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Day 68 - Hydroxy-chloroquine and Trump and Mauritius


The World Health Organization this week suspended its trials of hydroxy-chloroquine on Covid-19 patients for safety reasons. This is the medicine that is usually used against malaria, and also for some auto-immune diseases. It is, in fact, used for Covid-19 in India, where much of it is produced, and in Mauritius. Dr Joomye, Government advisor, who we don’t know why is in charge of Coronavirus Communications, said in L’Express yesterday that, despite the WHO halting its trials for safety reasons, Mauritius is maintaining hydroxy-chloroquine as a Covid treatment. We will come back to him and Mauritius later.

Meanwhile, this article is mainly about Trump. The President of America, that is, Donald Trump. He touted for hydroxy-chloroquine to be used as treatment for coronavirus illness, so loud and so clear that people Americans started hoarding the stuff more avidly than they hoard toilet paper. Touting, by the way, is illicit selling of something, mainly drugs or the services of crooked lawyers or prostitutes.

Anyway, the background is that Head of the WHO Dr. Tedros announced the day before yesterday 25 May that trials of the drug for use in Covid-19 have been “paused” temporarily until safety is established by its Data Safety Board of the WHO to see whether it is safe enough even to continue the trials. Drugs have to go through this kind of rigorous testing in their use against specific illnesses so as to avoid doing more harm than doing nothing at all. All this to say that hydroxy-chloroquine has not been properly tested yet for use in Covid-19. Trials in Brazil were called off when they showed people were more likely to die if they were administered the drug than if not. Smaller trials gave the same result in New York.

Anyway, what’s hydroxy-chloroquine got to do with Trump?

My late father-in-law used to make potato crisps of a very high standard and serve them to me with great pride, as indeed I made faratas for him served with great pride too. When I asked him how he got his crisps all so very evenly fried, he, who had been lying in wait for this question, said, “I take out and eat all the over-cooked ones before serving! Vwala!”

What on earth has this got, you may ask, to do with hydroxy-chloroquine or Trump? This:

Trump suddenly began his bouts of touting hydroxy-chloroquine, it turns out, on exactly 20 March after tuning in to Tucker Carlson on Fox News the day before.

This extreme-right TV “Star” Carlson on the extreme-right news outlet Fox, interviewed someone called Gregory Rigano. He was described in both audio and video on Fox News as “Stanford University Medical School Advisor”, no less. This man in that interview on Fox News put out the lie that there was 100% “cure” from a peer-reviewed trial of hydroxy-chloroquine for Covid-19. No joke. “100% cure.” Trump watched the TV show, one can only assume. Because by the next day he had latched on to hydroxy-chloroquine before he could even pronounce it. Since then, he has gone on and on, repeatedly touting it for use in Covid-19. In short, the President of a country touts hydroxy-chloroquine because he heard someone on Fox News tout it.

The whole thing on Fox News was complete balderdash, it turns out. For a start, Stanford University Medical School put out a formal statement saying the man “was not an advisor at Stanford Medical School” and that “no-one at Stanford” had anything to do with the study at all. The supposed study he was referring to, in fact, eliminated from its results three of its 20 patients who ended up in ICU, one who died, one who walked out on the trial, and one who stopped because of nausea. So he failed to mention the 6 who got sick, died or dropped out of a paltry-sized study of a mere 20 patients in his trial.

In other words, the study did exactly what my late father-in-law did as a joke to set me up for a laugh. The study removed the six patients that were not 100% successful from the batch. Then, it became 100% successful! Vwala!

Only difference was that when Rigano came up with this on Fox News, instead of coming clean, they tricked Trump.

Trump touted hydro-chloroquine from the very next day. Until now.

He even took a two weeks’ prophylactic course himself. He got terrified out of his wits when White House staffers got Covid-19. The Fox News show proves one thing: Trump is a coward.

But, the “scientific” experiment that Rigano was quoting is no joke. It is not just potato chips getting burned. It is criminal negligence. One man died, three ended up in ICU, and two others disappeared from the study, out of 20, and they hid this and say 100% cure? Then people listen to this, take the medicine before it is shown to have any positive effect in Covid and risk its known negative side-effect i.e. a heart attack.

So, first Trump in February, after semi-closing the US borders which is his usual instinct (Build a Wall!), said that Coronavirus epidemic was a hoax, the 15 cases would “go away”, the illness would “disappear” in a few days. He did nothing. Then, when tens of thousands of Americans got sick and died, he said it was not his fault, but China’s. Or the Democratic Governors”, or of the WHO’s. And he began touting hydroxy-chloroquine.

All this to say that studies are important.

But, to get back to Dr Joomye.

He says of hydroxy-chloroquine, “Nous avons eu 322 patients guéris a travers cette méthode” and that the Government will continue using it, never mind the WHO. There is so far no evidence that hydroxy-chloroquine has any effect towards “guéri” Covid-19. There appears, however, to be evidence that it may actually cause harm. And in addition, when Joomye says 322 people have been “cured” of Covid-19 by taking this medicine and when he fails to mention that there were 10 deaths in Mauritius, he is claiming 100% cure rate, just like Gregory Rigano, who hoodwinked Trump on Fox News. It would be advisable to follow the WHO’s recommendation rather than Trump and Modi’s.

Lindsey Collen

for LALIT, a personal view.

PS It has been brought to my attention following yesterday’s blog that Dr. Joomye, as well as being promoteur of two private clinics, is also connected to hair-transplant outfits and private eye-treatment place. All this to remind us why he should not be in charge of the State’s communication on an epidemic. Private medicine thrives on illness. Remember? Another reason he should not be in charge of speaking for the State is this: While Pravind Jugnauth is marking points about the new UN map that puts Chagos in its rightful place in the Republic of Mauritius, removing the British colonizer – at least in print – this “spokesperson” for the Mauritian Government refers on TV and Radio to Mayotte, stolen from Comoros much the way Chagos was stolen from Mauritius, as a “territoire Francais” just as, one can only guess, he sees Tromelin.