COVID19 update, March 21, 2020: Dr. Matt Shelton on vitamin D; Harvard historian Niall Ferguson on how the pandemic exposed the “dysfunctional administrative state”; 2005 CDC paper touting chloroquine for SARS

(1) Dr. Matt Shelton, interviewed by Dr. John Campbell, tells us much more about vitamin D. Amusing statement: “Stay in the sun until you’re halfway to sunburned for your skin type, and you’ve had enough.”

(2) Niall Ferguson, about 10 minutes into this video from the Hoover Institute:

“The pandemic has revealed a terrible pathology at the heart of American political life, and it’s not the one you think. While the media endlessly pore over every utterance of President Trump, the real pathology that the pandemic has exposed is that we have a completely dysfunctional administrative state that is extremely good at generating PowerPoints and multiple-page reports, but when it comes to actually dealing with an emergency, is completely useless.”

Here’s another good one:

(3) My Facebook friend Jeff D. reminds me of a 2005 paper published by a group from CDC in the Virology Journal entitled: “Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread”.
http://doi.org/10.1186/1743-422X-2-69

And yes, that’s the old SARS-CoV-1, not the current SARS-nCoV-2 — but some of the people now doing all they can to “prove” HOcq doesn’t work would be quite embarrassed at this article.

(4) Meanwhile, Standard & Poor maintains Israel’s AA- sovereign credit rating, and predicts a “V-shaped recovery“.

Finally, another good one from Unherd: Prof. Karol Sikora, former head of The Who cancer program and Dean of the U. of Buckingham medical school, sounds a largely optimistic note.

 

COVID19 update, May 16, 2020: evidence hydroxychloroquine works better with zinc added; how Taiwan succeeded; Niall Ferguson on his disgraced namesake

(1) When I reported on the failed hydroxychloroquine (HOcq) trial, a number of commenters asked “what about zinc?” It is indeed so that the early reports of success by both Didier Raoult [director of IHU-Méditerranée in Marseille, France] and by Williamsburg, NY community doctor Zev Zelenko included zinc supplementation.
Now the latest video of Roger Seheult MD highlights a retrospective study with zinc+HOcq (plus azithromycin) about which a preprint just was published. And guess what: results there look a good deal more promising if administered early in the disease. That is strongly suggestive of HOcq’s role being that of a zinc ionophore (and, at least in vitro, Zn2+ inhibits with the RdRp, a.k.a. replicase, that copies the viral RNA) https://www.medrxiv.org/conte…/10.1101/2020.05.02.20080036v1  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZq-K1wpur8

(2) Two COVID19-related videos worth watching from the Hoover Institute

(2a) Vice President Chen Chien-jen, Taiwan, himself a reputed epidemiology professor, describes Taiwan’s response, and how they quickly contained the epidemic without lockdowns.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3Ry6eiKvvw

(2b) Niall Ferguson, the British-born Harvard University historian, discusses the British and American responses to the epidemic, the economic falloutk, and his now-disgraced near-namesake of the “2 million will die” model.

Neil Ferguson (the modeler) reminds me of the Talmudic maxim:

Scholars, be careful with your words, lest you [lead your pupils] to a place of bitter waters, and they drink from it and die — and thus the Name of Heaven will be desecrated.

Pirkei Avot 1:11

ADDENDUM: Quillette has an article from Paulina Neuding, who lives in Stockholm: “Sweden Has Resisted a Lockdown. But That Doesn’t Make it a Bastion of Liberty” [This is aside from issues with its healthcare system reported on earlier.]

In reality, Sweden’s response to the pandemic has less to do with freedom and individual responsibility, and more to do with the country’s tradition of consensus and social control. Its choice of a uniquely lax approach to the pandemic should not be mistaken for a sudden turn toward individual freedom.

The Swedish strategy, devised by a team of government experts headed by chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, rests on the assumption that [(a)] COVID-19 cannot be contained, and that [(b)] other international experts are overestimating its fatality rates. Herd immunity is viewed as the inevitable end point, and it is assumed that such immunity can be achieved relatively quickly and at a cost in human lives that will not be too high.

“We have been a bit careful [about] the words [herd immunity] because it can give the impression that you have given up, and that is not at all what this is about… We will not gain control of this in any other way,” Tegnell explained in an interview in March.

[…] Though polls show that most Swedes trust the state consensus, a minority would prefer to have their families self-isolate, but cannot because they risk intervention from social services. Imagine being a Swedish parent who belongs to a high-risk group, and to face the choice between possibly contracting the virus through your child’s school, and that of being reported to the authorities for the offence of homeschooling.

Sweden’s COVID-19 death rate hovers high above that of other Nordic countries, which have chosen a more restrictive strategy. As of this writing, Sweden has 22 deaths per 100,000 citizens—more than five times as many as Norway (four per 100,000) and three times as many as Denmark (seven per 100,000), even though all three countries saw their first fatalities on roughly the same date. But collectivism is deeply ingrained in Swedish culture—for good and ill—and many view it as bad form to question the authorities in the midst of a crisis.

Even though Sweden has taken a path that is extreme compared to virtually all other EU countries, there is limited overt political opposition, and scientists who have criticized the strategy have been victims of vicious attacks on their characters, and are rejected at public events. The rector at a leading Swedish university even saw it necessary to declare in a blog post (available in English) that employees who had publicly criticized the government’s COVID-19 response would not be censored for doing so. That he even saw a need for such a public statement is telling of the current mood in the country.