Statistics

The Politicization Of Coronadoom: HCQ Example

Coronadoom has long been politicized; since day one, really. The best way to handle it, said political authorities, was the opposite of whatever President Trump said or hinted. That’s how Science™ works.

Let’s take the drug ivermectin (fun pun!). This page reports a slew of good results. Then we have this impassioned plea by a doc:

The plea itself, as heartfelt and perhaps even true as it is, is not the point. I have no idea about this drug’s efficacy or safety. For all I know, everybody that takes it turns into a critical race theorist.

What is curious are the responses to the Senator. Most thought there must be some political angle to it all, and were ready to dismiss utterly or embrace passionately a drug five minutes before they had never even heard of.

I mention ivermectin before hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), because everybody knows HCQ.

For good reason. Who remembers how The Lancet and NEJM were both scammed—or were both in on the Surgisphere strip club saga? So big a scandal was it that even the progressive press was forced to cover it. I don’t recall hearing an explanation from the respective editors why they were so anxious to publish the original papers.

Even supposing HCQ does only harm, their idiotic move helped create the suspicion that something was being hidden, that HCQ worked too well.

Now we have a new statement by our medical rulers demanding they be taken seriously. Seriously? If we take these guys any more seriously, there will be no one left to take them seriously. Seriously. Anyway, it’s Why Scientific Evidence Matters in a Pandemic.

They whine “While the COVID-19 pandemic surges, the US response continues to be undermined by those promoting dangerous misinformation about unfounded therapies, attacking the credibility of public health experts, and undermining trust in medical science and the nature of evidence.”

The obvious rebuttal is: no it isn’t. Experts have done a far more efficient job than non-experts at promoting wrong and dangerous disinformation, and attacking the credibility of those not deemed sufficiently elite. Distrust in medicine and evidence rise at the same rates as the hersteria from rulers yelling “Listen to me! Or else!”

In an email, Jane Orient, who is not in the cool club, God bless her, summarized the situation well. There are, she said “two sides: 1. Let’s treat our patients as well as we can, share information, and learn as we go. 2. Let’s censor, threaten, and punish doctors on side (1), demand RCTs that meet our standard as the only kind of ‘scientific evidence,’ and deny treatment that doesn’t fit the NIH guidelines.”

(I, as regular readers know, do not agree philosophically with the “R” part of clinical trials as any kind of guarantor except possibly to reduce the chance of cheating. That’s for another day.)

Even doctors, most of whom are people, can become suspicious when the powers-that-be react first and foremost with censorship and bans.

Let’s look at HCQ in the context of the new paper “Hydroxychloroquine as Postexposure Prophylaxis to Prevent Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection” by Ruanne V. Barnabas and others in Annals of Internal Medicine.

They begin by saying this:

Hydroxychloroquine, a chloroquine analogue, has been used safely for over 6 decades as an antimalarial and to treat autoimmune conditions, with broad activity against intracellular organisms (13). With standard dosing, chloroquine inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in vitro (14, 15). Observational studies in health care settings supported the use of hydroxychloroquine to prevent SARS-CoV-2 (16, 17). Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are widely available globally; as such, they are ideal candidates for repurposed pharmaceutical interventions to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection because they could be rapidly disseminated for new indications, including in resource-limited settings.

So it couldn’t have been crazy or even dangerous to try HCQ, as many docs have.

The idea in this new trial was to give HCQ or vitamin C as a placebo to those in households where a household member had been “exposed” to somebody to the coronadoom within 4 days. There is, obviously, wiggle room in “exposed”. Plus, like all these trials, you have to trust people took the meds when they say they did.

The outcome is clear enough: “Participants self-collected mid-turbinate swabs daily (days 1 to 14) for SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. The primary outcome was PCR-confirmed incident SARS-CoV-2 infection among persons who were SARS-CoV-2 negative at enrollment.”

Here’s what happened:

Between March and August 2020, 671 households were randomly assigned: 337 (407 participants) to the hydroxychloroquine group and 334 (422 participants) to the control group. Retention at day 14 was 91%, and 10 724 of 11 606 (92%) expected swabs were tested. Among the 689 (89%) participants who were SARS-CoV-2 negative at baseline, there was no difference between the hydroxychloroquine and control groups in SARS-CoV-2 acquisition by day 14 (53 versus 45 events; adjusted hazard ratio, 1.10 [95% CI, 0.73 to 1.66]; P > 0.20). The frequency of participants experiencing adverse events was higher in the hydroxychloroquine group than the control group (66 [16.2%] versus 46 [10.9%], respectively; P = 0.026).

You have to divide through for the classical statistics language, in which no difference means difference, but with a non-wee p.

So, 13% in the HCQ and 11% in the placebo group tested positive.

Does that greater percentage mean HCQ causes infections sometimes? Or does that 11% mean vitamin C causes infections sometimes? Or that it causally can prevent 89% of them? Or does that 13% mean HCG causally prevents 87% of infections? Or etc.

You can see that you can’t get cause out of these numbers. Probability isn’t capable of discerning cause. You build cause into probability models, not the other way around.

The side effects of HCQ are not unknown (mostly gastric; they have a table), so there is no surprise (building the idea of cause into the data). But then we deduce there must be at least one more cause of side effects that is not HCQ, which could be vitamin C, since people in that group had side effects, too. Since this other cause or cause must exist, we don’t know the exact extent the HCQ caused side effects in that group.

The experiment only looked at PCR tests, and not at disease severity. That, and “Although we had biological confirmation of incident cases, we did not test the viability of SARS-CoV-2 via culture or subgenomic RNA analysis to assess markers of active replication and thus onward transmission.”

The authors have a generous closing: “Several reasons may explain why we found no efficacy of hydroxychloroquine for prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection. First, the repurposed agent may have been the wrong choice of medication or used at an insufficient dose, even though pharmacokinetic modeling was used to choose the dose…”

Gist: they tried something reasonable, and found evidence HCQ isn’t that good at preventing infection. Whether it’s not good in all cases, they don’t say. Whether it prevents more severe infections, they don’t say. The side effects were not particularly bad or plentiful, as expected. And so on.

This isn’t the only paper, of course. The authors even point to some supporting HCQ. But there are other papers that do not support it. Again, there seems to be wiggle room. The evidence isn’t supportive of anybody screaming “Listen to me! Or else!”

To support this site and its wholly independent host using credit card or PayPal (in any amount) click here

Categories: Statistics

27 replies »

  1. I thought the point of HCQ was not prophylactic, but instead therapeutic? (Which I think is your point)

    ************

    This is an ultimate political red herring:

    “We think HCQ saves lives because it prevents people from getting as severely sick.”

    “You’re wrong. HCQ doesn’t keep people from catching it the Doom! Look at all of these cases! And look at these side effects! HCQ is unproven and dangerous and does not prevent the spread of CV19.”

    “That’s not-”

    “So it doesn’t work AND it makes people sicker. Nice try, Orange Man. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    ************

    And what’s really political about this is that doctors who support using HCQ haven’t just been shouted down, they’ve been actively banned in many states from prescribing it for the Doom under threat of losing their medical licenses if they do.

  2. JR Ewing: It’s supposed to be both. Or at least that is what was originally said. It was never going to be used even though Africa has a much smaller rate of infection and routinely is on HCQ for malaria, because Orange Man bad. Science is now based on Orange Man. Oh, and money. New, expensive cures. NO one cares how may people die–actually, I think the more that die, the more the Overlords rejoice. After all, they get excellent treatment free of politics.

    “For all I know, everybody that takes it turns into a critical race theorist.” All the more reason to avoid such unproven cures, don’t you think?

    Honestly, THERE CAN BE NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE IN A PANDEMIC. Not yet, anyway. NO drug or vaccine is developed in six months that is tested or “safe”. DOES NOT HAPPEN. IT’S INSANE. Of course, so is Daddy Government, so putting your life in the hands of the government is as crazy as hiding behind the running chain saws in a horror movie (Geico commercial).

    Experts are FAILING and they know it, so they blame the internet, etc. They set themselves up to fail when they thought they could politically demand a virus not spread.

    Claiming a safe, 50-year-old drug is now suddenly dangerous simply says “IDIOT” all over it and the speaker should be treated as such. It may not work, but it’s not dangerous. Of course, ibuprofen, Tylenol and many other drugs have been declared “dangerous” when extremely expensive replacement came out. IT’S ABOUT MONEY. EVERYTHING IS ABOUT MONEY. Tyranny of the elites.

    Come on, science is dead and we all know it. The Dark Ages were more elightened. The gypsy wagon tonic more scientific. We are great at surgery (look how many innocent children we proudly mutilate) but beyond that, the dark ages had us beat. Sure, we can control blood pressure, we have insulin (oversold to type 2’s at this point—MONEY), but the autoimmune treatments are no better than toad’s toes and newt eyes in a boiled mixture. We know nothing about what we are doing there. It’s all voodoo and magic. Guessing. Honest physicians will tell a patient that.

  3. Ivermectin is an extremely safe drug. I use it regularly on my livestock. It was at one point — maybe still is — the most common regular prophylactic treatment for heartworms in dogs.

  4. Wasn’t it asserted that HCQ required zinc supplementation to effective as an early treatment for COVID-19? The study does not appear to have taken that into account.

  5. Cloudbuster – we wouldn’t want the study to accidentally support Orange Man Bad, now would we?

    Oh, and don’t forget the vitamin D link.

  6. HCQ needs to be taken with zinc to be effective.

    HCQ helps the body absorb the antiviral zinc at the cellular level.

    Quinine and quercetin are two supplements that work like HCQ.

  7. 1) the supplemental tables are behind a paywall and so I didn’t see them..

    2) they used up to 40 cycles on their tests – meaning that people who carried inactive viral particles would show as positive. Since they were dealing with people living in the same households with people who had tested positive what they really found with only an average 13% new positive rate is that the test is wildly inadequate.

    3) what they didn’t show in the freely accessible parts of the paper was a table comparing the number of people with clear physical indications of the disease at 14 and 28 days in each group – and any cynic should wonder why not.

  8. Interesting choice of Vit C as the placebo since it has apparently some use in treating coronaviruses in general. Why not a sugar pill? Also one can’t help but notice the funding source. Probably nothing, but there it is.

  9. “Study was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation”

    The Devil is in the details.

  10. It’s all been a politicized scamdemic from the beginning, driven by nefarious ulterior motives. Never been about public health or “The Science,” but about implementing the Great Reset, Agenda 21, and Event 201 scenarios. And enriching Big Pharma (which is heavily tied to the same people pushing the former agendas, esp. Gates). They don’t want you to take safer, more reliable, and cheaper alternative medicines, because they want to force everyone to take some experimental new “vaccines” (a misnomer when it comes to things like the mRNA “vaccines,” which are really transfection agents that have nothing to do with vaccination or inoculation as traditionally understood) with unknown long-term side-effects (some of which – like sterilization – may not be side-effects at all actually, but intended features).

  11. Dennis-

    The mandatory vax will be an endless income stream for Big Pharma and an additional infinite tax for the plebes.

  12. Another bogus quack study by rent seeking pseudos. Wrong design, wrong use of HCQ, wrong conclusions, on purpose to fit a corrupt political agenda. Nazi flag waving to see who salutes.

    The real harm is the destruction of health care in this country: the political punishment of doctors, the bankrupting of hospitals, the distrust and disrespect of patients towards medical professionals, and the replacement of those by Granny State apparatchik retard terrorist frauds. The results: a soaring all cause death rate and socio-economic collapse.

    As Traitor Joe and Kommie Ho sleaze into power, this country faces a crisis of trust. I don’t trust anybody anymore. I have no confidence that anyone can do their job with even marginal competence. I encounter no one with much more than half a brain. We have become a nation of clowns and fools waving flags, throwing bricks, going through the motions, and generally spiraling the bowl. You all will have to go some to earn my confidence back, if you can, which I doubt.

  13. Dennis — “Mandatory my ass. Anyone trying to jab me with one will get his face smashed in.”

    But that’s not now they’ll get you. Who are you going to punch when none of the grocery stores will let you in without proof of vaccination?

  14. I don’t go to the store any more now. I refuse to play along with the mask charade, so I just get everything delivered or pickup. If I ever run out of that option as well, frankly I’d rather just go ahead and kill myself than start playing along with an asinine world designed and run by and for complete f-ing morons. I’m tired of this world already as it is, so death would be a relief anyway.

  15. The stated objective of the paper seems to me utterly stupid: no one is going to take pills if he is not ill! This is not malaria, where HCQ is used as a preventive against a protozoan on which cells it will act directly, not against a virus! And having a PCR+ test does NOT mean infection! HCQ has been claimed useful _after_ infections, at the onset of the first symptoms! This paper is rubbish, another smokescreen to prevent the study of therapies that can save lives and concentrate/scare people to only look for a vaccine.

  16. First, thank you, Joao Martins, for your astute dissection. Matt should bump up your comment and make a whole post out of it.

    Second, you know “dream logic”? Things that seem logical or reasonable in the dream, but ridiculous after you awaken?

    I offer the following as an example of how readily the politicization of Coronadoom is creating a ‘dream logic’, not only in friends and neighbors, but (even) in the three authors cited below, people who consider themselves sober ethical thinkers, academically credentialed and religiously qualified to advise us on moral issues. More, they write this piece under the aegis of The Witherspoon Institute, founded not so long ago by people with solid ties to the Family Research Council and Catholic traditionalists.

    What strikes me is that living within a highly politicized tissue of incessantly repeated obfuscations, errors, and falsehoods seems almost to prevent reasoning, let alone moral reasoning. The ‘logic’ that the three authors display is dream logic — yet they think they’re awake. As Scott Adams might say, they’re watching a whole different movie.

    And it’s not at all clear to me what would wake them up.

    It is not possible to properly love a person and act so as to unnecessarily jeopardize their health. If by the minimal burden of wearing a mask, we can potentially protect others from grave illness, then it seems we have a moral obligation to wear a mask. The same can be said for COVID-19 vaccinations. If by being vaccinated we can protect others from illness, then we have a corresponding obligation, given our Lord’s command to love neighbors, to be vaccinated. Vaccinations not only protect me, but also protect other vulnerable members of society.

    https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2020/12/73110/

  17. John: Yes, they authors of that article exemplify exactly the abdication of real thought, reason, and religious/theological sense and depth – despite posing as serious Christians. It’s just sentimentalist, modernist platitudes all through: ” If by the minimal burden of wearing a mask, we can potentially protect others from grave illness, then it seems we have a moral obligation to wear a mask. The same can be said for COVID-19 vaccinations”

    No sense that they’ve grappled with actual rational risk assessment of the virus, or studied actual mask efficacy or problems of mask use (such as hypoxia, facial rashes and staph infecitons), or of problems with mass PCR testing being used as a diagnostic tool, or of effects of lockdowns being worse than the alleged disease they’re supposed to cure, or of unknown long-term side effects of highly experimental and untested new vaccines (like mRNA “vaccines,” which are really transfection agents that turn people into GMOs).

    No, they just assume it as proven beyond question that this particular coronavirus is in fact a grave, and uniquely deadly disease of world-historical proportions (If it qualifies as such, then why did these same milquetoasts not demand mandatory masks and flu vaccinations before? After all, flu is a virus/disease in the same range of deadliness? Are we supposed to take a constant stream of “vaccinations” for viruses 99.99% of people survive contact with and wear face muzzles forevermore?), and that the alleged Christian response is to act like a feeble, craven, fearful, paranoid, and obedient servant of irrational, extreme, and tyrannical government diktats. Sickening. It’s people like these who give modern(ist) Christianity a bad name. They’d be unrecognizable to the great saints and sages and warriors of Christendom past who built everything they are helping to bring to ruin.

  18. What they do say about vaccines reads like simple regurgitation of FDA, Pfizer, and Moderna press releases.

  19. Great post Dennis. Kudos

    John: Yes, they authors of that article exemplify exactly the abdication of real thought, reason, and religious/theological sense and depth – despite posing as serious Christians. It’s just sentimentalist, modernist platitudes all through: ” If by the minimal burden of wearing a mask, we can potentially protect others from grave illness, then it seems we have a moral obligation to wear a mask. The same can be said for COVID-19 vaccinations”

    No sense that they’ve grappled with actual rational risk assessment of the virus, or studied actual mask efficacy or problems of mask use (such as hypoxia, facial rashes and staph infecitons), or of problems with mass PCR testing being used as a diagnostic tool, or of effects of lockdowns being worse than the alleged disease they’re supposed to cure, or of unknown long-term side effects of highly experimental and untested new vaccines (like mRNA “vaccines,” which are really transfection agents that turn people into GMOs).

    No, they just assume it as proven beyond question that this particular coronavirus is in fact a grave, and uniquely deadly disease of world-historical proportions (If it qualifies as such, then why did these same milquetoasts not demand mandatory masks and flu vaccinations before? After all, flu is a virus/disease in the same range of deadliness? Are we supposed to take a constant stream of “vaccinations” for viruses 99.99% of people survive contact with and wear face muzzles forevermore?), and that the alleged Christian response is to act like a feeble, craven, fearful, paranoid, and obedient servant of irrational, extreme, and tyrannical government diktats. Sickening. It’s people like these who give modern(ist) Christianity a bad name. They’d be unrecognizable to the great saints and sages and warriors of Christendom past who built everything they are helping to bring to ruin

  20. My favorite MSM shaming techniques are the anonymous, unprovable written anecdotes that pop up on the net, almost as if bots were just waiting for the chance.

    I also like the sobby, anonymous crisis actors they put on network news when they need some extra shaming oomph.

  21. Goose: “My favorite MSM shaming techniques are the anonymous, unprovable written anecdotes that pop up on the net, almost as if bots were just waiting for the chance.”

    Some nitwit was on Briggs’ blog the other day trying to spread mask virus with this analogy; “a snow fence doesn’t stop every single flake, yet a snow fence works”. So masks work because snow fence. Science, wigga-niggas!

  22. JohnK, read your linked Witherspoon article. Immediately brought to mind that fine Robert Lewis Dabney quote, written in the nineteenth century but apropos today:

    “It may be inferred again that the present movement for women’s rights will certainly prevail from the history of its only opponent, Northern conservatism. This [Northern conservatism] is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt hath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom. It always when about to enter a protest very blandly informs the wild beast whose path it essays to stop, that its “bark is worse than its bite,” and that it only means to save its manners by enacting its decent role of resistance: The only practical purpose which it now subserves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it “in wind,” and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy, from having nothing to whip.”

  23. Cloudbuster –

    The Grocery Stores can then look forward to a major increase in shoplifting.

    Unlike the BLM riots, this form of looting will actually be justified. Remember to wear your mask, of course!

    Or you could just rob a masked one putting their groceries in their car. Threaten to blow on their face if they resist. Considering the demographic, it likely the masked ones are also not gun-owners, so that also works in your favour.

  24. Dean Erickson – when I encounter an analogy such as the stupid snowflake/fence/mask one you mention, I rebut with an example of rocks in a stream of water in the sense the water will always find a way around the rocks, and then point to the fact that, in my neck of the woods, nursing home residents are being infected by mask wearing employees.

    I received this post by Briggs in my gmail social account in stead of it being sent to my gmail primary account as it regularly is, so I read it one day late. Funny how that happened!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.