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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.”


RELATED READING“One of the scariest things in the world is called ‘the unknown.’”


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.

MONOLOGUE March 21 2020

Tonight, our show won’t be like any we’ve ever done. But across America we are all doing things in ways we’ve never done. I’m doing my part of the show remotely because travel to our Nashville theater has become difficult at best, and with government at all levels urging us to stay where we are, we want to model the best practices to keep the horrific Coronavirus pandemic from getting even worse.

We will be giving some vital information about coping with the impact of being quarantined including some creative and safe ways to cook good meals, and even some entertaining comedy because we need to laugh in the midst of all of the gloom and doom that we hear and find ourselves living.

I take this pandemic seriously and you should as well. But statistically, your risk of getting the virus is still remote and the risk of dying from it is minimal, but there is a virus that we hear almost nothing about these days and it is absolutely going to touch you and in fact the death rate from it is 100%. I speak of the virus of sin; an infection that has been passed on since the beginning of human existence. It’s a virus that we all have and are born with. The Bible says it this way—ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And sadly, every single one of us will actually die from it. Again, the message of the Bible is that “The wages of sin is death…”

That’s pretty dismal and sounds hopeless. But while we can’t stop the earthly consequences of the sin virus, the rest of that verse tells us there is a cure….for the wages of sin may be death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. The cure is blood-based; the blood of a Savior that cures the sin virus for its eternal effect.

I say this not to be preachy, but to remind you that even in the midst of some of the most frightening days of our nation’s history and while understanding that many will have a hard time of paying bills, holding a job, or finishing school, or visiting elderly relatives, there is hope; there is light in the midst of the darkness, and even if you avoid coronavirus, you need to take steps to protect yourself from an even more deadly virus, but one that already has a cure and a cure that costs you nothing but your willingness to accept it.

But tonight we employ the old adage, “The show must go on!” and so we are taking extraordinary steps to bring you the Huckabee Show in a unique way. My partner in this show and our ever-talented announcer, Keith Bilbrey joins me, but at a safe distance of several hundred miles….

Joe Biden has receded into the background so fast, he’s desperate to get back into the headlines, especially now that Democrats whose eyes are glazed over about him as their candidate are now talking about drafting New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. So Biden announced that he will begin competing with President Trump by holding his own daily press conferences on the COVID-19 (Chinese) coronavirus.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-coronavirus-briefings

This announcement was accompanied by the usual attacks on how Trump is dealing with the crisis, ending with the tagline, “This moment calls for a President.” Okay, I try to be a nice guy, but I’m about to hit a 77-year-old man with a hard bag of truth:

This moment HAS a President, Joe, and it ain’t you. All you will do by holding daily news conferences to contradict what the President says is confuse and mislead Americans at a time when getting the best-sourced information is literally a matter of life and death, both for people and the US economy. You have already demonstrated that you do not have access to the type of information that Trump does when you blasted him as xenophobic for shutting down travel from China early on, a move that bought us weeks of time and likely saved thousands of American lives. You would have let infected people just come pouring in. This either shows you have terrible judgement, or no access to the kind of information the President has, or (and this is my guess) both.

America has a President. What it needs now are statesmen. Those are people who put petty political squabbles aside during a crisis, rally around America’s elected leader, and do whatever they can to bring Americans together so that we can overcome this danger.

With this latest reprehensibly selfish, divisive and irresponsible move, you have not only embarrassed yourself, you have proved you are no statesman, and you are certainly not worthy of ever being President.

“One of the scariest things in the world is called ‘the unknown.’”

That’s how Scott Adams, creator of DILBERT and an expert on the science of persuasion, started a recent podcast. He noted that this is especially true if your enemy is something you literally can’t even see. I’ve been thinking about that in light of recent conflicting reports on the Wuhan virus (COVID-19) and promising therapies.

Adams decided to go on record, based on a lifetime of experience, with what he thinks the next several weeks are going to be like. Later we’ll know how close he got.

We’re seeing a huge conflict between two schools of thought. Some think that closing down the economy and all self-quarantining is much too extreme, that people need to get back to work now even if the virus spreads and some lose their lives (as happens with the flu every year). Adams says this is a very “adult” opinion that he respects; at least it shows an understanding of the costs and benefits, though we can only speculate how large or small either of those are. Others say we need a complete shut-down to get the virus under control and only then can we let people go back to work. Again, we can only speculate how long that will be.

It occurs to me that many Americans get their underwear in a bunch at the thought of a GOVERNMENT shut-down, during which “non-essential” government employees stay home for maybe a few weeks. For this, some are talking cavalierly about a TOTAL economic shut-down, for maybe a few months or even longer. That would inevitably lead to a crashed economy, perhaps the very soul of our nation in ruins and, yes, much death (suicide). That “cure” is unacceptable, worse than this disease.


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Anyway, Adams predicts that neither of these extreme scenarios will play out. (It’s not, to use “progressive” terminology, a binary choice.) To anticipate how it will go, he first consults the medical professionals. But he keeps in mind that they’re concerned not just with treating the patient but with availability of supplies and also with “crowd psychology,” what I’d call managing expectations and fears. Normally, Adams says, we can trust doctors and scientists to give us “a straight fact,” but in this situation, we might not.

They have good intentions and the best information, he says, but we may need to look through what is being said to know what’s really going on.

Adams cites the studies we’ve been discussing on the use of hydroxychlorophine and the “Z-pack” to treat COVID-19. Adams finds himself, like me, “more optimistic” than Dr. Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control have been, at least publicly, about the usefulness of these therapies. He thinks doctors are downplaying our hopes as a way to help keep us home, at least for now, and because they don’t yet have a large enough supply to meet the incredible demand there will be.

If there were a panic over getting the drugs, some people would stop at nothing. (Look at what they do to have toilet paper.) They also might be too optimistic about the difference the drugs will make. But Adams’ hunch, based on all he knows, is that doctors think this treatment is better than they’re currently letting on. “All of the evidence so far is that it’s a pretty good kill shot,” he says.

He predicts, based on studies going on now around the world, that we’ll find out in a week or two that with these treatments, we can take the death rate for healthy people under, say, 60, very close to zero. (I would add that this would be comparable to that of the usual seasonal flu.) They might get sick and miserable with the virus, but they’re highly unlikely to end up in the ICU. That will be the time to let many people go back to work, but not older and otherwise high-risk people, of course.

We’ll be able to turn the economy back on, he says, but “not like a light switch.” It’ll be more like a “dimmer.” But first, the health care system can’t be overloaded (as it currently is in New York), and there has to be a good supply of the medications.

Adams also asked some healthcare professionals how practical it would be to give drugs to those who were non-critical or even just presenting early symptoms that might or might not be coronavirus. Would they bother testing first, knowing that doing so would use up the supply of tests, which are probably more time-consuming to make and administer than just giving meds?


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Based on what they told him, he thinks medical professionals will be dispensing the medication fairly soon –- in places such as California, with nice weather, even in “pop-up tents” outside hospitals --- to people who aren’t sick enough that they need to be admitted. “Our ability to deliver it to people who are not critically ill will be very high,” he says. (I disagree on the advisability of “pop-up tents” if it means doctors will just be handing out drugs; hydroxychloroquine occasionally has serious side effects.)

Adams uses the restaurant business as an example of how the “dimmer” might be gradually turned up. Restaurants in a particular city may open for business, it might be determined, but only if nobody under 60 goes inside them. That would still cut out a lot of business, but it might get the restaurant back to covering salaries and rent. (I would assume people OVER 60 would still at least be able to get take-out!) He envisions a fairly rapid phase-in, assessing results as we go.

What we need to know now from our media: 1) What is the survival rate of people who have received these drugs?, and 2) What is the availability pipeline for the drugs? The media are letting us down here. The answers are likely encouraging.

Adams laments how the media ARE talking about this, vilifying Trump for telling “fairy tales.” Here’s what Rachel Maddow said: “But the President loves saying things like, you know, ‘There’s a drug we’ve got and it’s very effective. It’s approved already. Everybody’s gonna get it.’ He loves saying things like that, because that would be a lovely thing to tell people –- unless, of course, THAT’S NOT TRUE!” Maddow accuses the President of lying, when Adams can personally confirm through the experience of a friend of his with the virus –- sorry for the “anecdotal evidence” –- that medical professionals are giving patients this therapy. “Do you think they’re giving it to people because they don’t think it works?” he asks. Doctors are giving these drugs, FDA-approved but used off-label, because they believe them to be effective and not harmful, at least not harmful enough to outweigh the benefits.

In other words, it’s Maddow who is lying. (Talk about deplorable.) The President talks to all the experts and knows what he’s saying is true, and he’s working to get this treatment out as soon as possible.

Check out Scott Adams’ podcast, Episode 863, “PART 1: LET ME TELL YOU HOW WE BEAT THE VIRUS AND GET BACK TO WORK SOON.”

https://www.scottadamssays.com/2020/03/22/episode-866-scott-adams-wrapped-in-a-blanket-and-answering-your-questions/

Many media outlets and Twitter twits went on a rage against President Trump, accusing him of pushing false hope by declaring a combination of drugs including hydroxychlorophine to be a miracle cure for the Wuhan flu (see what I did there?) Or as Mediaite put it, “Trump Touts Unproven Coronavirus Drug Cocktail As 'One Of The Biggest Game Changers In The History Of Medicine.'”

https://twitter.com/BuckSexton/status/1241380476222418944

No, he did not say that. They left out his preceding qualifiers, including saying that “if it works,” it could be a game-changer, “and maybe not.”

What does it tell us about the mindset of our current “news” media that they can hear the President say there’s a possibility we might have a cure for a deadly pandemic that’s shut down the US economy, and they think that the most newsworthy part of that statement is that if you edit and twist it enough, you can use it to make the President sound like a liar?

It’s incredible that something so serious and frightening still hasn’t been able to penetrate the media’s terminal case of Trump Derangement Syndrome and shock or shame them into acting like responsible professionals. They have seemingly learned nothing, certainly not humility or the limits of their expertise, since the earliest days of this crisis, when they attacked Trump as a racist and xenophobe for shutting down travel from China.

https://www.westernjournal.com/list-medias-original-take-travel-bans-abandoned-common-sense-trump-hate/

I assume they would prefer Trump had reacted the way the PC mayor of Florence, Italy, did, by showing defiance of “xenophobia” by encouraging Italians to “hug a stranger.” That worked out well, didn’t it?

https://pjmedia.com/trending/dr-fauci-trumps-travel-bans-may-prevent-u-s-from-becoming-another-italy/

And as recently as February 8th, the chairman of the New York City Council Health Committee was tweeting for everyone to turn out for the Lunar New Year parade in Chinatown, to show “defiance of (the) coronavirus scare.”

https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/362309/

So when any of these people attack the way Trump is dealing with this unprecedented crisis, ask them: “Why should we listen to anything you have to say? Have you gotten ANYTHING right so far?”

On that subject, here are “10 Ways the Left Has Politicized the Coronavirus Pandemic.” But this article is a week old, so there are a lot more by now.

https://pjmedia.com/trending/10-ways-the-left-has-politicized-the-coronavirus-pandemic/

And on a similar subject, as tough as it is to choose who should be Miss Universe out of all those contenders, or which movie out of a whole year’s worth of releases is the “Best Picture,” imagine how hard it must be to narrow it down to only the “Top 10 Lies About President Trump’s Response to the Coronavirus.”

https://pjmedia.com/trending/the-top-10-lies-about-president-trumps-response-to-the-coronavirus/

Huck's Hero Kurt Kruczek

March 22, 2020

I wrote recently that I seem to live in a very different America from the dog-eat-dog Zombie Apocalypse described by the media. In the America where I live, people are dealing with the current pandemic scare by trying their best to stay calm, keep on keeping on, and helping each other as much as possible.

One great example of a Huck’s Hero in this situation is Kurt Kruczek, owner of Naples Pizza in West Hartford, Connecticut. His business is down 50%, he had to close one location, and he’s struggling to keep paying all his workers. But when he saw the doctors at the local hospital on TV in their “space suits,” working so hard to deal with the coronavirus, he knew he had to help. So he called and asked if they’d like some free pizzas. The gift was greatly appreciated by the overworked staffers and worried patient family members. So he’s now making a weekly delivery of free pizzas to the hospital, one during the daytime and another at night, for the night shift people who tend to be forgotten.

Kruczek appeared Wednesday on “Fox & Friends,” where he urged people to please support their local restaurants that are struggling to survive by ordering good to go or to be delivered. And here’s a great idea: he said if you can afford it, consider buying gift cards and either using them when the pandemic is over, or else donate them as thank-you gifts to your local hospital, police or firefighters.

There’s even a website now that can help you find a restaurant near you that’s offering gift cards, to help your local businesses survive. To learn more, go to www.RallyForRestaurants.com.

President Trump told Americans that there’s nothing wrong with the supply chain and they need to “just relax" and stop hoarding supplies. I might add, “especially toilet paper.”

https://www.westernjournal.com/ap-trump-calls-americans-cease-hoarding-food-supplies/

Judging by the runs (sorry!) on toilet paper, you’d think people believe the #1 symptom of coronavirus is explosive diarrhea. Americans are so terrified of running out of TP while hunkering down (sorry again!) that they’ve denuded store shelves of it. I’ll bet they’re thinking back on all the houses they TP’ed on Halloweens past and kicking themselves. Or recalling how they laughed at Sheryl Crowe for suggesting using only one sheet. Now, they ruefully think that if they’d only done that, imagine how many rolls they’d have left. It would also serve a double function by insuring that no other people would come within six feet of them. Your friends would do the “social distancing” for you!

I wanted to see if it was really that bad, so I put on my hazmat suit and visited a few big stores: a Kroger supermarket, an Aldi, a WalMart supercenter and neighborhood store, and two CVS pharmacies. Sure enough, not a single roll of Charmin to squeeze in any of them. Photo one here is an example: the bare toilet paper aisle at a CVS in a northern Dallas suburb.

But then I noticed something odd that suggests people may be so panicked that they’re not thinking clearly. Right next to the empty TP shelves were shelves with plenty of boxes of Kleenex for sale.

Am I the only one who realizes that Kleenex can be used for…ahem…”multi-tasking”? Speaking of that, I should also note that the magazine rack still had plenty of copies of Time and Rolling Stone.

Finally, as ironclad proof that all this toilet paper hoarding is being fueled not by need but by irrational panic buying, I offer this shot from just two aisles over: shelves of Depends, filled to bursting (the shelves, I mean.) If people really needed toilet paper and all the stores were out, you'd think this would be the obvious solution.