Apparently the news had just broken of a Florida man who'd contracted coronavirus and was at death's door on the intensive care unit of a South Florida hospital. The man had been told by doctors that there was nothing more they could do for him; he said good-bye to his wife and children and prepared to die. However as a last resort the man was given a dose of hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug being promoted by Donald Trump as a cure for COVID-19. Within hours the man felt as if he'd never even been sick.
I'll admit, the story - even if it was broken by Sean Hannity and Glen Beck - gave me a flash of hope, especially as Sean Hannity added that - and it appeared that he meant based on the case of the Florida man - the Food and Drug Administration was now going to send 10,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine to New York hospitals and Israel was going to send 6 million doses to the United States.
Not surprisingly, I suppose, it appears days later that Hannity, Beck, Fox News,
Across the nation there have been doctors who, prompted by unscientifically proven anecdotes such as the one of the Florida man, and banking on the possibility that hydroxychloroquine might in fact prove to be a silver bullet against COVID-19, have been hoarding the drug, writing massive prescriptions for dozens, hundreds, even thousands of pills for themselves and their families. The result of this hoarding of hydroxychloroquine has been that there's been a shortage of the drug for those who desperately need it to treat their rheumatoid arthritis.
Then there's the story of the Arizona couple in their 60's who ate fish tank cleaner, thinking the chloroquine phosphate ingredient listed on the label was the same as the the drug chloroquine being promoted by Donald Trump as a miracle cure and preventative for the coronavirus. The man died and his wife is in critical condition from ingesting the poisonous chemical.
As for the rest of us, we read stories of: a French study on two dozen coronavirus patients treated with hydroxychloroquine that was proclaimed a success by the tester; a Chinese study of one hundred coronavirus patients treated with hydroxychloroquine that concluded that the drug is useless against the disease; the drug having not yet undergone enough clinical testing to prove or disprove its efficacy against COVID-19; pharmacists nonetheless being told that they may fill 14-day prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.
As it turns out, the 10,000 doses being sent to New York are not for treating coronavirus patients across the board as Sean Hannity had inferred, but for use in running clinical trials. Which brings us back to doctors being allowed to prescribe 14-day prescriptions for coronavirus patients even though clinical trails to prove its efficacy have not yet taken place.
As for the supposed 6 million doses of hydroxycloroquine sent over from Israel...well, I don't even know what that's about.
In truth, when it comes to hydroxychloroquine none of us at this point knows what it is. Silver bullet? Fool's gold? Who knows?
But as for me, for the sake of having one less thing to angst about, I wish that until the conclusion is reached one way or another there would be a news blackout on hydroxychloroquine and all conversation about it would cease.