unusual as the press claims. My doctor friends, including a pediatrician and a cardiologist, and some of their doctor friends who treat COVID-19 patients, from dermatologists to ICU doctors, have also taken hydroxychloroquine personally or prescribed it for family members at the onset of symptoms.  A prominent pulmonologist friend, who treats many COVID-19 patients, takes it prophylactically. They believe that Joe and Nancy should leave the medical discussions to the President and his doctor.  The doctors also say that hydroxychloroquine has been proven safe for over 50 years for use under doctor’s supervision and they welcome a spirited debate from all qualified sides, not just typical network contributors.

Finally, my diverse doctor friends note that hospital bed usage and ICU usage for COVID-19 patients is down significantly in their region and that this important information is buried in media reports – or not reported at all.  The network TV doctors are seldom asked about this startling new trend and they wonder why this encouraging news is rarely emphasized.

True, there may be some remaining hot spots, but my doctor friends and I want to know why any information justifying a phased reopening of the country has often been widely criticized by the national media while the important science and statistics justifying such actions is often buried.

For example, the re-opening strategies of Republican Governors of Florida and Georgia, Ron DeSantis and Brian Kemp, respectively, got uniformly bad press and dire warnings of new cases, so far, they have enjoyed favorable results, while the Democratic Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has received widespread praise despite questionable policies and dismal nursing home results.

Perhaps the media owe the governors of Georgia and Florida an apology.

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