Thursday, October 15, 2020

fractured pandemic America

From today's New York Times Morning Briefing:

  • Tonight was supposed to be the second presidential debate. Instead, Trump and Joe Biden will hold competing televised events, with Biden’s on ABC and Trump’s on NBC.
  • Some Democrats and media analysts criticized NBC for scheduling the Trump event at the same time as Biden’s, making it impossible for Americans to watch both candidates live.

That's seriously fucked up. Or, it's blatant proof that America is in a civil war that yet lacks both sides shooting and maiming and killing each other, which could become realty, given the hate and rage I see daily on Facebook.

Furthermore, nearly all Democrats I conversed with rejected Dr. Vladimir Zelenko's cheap, fast early-stage coronavirus cure, which saves them having to go to a hospital like President Trump had to do recently, because he had rejected Dr. Zelenko's cure: 200 mg. hydroxychloroquine 2 x a day, 220 mg. zinc sulfate 1 x a day, 200 mg. azithromycin 1 x a day, for 5 days. Hydroxychloroquine transports zinc into body cells, where zinc stops coronavirus replication. Azithromycin treats any secondary infections. 

President Trump received Dr. Zelenko's March 23, 2020 letter outlining the treatment protocol that could have allowed America (and the world) to reopen safely.

Sean Hannity read that letter to a skeptical Vice President Mike Pence on Sean's FOX show. Pence was in charge of President Trump's coronavirus task force. Sean then interviewed Dr. Zelenko.  The news media, the medical-industrial complex and the Democrats went haywire attacking hydroxychloroquine, President Trump and Dr. Zelenko. Dr. Zelenko was investigated by a US Attorney. What could have saved America in April, died.

I became convinced that Democrats, in the main, would choose dying from the coronavirus, to taking Dr. Zelekno's cure, because Trump and Hannity had touted the cure. I became convinced Democrats, in the main, would choose the death of America, because Trump and Hannity had promoted Dr. Zeleno's cure. I became convinced Trump betrayed America when he did not damn the torpedoes and steam full speed ahead making Dr. Zelenko's cheap, fast cure available for free to all Americans. That would have saved America in warp speed and there would not have been no Operation Warp speed.

Instead, from today's New York Times Morning Briefing:

The surging virus

The autumn wave of the coronavirus has reached a dangerous new stage. The number of new daily cases has risen almost 50 percent in the U.S. over the past month. The situation is even worse in Europe.

For the first time since late March, the per capita number of new cases in Europe exceeds the number in the U.S.:

By The New York Times | Sources: Johns Hopkins University, World Bank

“The virus is everywhere in France,” the French president, Emmanuel Macron, said yesterday, while imposing a nighttime curfew in major cities.

The onset of cooler weather, which is driving more people indoors, seems to be playing a big role. And many people seem to have grown tired of pandemic restrictions, leading politicians — in both Europe and the U.S. — to lift restrictions prematurely.

In late June, as The Times’s Mark Landler writes from Europe, residents in Prague held a dinner party stretching across the Charles Bridge to celebrate what they called — wrongly — the end of the outbreak. Italy and Spain welcomed summer tourists.

But the pandemic hasn’t gone away. While treatments are getting better, many people are still dying — including almost 6,000 in India over the past week, 5,000 in the U.S., 1,700 in Iran, 850 in Spain and about 600 in both Britain and France. A widely available vaccine is still months away, even if the current research trials go well.

Amid all of this bad news, it’s worth keeping in mind that some countries continue to fight the virus successfully. The per capita rate of new cases in Canada is less than half as high as it is in the U.S. In Australia and much of Africa and Asia, the rate remains near zero.

In many places where case counts are rising, political leaders are reluctant to impose new lockdowns, because the public is tired of them. But that creates something of a Catch-22: The most reliable way to reverse big outbreaks of this virus has been through strict crackdowns.

In the U.S.: The virus is spreading in every region, with the highest case counts in the South and Midwest, as you can see in these charts.

Biden's pandemic response is a joke. Trump's pandemic response is a joke. 

Sancho Panza emailed:


Last week it was announced that President Trump tested positive for COVID along with “mild symptoms.” He was admitted to Walter Reed hospital.

The same day his condition was announced to the public, it was also immediately announced that the President was being administered a new experimental COVID drug, Regeneron’s REGN-COV2.

Business journals apparently already had press releases ready about the drug, and the company’s stock immediately went up.

FiercePharma, one the Pharmaceutical companies’ main marketing trade publications, was one of the first to publish the story:

In a bombshell development Thursday, President Donald J. Trump tested positive for COVID-19, sending shockwaves through the country with just weeks until Election Day. One unanswered question was how the president’s physicians would navigate an uncertain treatment course—and an unproven antibody cocktail from Regeneron is now in the spotlight.

Trump’s personal doctor confirmed Friday that the president was treated with an 8-gram dose of Regeneron’s investigational antibody cocktail for COVID-19, dubbed REGN-COV2…

Trump’s early treatment with Regeneron’s cocktail was an immediate boon for investors with the drugmaker’s stock trading up around $20—or 3%—in after-market hours Friday.

Regeneron does not even have emergency use approval yet. FiercePharma also reports that Regeneron’s CEO Len Schleifer has been a guest at the White House during the pandemic.

Kyle Blankenship reports:

Unlike another highly touted COVID-19 hopeful, Gilead Sciences’s Veklury (remdesivir), REGN-COV2 has no emergency use approvals anywhere in the world—a fact that could underscore Trump’s relationship with New York-based Regeneron and CEO Len Schleifer, who has been a guest at the White House during the pandemic.

The company said late Friday that Trump’s doctors had requested the therapy under its compassionate use program.

An eventual clean bill of health for Trump could go a long way to boosting confidence in Regeneron’s therapy, which is already raising hopes of $6 billion in sales per year—assuming it can secure the FDA’s approval.

Compared with vaccines, which are being supplied to the U.S. government at $24 on average for a two-dose regimen, antibody drugs could be far more expensive, as they are typically priced well into the thousands, Morningstar analyst Karen Andersen told clients last month. But antibodies could be particularly useful for older adults, whose immune systems may not respond as well to vaccination. (Full article.) (Emphasis Added)

Regeneron’s co-founders then made the media rounds after the “free” publicity they received from the President for using their product.

Beth Snyder Bulik, writing for FiercePharma, reported on Oct. 7th:

Just days after Regeneron published early data on its antibody cocktail to treat COVID-19, the world found out the president of the U.S. was taking it.

What followed was a run-up for Regeneron shares, a series of shout-outs from President Donald Trump and a fair share of media appearances for the company’s co-founders.

The high-profile attention is a rare public relations bump that can’t be bought—and one the company seems at ease leveraging.

It may also be a sign of the COVID-19 times. Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day went on multiple TV interviews to talk about remdesivir, the company’s antiviral that’s still in clinical trials but boasts an emergency use authorization from the FDA. (Full articleEmphasis added.)

On October 4, 2020, it was announced that Trump had received his second dose of remdesivir, another experimental COVID drug, but one that has already received fast-track approval by the FDA, and has been widely distributed to hospitals.

His doctors reported that President Trump would receive the full 5 doses.

Interestingly, FiercePharma, the main pharmaceutical marketing trade publication, announced on Friday, October 2nd, the same day Trump was admitted to Walter Reed, that sales of Gilead’s remdesivir were beginning to slump, and that the company was taking over distribution of the drug now as a result of the slow-down in sales.

Angus Liu, writing for FiercePharma, reported:

After a somewhat chaotic initial rollout by the U.S. government, Gilead Sciences is now taking distribution of COVID-19 drug remdesivir into its own hands.

Starting Thursday, Gilead will directly sell remdesivir, branded as Veklury, to American hospitals, ending a five-month phase when the U.S. Department of Health and Human services was responsible for allocating it, the company and HHS said. AmerisourceBergen will remain the sole U.S. distributor through the end of the year.

The cost for the 5-dose treatment of remdesivir is $3,120.00, and sales are expected to exceed $3.5 billion in revenue.

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a drug with no patents due to being in the marketplace with a perfect safety record for over 35 years and with a cost of about $20 per dose, was condemned by U.S. public health officials like Dr. Fauci as supposedly being ineffective in treating COVID.

The efforts to discredit HCQ included publishing fabricated studies to try and “prove” that HCQ was not effective against COVID patients.

Gilead’s remdesivir was given fast-track approval instead, and demand initially sky rocketed.

But now, apparently the supply of remdesivir exceeds demand.

FiercePharma reported:

Remdesivir is one of only a few drugs to show signs of benefits in COVID-19 during the early days of the pandemic. But just like the world’s response to the virus, the initial distribution of the antiviral drug was confusing under the feds’ oversight.

Some doses went directly to hospitals but not necessarily to those in greatest need, and some hospitals either didn’t receive enough or were left empty-handed, NPR reported in May, weeks after the remdesivir won its emergency use authorization from the FDA. The allocations improved later, but HHS’ methods for earmarking doses remained a mystery.

Meanwhile, Gilead quickly worked to ramp up supply, increasing internal manufacturing capacity and signing on contractors.

Now, the supply’s exceeding market demand. At the end of June, HHS secured more than 500,000 treatment courses of the drug, which represented nearly all of Gilead’s yield through September.

However, states and territories haven’t been accepting their full allocations, and only 32% of the total amount was actually purchased by hospitals from July to September, HHS said Thursday, citing data from its Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

Now that Gilead’s meeting real-time demand for the drug in the U.S., the HHS and the company decided it’s time for the HHS to bow out and let the company handle commercial sales directly to hospitals. (Full article at FiercePharma).

So whatever you want to believe about the President’s diagnosis with COVID, one thing is very clear: two pharmaceutical companies with experimental COVID drugs saw their sales and stock value soar.

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