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What a pleasant surprise to see one of my favorite medical experts as a guest on THE INGRAHAM ANGLE Tuesday night. Most of all, it was gratifying to see he thinks the same way I do about hydroxychloroquine/zithromycin therapy, even though he is a world-famous physician and entrepreneur and I am not.

Oh, by the way, Gov. Huckabee was on the show, too. More about that below.

Dr. Nicholas Perricone, MD, is widely known for his groundbreaking series of books on nutrition and aging, starting with THE WRINKLE CURE and THE PERRICONE PRESCRIPTION. I think I’ve read every one of them. He also developed a line of skin care that I have used over the years as my budget would allow. But perhaps he is best known for “the Perricone Diet,” a regimen based mostly on wild salmon and vegetables, designed to provide the right nutrients for skin (and brain) and to avoid the damaging blood sugar spikes that high-carb diets cause. I’ve followed it for a long time –- no endless pasta bowl and breadsticks for me –- and even wrote and performed an operatic song parody about it in a one-person comedy show about the pursuit of beauty called MY SHIP HAS SAILED. The song: “O Worship Dr. Perricone.”

VIDEO LINK: https://youtu.be/CtSWkUscZ74 

When I performed this in larger venues, he appeared behind me on screen in a stained glass window…

Anyway, I’ve always considered Dr. Perricone to be way ahead of his time, so it doesn’t surprise me that he would be looking into this experimental treatment for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). Apparently, he’s been prescribing hydroxychloroquine for his patients with autoimmune diseases and getting results. And though as a physician he considers himself “risk-averse,” he said he's very surprised at the reluctance of the medical community to move forward with the off-label use of this FDA-approved medication to treat COVID-19.

He advised looking at the “risk-benefit ratio.” This antimalarial drug came out in 1945 (!), he explained, and there are about a million patients every year taking it for autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. “There’s nothing better, as far as I’m concerned, in terms of safety of a drug [than] to have it being used a long time,” he said, “and 70 years is a very long time.”

Ideally, he said, we’d love to have some really compelling studies, lots of data, “but we don’t have time for that.” We have to move fast. And this is a short, five-to-seven-day regimen, for which “the side-effect profile is extremely, extremely low.” So, looking at the risk-benefit ratio, we have a drug that’s been “tried and true” for 70 years (low risk), combined with good data coming in (high benefit).

Given the severity of the disease, “it makes no sense to me whatsoever,” he said, “to hesitate distributing this drug.” Of course, it’s important to be under a doctor’s care, he added, to make sure it won’t interact badly with some other drug the patient is taking or if there are “any underlying problems.”

We need to move very quickly on this, he concluded. Every day counts in terms of saving lives. He went even further, to say that anyone hesitating now is doing this country “a huge disservice.”

I completely agree with Dr. Perricone (dare I say, “worship” him?), and would add that my main concern is that much of the reluctance to go all-in on this drug therapy is because if it worked, it would prove President Trump right and help him win re-election. That decision should be based not on any political considerations whatsoever but on the kind of analysis Dr. Perricone has offered. I don’t know how he votes; perhaps he’s apolitical. Anyway, the discussion should be shaped not by pro- and anti-Trump forces but by what has been shown to help people get well. There are some who hate Trump so irrationally that they would actually deny him this accomplishment.

Personally, as someone who is in the “red zone” on the risk scale (due to previous lung damage as a complication from H1N1 flu in 2009), if I somehow get sick with this in spite of working from home and careful “social distancing,” I have looked at costs and benefits just as Dr. Perricone has and have made up my mind...I am getting that treatment.

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6144520387001

As mentioned, Gov. Huckabee was on Laura Ingraham’s show as well, with Byron York, to discuss the chatter surrounding New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a possible bid for the White House.

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6144521360001

Obviously, this is happening because the Democrats have to find SOMEBODY more on-the-ball mentally than Joe Biden, who is showing himself to be less than worthless in a crisis. Byron York pointed out --- though he hardly had to --- that Democrats are looking at Biden and see someone who’s really struggling.

The Governor noted that Biden, in doing those bizarre shadow-commentaries following the President’s press briefings, is doing a lot of damage, not only to his own prospects but to the country by trying to pretend that “he’s really gonna be the President.” The more Biden talks, the less confident people are in his ability to handle something like the current situation. In contrast, Huckabee gave Gov. Cuomo credit for the way he’s been handling the role of a governor in managing such a crisis.

"Governors tend to be good presidential candidates most of the time,” Huckabee said, “because, frankly, they’ve managed a microcosm of the federal government. Every single thing you have at the federal level you have at the state level, just with fewer zeroes on the end of your budget.” But, having been in those shoes himself, he really doesn’t think Cuomo is thinking about the presidency. “When you’re dealing with a major crisis,” he told Laura, “you’re trying to stay ahead of it and manage it and deal with it, and the thought that you’re gonna try to figure out how this is gonna advantage you politically, to be honest with you, you just don’t have time for that.

"There WILL be time for that, and I’m sure he’ll, maybe, consider it, because of the way he’s managed [this], but right now, I’d cut him some slack, give him a break and say I think he’s legitimately trying to lead his state through a very difficult crisis, and, frankly, I’d give him a passing grade in the way he’s doing it.”

The Gov. also praised President Trump for trying to strike a balance between the “science” of medicine and the “art” of politics. Decisions have to be made with the understanding of what’s possible in the political environment. Democrats in Congress are interested in scoring “political points,” not in helping their enemy get the American people back to work and earning paychecks. Trump’s also got Wall Street concerns, and –- mostly –- he’s got millions of Americans who are scared.

"I think this President is handling it in exactly the executive way that he was hired to do,” the Governor said. “Thank God he’s in that chair right now and not Hillary Clinton, as could have happened.”

Now THAT would’ve been something to be scared about.

Senate reaches deal

March 25, 2020

It took until after midnight, but the Senate finally agreed early this morning on an unprecedented $2 trillion (!) economic rescue plan that’s been dubbed “unemployment insurance on steroids.”

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/white-house-senate-strike-deal-on-historic-2t-coronavirus-relief-bill-but-house-support-remains-uncertain

The bill includes direct payments to most Americans and support for unemployment funds so that no workers will lose their salaries during the shutdown, $367 billion to help keep small businesses afloat while their workers are stuck at home, and a $500 billion guaranteed, subsidized loan program for larger businesses and hospitals. Chuck Schumer said Democrats were ready to give unanimous consent so that if no Republicans objected, it could be sped through without a formal roll call vote. The Senate will meet today for debate and (many hope) will quickly send it to the House for a hoped-for unanimous passage as-is.

Don’t count your chickens yet, though, because there could still be objections in the House. Some Democrats made it obvious that they saw the bill as a big piñata that could be stuffed with leftist “transforming America” wish list items, from national same-day voter registration and voting by mail (i.e., the “Voter Fraud Made Easy” program) to various diversity hiring and CO2 emission mandates on businesses, to money for Planned Parenthood abortion clinics. As Bryan Preston at PJ Media put it in this terrific analysis, the Pelosi Democrats treated the coronavirus bill “like it’s a genie that jumped out of a Christmas tree.”

https://pjmedia.com/trending/pelosi-dems-treat-coronavirus-bill-like-its-a-genie-that-jumped-out-of-a-christmas-tree/

Luckily, when faced with a furious backlash from the public (they’re now about as popular as the skunk that ate the picnic lunch) and from even the most liberal Republicans in the Senate, Pelosi and the Dems backed down. The sledgehammer fell when President Trump declared that he would not sign a bill that was filled with “Green New Deal stuff.” I think it’s a sign of admirable growth in his role as a wartime President that he showed enough dignity and restraint not to use the word I’m sure he was thinking of instead of “stuff.”

Now, the Speaker just has to keep her notoriously headstrong members in line and the House could rush it through on unanimous consent, too. However, that might be quashed by the threatened opposition of one non-Democratic member, notoriously headstrong Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, whose Trump Derangement Syndrome led him to quit the GOP and become an Independent. I have a feeling this might be his last shot at playing fly-in-the-Jello-mold before the November election returns him to the private sector and the inevitable commentator deal with MSNBC or CNN.

Personally, I hate seeing this level of federal intervention and added debt, too, but we are facing an unprecedented emergency. The bill is far from ideal, but as former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put it, you go to war with the army you have, not the one you wish you had. And if this is the equivalent of war, this the best weapon Trump is able to get out of this bitterly divided Congress. Just be grateful that Trump had the backbone to refuse to be blackmailed and to keep so much of that leftist…”stuff”…out of it.

"Reopening America"

March 25, 2020

President Trump is hoping for a target date of “reopening America” on Easter Sunday, which is April 12th. He hopes that by that time, the emergency measures will have flattened the spread of the virus, that we’ll have enough supplies to deal with it and Americans will have adopted safe practices to avoid contracting it (and will keep them up as the weather warms and the virus abates.) Naturally, the media attacked him for spreading “false hope” (he’s only supposed to spread gloom-and-doom, so they can attack him for that.) But he didn’t say Easter was definite, only that he hoped it would be an achievable target date. And I think Easter Sunday is certainly the best date you could possibly set for renewing everyone’s hope.

https://www.westernjournal.com/trump-sets-target-date-re-open-america-love-open-easter/

I appeared on Laura Ingraham’s show last night to talk about the delicate balancing act that Trump has to perform between the hard facts of science and the art of politics, which determines what it’s possible to do with those scientific knowns and unknowns, and all the decisions an executive has to make to insure that the “cure” isn’t worse than the disease. You can see it here:

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6144521360001

(On the topic of getting America back to normal as quickly as possible, Ronald Bailey at Reason.com has an interesting suggestion: immediate, universal testing for the virus, so we can identify those who are carrying it and should self-quarantine, those who are healthy and safe to go back to work, those who have had it and are immune so they can work in hospitals, and those at high risk such as the elderly, so they can be isolated for their safety.)

https://reason.com/2020/03/24/massive-coronavirus-testing-is-the-way-to-help-save-the-economy/

I think Trump is doing an extraordinary job (and for no pay!), and it shows how valuable having high-level, international executive and management experience is for a President. It’s why we used to elect Governors to the White House: because Governors deal with almost every issue Presidents do, only on a smaller scale. Lately, we’ve started electing Senators, who are one of 100 DC insiders who can build decades-long careers without ever running anything other than their mouths (Looking at you, Bernie.)

If you really want to know what an incredible job Trump is doing, imagine if we had (Heaven forbid!) Hillary “Put the phone on hold during the Benghazi raid” Clinton in the White House when millions of Americans need swift, decisive action to save them.

Warning to everyone with a scientific background: We’re going to be talking about “anecdotal” evidence here. I realize that researchers tend not to count that and instead hang their hats on large double-blind peer-reviewed studies, but considering the Wuhan coronavirus has been in the population for only a few months (that we know of), there hasn’t been time to run those studies. We’ll get there; in fact –- thanks to the anecdotal evidence –- the kind of studies they need to generate the data they want are in the works right now. Those will guide us in the future. In the meantime, though, we’ve got to look at what a growing number of cases is telling us. And the picture that’s emerging is very positive.

Another warning: You will not get this view from the anti-Trump media, who are a complete waste of airtime and not worth anyone’s attention. They have thoroughly disgraced themselves and don’t have the sense to know it. From them, you will get stories designed to make you anxious and frustrated with President Trump and to make you think he’s being deceptive. To accomplish this, they go much further than expressing skepticism and mistrust –- they flat-out falsely accuse him of repeatedly lying about everything. These “journalists” must be working overtime to slant their stories, even with the help they get from Chinese propaganda.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/03/22/no-cnn-humanity-is-not-responsible-for-wuhan-virus-china-is/


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Meanwhile, Trump, day by day, has been “the rock” we’ve needed, absolutely tireless, refreshingly agenda-free (unlike congressional Democrats, who never let a crisis go to waste), and single-mindedly devoted to steering the country through this with as little long-term damage to our way of life as possible. I doubt that anyone has ever seen energy like that in the White House. And much of Trump’s focus has to do with looking into medical treatments that can lessen the risk of being out and about and, especially, going to work.

Sara Carter, on Monday’s HANNITY show, related that she had talked with American intelligence and other Western intelligence officials, who told her they were “scrambling as much as they can to find out what happened in China and in Wuhan,” which was shut down by the Chinese government on January 23, seven weeks after the first known human transmission. By January 23, 5 million people (!) had left Wuhan for parts unknown. Perhaps the media would be looking at this if they weren’t trying so hard to give the President a bad rap and second-guess everything he says and does. They don’t even seem that concerned about the Chinese government’s treatment of journalists who have been trying to report this story. If we ever find out what really happened, it will be no thanks to them.

On Monday, I related Scott Adams’ view that doctors are more optimistic about treatments with existing, FDA-approved drugs than they've let on, and the reasons why they might be keeping that opinion close to the vest for now. Later that day, Sean Hannity (on both radio and TV) featured the story of New York family practitioner Vladimir Zelenko, MD, who's had a success rate of 100 percent (success defined as not needing hospital admission) with an aggressive treatment consisting of 200 mg of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, twice a day for 5 days, combined with azithromycin, 500 mg once a day for 5 days, and zinc sulfate, 220 mg once a day for 5 days. One major symptom, shortness of breath, typically resolves in four to six hours, he said. “Since last Thursday,” he wrote, “my team has treated approximately 350 patients in Kiryas Joel and another 150 patients...we have had ZERO deaths, ZERO hospitalizations, and ZERO intubations.”


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We’ve already seen the results of the preliminary French study that showed a combination of hydroxychloroquine and zythromycin relieved symptoms and shortened the course of the virus. As for the critical supply chain, Israel has already stepped up by donating 6 million doses of hydroxychloroquine.

In Trump’s Monday press briefing, the way forward that he endorsed sounded much like Scott Adams’ “prescription” for dealing with the virus and the economic fallout from a prolonged nationwide quarantine. The President is optimistic about this drug regimen. While bigger studies are underway, doctors will be able to prescribe these medications as needed.

"Our country wasn’t built to be shut down,” he said. “We’re not going to let the cure be worse than the problem.” When the 15-day “shutdown” ends next week, he’ll assess how we move forward, but he’s not looking to keep the country stuck in neutral. “America will be again and soon be open for business, very soon,” he stressed. “This is a medical problem. We are not going to let it turn into a long-lasting financial problem.” He called the emerging drug therapy “a gift from God, a real game-changer.” And he talked about gradually getting people back out and in their jobs, just as Adams described.

https://www.newsmax.com/politics/pandemic-economy-doctors-white-house/2020/03/23/id/959605/

As long as we’re talking about anecdotal evidence, here’s a look at one pattern a reader has noticed, and my response.

From Gil:

An item on Fox News revealed that approximately TWO-THIRDS OF DEATHS in China due to the Wuhan virus (covid-19) WERE MALES. And three-fourths or so of the deaths in Italy were males. If true, why would this be? Is it related to something such as smoking? For instance, do male smokers in China represent two-thirds of the smokers population? Three-fourths in Italy? We know that long time smokers have damaged lungs. Is it smoking and not longevity that is the harbinger of being invaded by the China Wuhan Virus? Potential victims want to know.

From the Gov:

It’s hard to know the reliability of the numbers coming out of China regarding this virus. But nearly 30 percent of all Chinese adults smoke, including 53 percent of men. So, yes, presumably many more Chinese men than women have lung damage from smoking. But ALL Chinese people who dwell in large cities have lung damage from the severe air pollution, which is the worst in the world. Perhaps you’ve seen pictures of the soupy, mustard-colored sludge hanging over Shanghai. (Whoever thinks communists and other authoritarian regimes take care of the environment better than capitalist countries do has apparently never seen it.)

In Italy, more men than women smoke, but smoking is popular among both men and women, particularly young adults. The virus has really been killing older people. I don’t have the stats but would imagine older Italians smoke, too. Inconclusive!

To my knowledge, there are no stats about smoking and COVID-19 in America; perhaps a study will be done. But any disease that hits the respiratory system is going to be harder on lungs that are already damaged, from whatever cause. It might be smoking, air particles, or previous damage from pneumonia or another illness. I’m not a doctor, but surely “potential victims” (everybody) should be aware that taking care of your lungs will help you recover no matter what respiratory illness you get. I think you know what I’m very strongly suggesting you do.