CNN has been a longtime opponent of treating COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine after the president advocated its use but their stance took a turnaround in an article published on Friday citing positive results for the drug. The politicization has not ended as social media as YouTube censored a video posted by a doctor who has been a longtime advocate of hydroxychloroquine. 

On 17 March, the AIFA Scientific-Technical Commission of the Italian Medicines Agency expressed a favorable opinion on including the off-label use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID‑19. At a press conference held two days later, President Trump suggested that the drugs were being investigated as a potential treatment. The FDA later said they had not given approval for the drug to be used in the treatment of COVID‑19but was now allowing chloroquine under compassionate-use guidelines. The drug then became the focus of a media battle.

The internationally recognized medical journal, The Lancet, published a study claiming that not only was the drug not effective in treating COVID-19 but that patients were at greater risk of death. The authors based their study on data provided by the US company Surgisphere,  a healthcare analytics company.  The Lancet later retracted the story after a series of articles in The Guardian raised serious questions about the validity of the data.

CNN published several articles discrediting hydroxychloroquine, including a story on May 22 co-authored by Elizabeth Cohen based on the Lancet article which inaccurately cited harmful side-effects of hydroxychloroquine. Another article by Cohen targeted Trump as being “wrong” about the drudge efficacy. 

So it was quite surprising when CNN  published an article on Friday co-authored by Cohen reporting on a new study of 2,541 hospitalized patients which found that those patients given hydroxychloroquine were much less likely to die.  26% of those not given hydroxychloroquine died, compared to 13% of those who got the drug. The article cited a report published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases which found that “overall crude mortality rates were 18.1% in the entire cohort, 13.5% in the hydroxychloroquine alone group, 20.1% among those receiving hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin, 22.4% among the azithromycin alone group, and 26.4% for neither drug.”

“Our results do differ from some other studies,” Dr. Marcus Zervos, division head of infectious disease for Henry Ford Health System, told a news conference. “What we think was important in ours … is that patients were treated early. For hydroxychloroquine to have a benefit, it needs to begin before the patients begin to suffer some of the severe immune reactions that patients can have with Covid,” he added.

“It’s important to note that in the right settings, this potentially could be a lifesaver for patients,” Dr. Steven Kalkanis, CEO of the Henry Ford Medical Group, said at the news conference.

The article contained several disclaimers including quotes from health professionals who questioned the validity of the findings. But the motives behind the left-wing suppression of the drug came into question when the new study revealed that hydroxychloroquine is a lifesaver for blacks. Macomb Daily reviewed the new study, adding one aspect of the study not reported by CNN.

“A secondary result indicates that black patients who were part of the study died at a lower rate than white patients,” Macomb Daily reported. “Which counters national reports that blacks suffer more from COVID-19, officials said. Blacks have contracted the novel coronavirus at a higher rate than other groups.”

“The very interesting fact is that once patients became sick and were admitted to the hospital, we actually saw a higher death rate amongst the white population,” Kalkanis said at the conference. “Certainly more studies are needed, but what that tells us that, potentially, African-American patients benefited significantly from this drug.”

Many in the public and in the health sector were incensed at how the left-wing media had deceived the public in medical matters in order to advance an anti-Trump agenda.  David Samadi, the director of men’s health and urologic oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, New York, and a medical commentator for Fox News asked, “How many lives were lost because of it?”

 

Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, an Orthodox Jewish doctor with a clinic in Kiryas Joel in New York, felt vindicated by the new study. Dr. Zelenko began early in the pandemic treating his patients infected with the coronavirus with hydroxychloroquine and zinc. Like the recent study published in CNN, Dr. Zelenko emphasized that the key to successful treatment was timeliness. 

“Within the first five days when symptoms start, the viral load or the amount of virus is relatively stable or constant. But around day six, it explodes like a wildfire. Now most patients don’t come to the doctor right away. They come around day four or five…you wait until the results of the test, which takes three days, you get into day eight. And what happens by then is the patient is really sick, the fire’s out of control. So the key is to treat based on clinical suspicion.”

Dr. Zelenko was slammed in the media as a right-wing shill despite his documentation showing significantly fewer hospitalizations and five times less all-cause deaths. Trump even referenced Dr. Zelenko as the inspiration for his decision to be treated with the drug.

In reaction to the new study, Dr. Zelenko gave an interview to the alternative news media, The Highwire. In the interview, Dr. Zelenko stated that “hydroxychloroquine deniers” were “mass murderers.”The video was removed by YouTube for ”violating YouTube’s community guidelines.”

The video can still be viewed on other sites.

 

This is not the first time the internet companies have censored vital information regarding the coronavirus. In April, President Trump made a speech in which he said that ultraviolet light was being investigated as a possible treatment for COVID-19. The president suggested that it might be used internally. Many mainstream and major media tried to discredit Trump’s suggestion claiming that UV cannot be used against the coronavirus.

There is, in fact, a company, AYTU BioScience, researching the possibility of adapting a UV gastrointestinal device for use in the lungs via intubation. Within 24 hours of the president’s speech, the social media accounts of the company were suspended and several of their videos removed from YouTube.

It has been suggested that this censorship was due to YouTube’s policy of removing posts that contradict guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the pandemic.

It should be strongly noted that the WHO has disseminated false information about the pandemic and has been accused of running a pro-China agenda. It is for this reason that President Trump suspended funding of the WHO. There are several class-action suits pending against China for their culpability in allowing the pandemic to spread. There are also several countries calling for an investigation into the possibility that the novel coronavirus escaped from the Wuhan microbiology laboratory.