Belief kills and belief cures ...but not COVID-19

Belief kills and belief cures ...but not COVID-19

Glenn Tucker

Thursday, April 09, 2020

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Perhaps the greatest problem facing the world during this COVID-19 crisis is misinformation. People are scared and frustrated; and, as they see their savings disappearing before their eyes, they are still willing to try any and everything.

Some people are stocking up on years worth of antibiotics, although these are for bacterial problems and have absolutely no effect on viruses. Then they buy boxes and bottles of vitamin C, some declaring that they intend to triple the dose — unaware of the fact that vitamin C is water soluble and once one takes the daily amount of 95mg, the excess is just passed out in one's urine as the body has no capacity to store vitamin C.

Every day there is a new 'cure'. One Jamaican in the medical field in the US gained prominence when he revealed what cured him from the virus — tylenol with garlic and ginger! He must be a millionaire overnight. Or could it be that he just had a bad case of the flu? Many of these cures are set to have a devastating effect on people with certain pre-existing conditions.

Jamaicans may be forgiven for believing that there is some bush out there that can cure any ailment. This is because 33 per cent of all the medicinal herbs identified worldwide are found only in Jamaica. But these herbs have hurt almost as many as they have healed. This is because each one has many compounds that respond to different ailments, and it is the scientists that must be relied on to determine which compound is suitable for which ailment. So breadfruit leaf, for example, has one compound that masks diabetes, while several other compounds in the leaf could be deadly for diabetics.

Doctors are supposed to be scientists, and one would expect them to help by discouraging persons from harming themselves and their pocketbooks by embarking on these potentially harmful pursuits. Unfortunately, some are even administering useless injections and doling out prescriptions which will have no positive effect on the virus.

There is no known cure for COVID-19. Researchers are not even sure they fully understand it. If and when they get to that stage, it will be many, many months, or longer, before a vaccine comes on the market.

Recently, Opposition spokesman on health Dr Morais Guy revealed that doctors in a rural hospital were administering a medication — hydroxychloroquine — used to treat lupus and other autoimmune conditions to any COVID-19 patient demanding the medication. Health and Wellness Minister Christopher Tufton promised to investigate, as no such directive came from his ministry. For those who see this as political mischief, associations representing physicians and pharmacists have confirmed that their stocks of the drug have been depleted.

An autoimmune disease is a condition that your immune system, which normally guards the body against germs like bacteria and viruses, mistakenly attacks your own body because it is unable to determine foreign cells from your own cells. For example Type 1 diabetes will damage the pancreas. Other diseases, like lupus, attack the whole body. One can understand the consequences when there is a shortage of this drug. It's like going through your gate and being attacked by the dog you raised from he was a puppy after you've locked the gate.

So what is the origin of this rush on hydroxychloroquine? Well, a few weeks ago French doctors published an interesting observation in a microbiology journal. Searching for a treatment for COVID-19, they experimented with a drug which was, for decades, used to treat malaria. It should be noted that malaria is caused by a parasite and not a virus. Incredibly, these doctors chose six COVID-19 patients, combined hydroxychloroquine with azythromycin (an antibiotic that kills bacteria and not viruses) and reported that after six days of this regimen all six people tested negative for the virus. This joke caught the eye of celebrity doctor to the gullible Mehmet Oz, who, when he is not advising US President Donald Trump, is massaging his ego with Sean Hannity on Fox News. Trump got hold of this 'information' and is running with it.

Permit me to share with your readers the first time this French doctor at the head of this research came to my attention. It was some years ago. At that time, he was questioning climate change and Darwinian evolution. His name is Dr Didier Raoult. Need I say more?

Based on this questionable research finding, President Trump is recommending hydroxychloroquine to everyone. The latest news coming from Fox News is this black woman praising Trump for saving her life with hydroxychloroquine. Here is how Trump tells it: This woman is black so it is unlikely she would be voting for him so she must be credible. “She thought she was dead.”

Late one night, at death's door, this COVID-19 sufferer begged her husband to go to the pharmacy to get some hydroxychloroquine, as the president had ordered. She took it and four hours later she was 'cured'. This is a prescription item. I wonder where her husband got a prescription at that hour? And how come this dying woman wasn't in a hospital? Why do black people continue to prostitute themselves in this way? The overwhelming majority of the victims of this virus are black Americans. Why are doctors responding to Anancy stories from Donald Trump when it is now universally accepted that when Trump says anything it should be taken with one heaping tablespoon of Himalayan salt followed immediately with a powerful laxative?

For lupus sufferers, hydroxychloroquine, which is in limited supply, is the mainstay of their treatment, preventing their immune system making too many antibodies, which can otherwise attack the body's organs, mainly the kidneys and the skin, but also the heart, lungs, and the brain. Also worrying is that there is no good alternative, as other immunosuppressants have toxic side effects that may actually put other people at even greater risk of COVID-19. Running out of this drug could add another disaster to our problems —thanks not only to Trump, but gullible doctors.

Before the advent of this drug, overall five-year survival rates for lupus were less than 50 per cent. Now, five-year survival rates are over 95 per cent.

Respected surgeon Dr Alfred Dawes recently urged individuals to be mindful that the drug is not approved to be used as a COVID-19 treatment. Present studies either are not large enough or are inconclusive to give definitive responses.

Many may reject my conclusions. After all, Donald Trump is president of the United States and I am not even a doctor. I know we are frightened, broke, and desperate, but it would seem to me that combining a drug that treats a disease caused by a parasite with an antibiotic which is ineffective against viruses is unlikely to be effective against a virus.

As of Monday, the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide was 1,500,000. There have been some 90,000 deaths. Can we appeal to our doctors to stop following this pied piper and start following the basic laws of science?

Glenn Tucker, MBA, is an educator and a sociologist. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or

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