Letter to the Editor: Public Health Hijacked by Politics

From continued reading of scientific commentary and medical studies, I believe there’s already an effective, safe antiviral treatment for early symptoms of COVID-19 in high-risk populations such as older people and those with underlying conditions. It’s called “triple” therapy, consisting of low-dose hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), azithromycin and zinc. 

I understand Dr. Fauci said something like, “HCQ doesn’t work,” but I cannot locate any documentation to support contraindication of triple therapy given early. I think that in an ideal situation, double-blind studies illustrate effectiveness; however, I also understand some anti-cancer drugs and even penicillin have been used, prior to proof from double-blind studies that they worked. It is my understanding that HCQ has been FDA approved for 65 years and is safer than aspirin or Tylenol. During this pandemic, it seems to me that early intervention is imperative.

I believe the published data from practicing physicians here in the U.S. and around the world show that when triple therapy is used, patients recover quickly and are kept out of hospitals. I also believe the comments I read from Yale’s Dr. Harvey Risch when he says that 50 percent or more of the deaths (through July 15) could have been prevented with this therapy.

I asked my primary-care practitioner whether – if I had early COVID-19 symptoms – I could get a prescription for HCQ, which I understand is available over the counter in other countries. I was told that the office follows FDA and CDC guidelines (my understanding of these guidelines is to stay home and see what happens), which, in essence, was no. When I asked my pharmacist whether – if I had a prescription for HCQ – the pharmacy would fill it, I was asked what it was for, and the answer there was essentially no as well. 

I believe that a safe and inexpensive antiviral treatment for early COVID-19 is being denied to most Americans because of political pressure founded on questionable motives. I think health care is being hijacked by politics!

Nancy Kexel-Calabresa

Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin