trump is a mass murderer

Trump’s Aggressive Advocacy of Malaria Drug for Treating Coronavirus Divides Medical Community
Peter Baker, Katie Rogers, David Enrich, Maggie Haberman, NYT, Apr 6 2020

FASCHINGSTEIN — Pres Trump made a rare appearance in the Situation Room on Sunday as his pandemic task force was meeting, determined to talk about the anti-malaria medicine that he has aggressively promoted lately as a treatment for the coronavirus. Once again, according to a person briefed on the session, the experts warned against overselling a drug yet to be proved a safe remedy, particularly for heart patients. Trump acknowledged their input, then he headed out to the cameras to promote it anyway, conceding to reporters at his daily briefing:

Yes, the heart stuff. So what do I know? I’m not a doctor. But I have common sense.

Day after day, the salesman turned president has encouraged coronavirus patients to try hydroxychloroquine with all of the enthusiasm of a real estate developer. The passing reference he makes to the possible dangers is usually overwhelmed by the full-throated endorsement. Five times on Sunday alone, he asked:

What do you have to lose?

Bolstered by his trade adviser, a television doctor, Larry Ellison of Oracle and Rudy Giuliani, Trump has seized on the drug as a miracle cure for the virus that has killed thousands and paralyzed life in Pindostan and globally. Along the way, he has prompted an international debate about a drug that many doctors in New York and elsewhere have been trying in desperation even without conclusive scientific studies. Trump may ultimately be right, and physicians report anecdotal evidence that has provided hope. But it remains far from certain, and the president’s assertiveness in pressing the case over the advice of advisers like Dr Anthony S Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease specialist, has driven a wedge inside his coronavirus task force and has raised questions about his motives. If hydroxychloroquine becomes an accepted treatment, several pharmaceutical companies stand to profit, including shareholders and senior executives with connections to the president. Trump himself has a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine. Dr Joshua Rosenberg, a critical care at Brooklyn Hospital Center, said:

I certainly understand why the president is pushing it. He’s the POTUS. He has to project hope. And when you are in a situation without hope, things go very badly. So I’m not faulting him for pushing it even if there isn’t a lot of science behind it, because it is at this point the best, most available option for use.

A senior physician at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, where doctors are not providing the drug, said the current demand was worrisome for patients on it chronically for rheumatic diseases. At St Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, another doctor said his staff was giving it to coronavirus patients, but criticized the president and Gov Cuomo for “cheerleading” the drug without proof, cautioning:

False hope can be bad, too.

The professional organization that published a positive French study cited by Trump’s allies changed its mind in recent days. The International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy said:

The article does not meet the society’s expected standard.

Some hospitals in Sweden stopped providing hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus after reports of adverse side effects, according to Swedish news media. Cuomo told reporters on Monday that he would ask Trump to increase the federal supply of hydroxychloroquine to New York pharmacies, allowing the state to lift a limit on purchases. Cuomo said:

While there has been no formal study, there has been anecdotal evidence that it is promising.

Trump first expressed interest in hydroxychloroquine a few weeks ago, telling associates that Ellison, a billionaire and a founder of Oracle, had discussed it with him. At the time, Dr Mehmet Oz, the host of television’s “The Doctor Oz Show,” was in touch with Trump’s advisers about expediting approval to use the drug for the coronavirus. Giuliani has urged Trump to embrace the drug, based in part on the advice of Dr Vladimir Zelenko, a self-described simple country doctor who has become a hit on conservative media after administering a cocktail of hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin and zinc sulphate. In an interview on Monday, Giuliani denied any financial stake and said he spoke with Trump only after the president had already promoted the drug publicly. Giuliani said he turned to the issue after researching Biden Jr in Ukraine, a project that led to the president’s impeachment. he said:

When I finished Biden, I immediately switched to coronavirus and I have been doing an enormous amount of research on it.

As it happened, Dr Zelenko was born in Ukraine, and when they first spoke, Giuliani accidentally called him “Dr Zelensky,” mixing up his name with Ukraine’s president. Giuliani said he brought a prosecutor’s experience to his research. He said:

One of the things that a good litigator becomes, is you kind of become an instant expert on stuff, and then you forget about it. I don’t claim to be a doctor. I just repeat what they said.

The FDA, which has approved hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for malaria and lupus, issued an emergency order late last month allowing doctors to administer it to coronavirus patients if they saw fit. Trump said the federal government would distribute 29 million doses and that he had called Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India requesting more. Dr Fauci made his concern clear last Friday on Fox News, saying:

I think we’ve got to be careful that we don’t make that majestic leap to assume that this is a knockout drug. We still need to do the kinds of studies that definitively prove whether any intervention, not just this one, any intervention is truly safe and effective.

The same day, Fox host Laura Ingraham visited Trump at the White House with two doctors who had been on her program promoting hydroxychloroquine, one of whom made a presentation on its virtues, according to an official, confirming a WaPo report. The next day, Peter Navarro, the president’s trade adviser, who has been assigned to expedite production of medical equipment and become an advocate of the drug, upbraided Dr Fauci at a White House task force meeting, according to people informed about the discussion. Navarro arrived at the meeting armed with a thick sheaf of papers recounting research. When the issue was raised, according to a person informed about the meeting, confirming a report by Axios, Navarro picked it up off a chair, dropped it on the table and started handing out copies. Navarro, who earned a doctorate in economics from Harvard, defended his position on Monday despite his lack of medical credentials, saying on CNN:

Doctors disagree about things all the time. My qualifications in terms of looking at the science is that I’m a social scientist. I have a PhD. And I understand how to read statistical studies, whether it’s in medicine, the law, economics or whatever.

Trump made clear on Sunday whose side he took in Navarro’s confrontation with Dr Fauci. At his briefing after the meeting, he said it was wrong to wait for the kind of study Dr Fauci wanted. He said:

We don’t have time. We don’t have two hours because there are people dying right now.

Some associates of Trump’s have financial interests in the issue. Sanofi’s largest shareholders include Fisher Asset Management, the investment company run by Ken Fisher, a major donor to Thugs including Trump. A spokesman for Fisher declined to comment. Another investor in both Sanofi and Mylan, another pharmaceutical firm, is Invesco, the fund previously run by Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary. Ross said in a statement Monday:

I am not aware that Invesco has any investments in companies producing hydroxychloroquine, nor do I have any involvement in the decision to explore this as a treatment.

As of last year, Trump reported that his three family trusts each had investments in a Dodge & Cox mutual fund, whose largest holding was in Sanofi. A Sanofi spox said the company no longer sells or distributes Plaquenil in Pindostan, although it does sell it internationally. Several generic drug-makers are gearing up to produce hydroxychloroquine pills, including Amneal Pharmaceuticals, whose co-founder Chirag Patel is a member of Trump National Golf Course Bedminster in New Jersey and has golfed with Trump at least twice since he became president, according to a person who saw them. Patel, whose company is based in Bridgewater, NJ, did not respond to a request for comment. Amneal announced last month that it would increase production of the drug and donate millions of pills to New York and other states. Other generic drugmakers are ramping up production, including Mylan and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Roberto Mignone, a Teva board member, reached out to the team of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, through Nitin Saigal, who used to work for Mignone and is a friend of Kushner’s, according to people informed about the discussions. Kushner’s team referred him to the White House task force and Mignone asked for help getting India to ease export restrictions, which have since been relaxed, allowing Teva to bring more pills into Pindostan. Mignone, who is also a vice chairman of NYU Langone Health, which is running a clinical study of hydroxychloroquine, confirmed on Monday that he has spoken with the administration about getting more medicine into the country. Dr Daniel H Sterman, the critical care director at NYU Langone Health, said doctors there are using hydroxychloroquine, but data about its effectiveness remained “weak and unsubstantiated” pending the study. He said:

We do not know whether our patients are benefiting from hydroxychloroquine treatment at the present time.

NYC’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, which runs its public hospitals, is advising but not requiring doctors to use hydroxychloroquine based on a trial showing a decreased cough and fever with mild side effects in two patients, Dr Mitchell Katz, who oversees the hospital system, said by email on Monday. Dr Roy M Gulick, the chief of infectious diseases at Weill Cornell Medicine, said hydroxychloroquine was given on a case-by-case basis. he said:

We explain the pros and cons and explain that we don’t know if it works or not.

Doctors at Northwell Health and Mount Sinai Health System are using it as well. At the Mount Sinai South Nassau County branch on Long Island, doctors have employed a regimen of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin “pretty much since day one” with mixed results, said Dr Adhi Sharma, its chief medical officer. he said:

We’ve been throwing the kitchen sink at these patients. I can’t tell whether someone got better on their own or because of the medication.

Trump’s own economic advisor warned him about 2 million dead in February memo president ignored
Alex Woodward, Independent, Apr 7 2020

NYC – Weeks before declaring a national emergency as he dismissed concerns of a looming coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump was warned at least twice by his top trade adviser that the outbreak could cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. In a January memo to the NSC, Peter Navarro warned the White House that an outbreak could likely lead to the deaths of half a million people in Pindostan. That memo called for an immediate ban on travel from China, reportedly as Navarro sought to ramp up a trade war with the country. Another memo, from February, said as many as 2 million Pindos could die and warned that “now is not the time for penny-pinching or horse-trading” as the president waged political battles with his Demagog critics in Congress. The first memo was sent to the NSC on Jan 29, and the other was sent directly to the president on 23 February, according to Axios, which obtained copies of the memos. Axios reports that the memos were dismissed at first as White House boxtops were sceptical of Navarro’s “anti-China” motives, according to an unnamed senior admin boxtop. Without citing projections, the actions recommended in his memos were seen by White House officials as potentially rattling markets and misappropriating trillions of dollars. Navarro had compared cost estimates for imposing travel restrictions on China, pointing to a loss in $2.9b/month or as much as $35b in the event of a pandemic with a year-long ban imposed. A February memo warned of an “increasing probability of a full-blown COVID-19 pandemic that could infect as many as 100 million Pindos, with a loss of life of as many as 1-2 million souls.” He called for an “immediate” appropriation of $2b for virus prevention and treatment, as well as the needs for mobilising health worker and “at least a billion” face masks, thousands of Tyvek suits, 11,000 ventilators, and 25,000 respirators. On Feb 24, the day after that memo was sent, the president said on Twitter that the virus was “very much under control” and that the stock market is “starting to look very good” to him. The resurfacing of the memos follows reports that Navarro sparred with Dr Anthony Fauci over the use of a controversial malaria drug that the president has promoted as a “game changer” against the virus, despite Dr Fauci and other health boxtops stressing the dangers of implementing medicine that has not been clinically tested or scaled to treat coronavirus patients. Navarro has emerged as a fierce proponent of a “Pindostan first” ideology fuelling the president’s economic policies.

Donald Trump’s drugs ‘to help Boris Johnson’ not tested against coronavirus
Lisa O’Carroll, Groon, Apr 7 2020

None of the treatments the four “genius” drug companies that Donald Trump claims could help Boris Johnson recover from COVID-19 are clinically tested for coronavirus or available on the market, it has emerged. Trump said he had spoken to four companies working with the Pindo government on Monday and had asked two of them to “contact London immediately” about assisting with the prime minister’s treatment. Downing Street has indicated it does not wish to take up Trump’s offer of experimental drugs. Nonetheless, one of the companies, Gilead, which made the drug Remdesivir that was used in trials for Ebola treatment, confirmed that the president had spoken to its chief executive. But it said its therapeutic drug had not yet been clinically tested, a process that was under way. A spox said:

He did call our our CEO in the day yesterday but we cannot go beyond that.

Trump implied that drugs that could help the prime minister were on their way to St Thomas’ hospital in London where Johnson remains in intensive care. He said:

I’ve talked to four of them today, and they speak a language that most people do not understand but I understand something. They’ve really advanced therapeutics and therapeutically, and they’ve arrived in London already, their London office has whatever they need and we will see if we can be of help. We’ve contacted all of Boris’s doctors and we’ll see what is going to take place but they are ready to go.

But on Tuesday a spokeswoman at Gilead’s London’s headquarters said its drug, Remdesivir, had not been tested yet and would only be available if a patient’s doctor specifically requested it. It was developed more than 10 years ago after a decade of research around hepatitis C and respiratory syncytial virus. Research scientists have explored the compound for multiple potential uses to help address urgent and unmet medical needs around the world, including Ebola, Sars, Marburg, Mers and most recently COVID-19. Laboratory trials for its use as a treatment for SARS were successful in 2014, but as the virus burned itself out clinical trials could not take place. the company said:

It is critical we do these clinical trials and show its efficacy. It would be irresponsible to make it widely available.

It has made it available to 1,700 on a “compassionate” basis, but only when a physician requests it for a named patient. The company said yesterday it planned to donate 1.5m doses of Remdesivir to ongoing clinical trials with hopes that it can produce enough for a million treatment courses by the end of the year. The White House confirmed the president had spoken to three other companies yesterday Genentech, Amgen and Regeneron, but none of their products are available even on a compassionate basis. Last week the Californian biotech company Amgen announced it was teaming up with the Seattle-based Adaptive Biotechnologies to try to identify virus-neutralising antibodies which would help them engineer a treatment, but this investigation is only at the starting blocks. DeCode Genetics, an Iceland-based subsidiary of Amgen, will provide genetic insights from patients who have recovered from COVID-19. Genentech, a subsidiary of the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche which is credited with the success of testing in Germany, is in advanced stages of investigation into an arthritis drug Actemra as a treatment for coronavirus. The first patients enrolled in a phase three trial in France and Spain. Participants have to have severe cases of COVID-19 marked by pneumonia and require hospitalisation. Initial results are expected in the summer, according to Reuters. The company has teamed up with Sanofi in France to expand a trial of its rheumatoid arthritis drug Kevzara to patients outside Pindostan where trials have just started. It is now enrolling patients in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Canada, and Russia. The Pindo trials began last week. Trump’s claims that an antimalarial drug could be used to treat coronavirus have previously been discounted.

Trump accuses WHO of being Sinocentric despite largely Pindo-funded
RT.com, Apr 7 2020

Trump slammed the WHO for its “faulty recommendation” that Pindostan, which now has more coronavirus cases than China, should keep its borders open during the early weeks of the epidemic. The president warned he would be having a “good look” at why the WHO, chiefly funded by Pindostan, was so “China centric” in a tweet on Tuesday. Congratulating himself for not listening to the NGO’s advice, Trump wondered aloud about its motivations. As the coronavirus epidemic has grown from a localized outbreak around Wuhan, China to a global pandemic, world leaders have rushed to point fingers, each accusing the others of “getting it wrong” early on. While Trump’s early attempts to downplay the seriousness of the virus have gotten heaps of media attention, the WHO’s early reports that there was no evidence of person-to-person transmission have been largely forgotten. The WHO’s recommendations have shifted dramatically over the intervening weeks. As of Tuesday, a spox was warning countries eager to get back to work that lifting some of the sweeping restrictions that have pitched the world economy into a death spiral would trigger a resurgence of the epidemic, even in areas where it seems to be waning. While Trump had previously expressed hope of getting Pindos out of their lockdowns by Easter, he seemed more recently to have resigned himself and the nation to another month of quarantine. Meanwhile, the Pindo economy continues to bleed out, with over 10 million workers filing unemployment claims in the last two weeks. Pindostan leads the world in number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with 368,533 as of Tuesday to China’s 82,718. Some 11,018 people have died with the virus in Pindostan, a good deal more than China’s officially confirmed 3,335 deaths. The WHO praised China’s strict quarantines and other sweeping control measures for slowing the spread of the virus. However, Pindostan’s own efforts to emulate Beijing with mass lockdowns were doomed by foot-dragging and false starts on testing.

Mounting anger among Pindo health-care workers as watchdog warns of “severe” supply shortages
Evan Blake, WSWS, Apr 7 2020

As the Dept of Health and Human Services warned Monday of “severe” shortages of vital personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout the country, health-care workers are demanding safe working conditions and the provision of the equipment necessary to keep them safe while treating COVID-19 patients. Around midnight Monday morning, seven night-shift nurses at Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit carried out a sit-in to protest working under unsafe and understaffed conditions. This action has evoked a powerful response from nurses and other health-care workers. It is the latest in a wave of protests and strikes launched by health-care and other workers internationally to oppose the deplorable, hazardous conditions they face amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the complete absence of preparation and planning by the ruling elites. After spreading throughout the country for weeks without any testing, as the Trump administration downplayed and denied the dangers involved, the virus has taken hold in every major city in Pindostan, with the epicenter located in the NYC metropolitan area, and major hot spots growing in Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans and LA. This week the pandemic entered into its “surge” phase in Pindostan, with the number of cases and deaths forecast to grow rapidly, quickly overwhelming the dilapidated health-care infrastructure across the country. By Monday evening, there were 367,507 cases and 10,908 deaths in Pindostan, an increase of 29,500 cases and 1,165 deaths throughout the day. Across Eurostan & Pindostan, the lack of adequate PPE has caused thousands of health-care workers to become infected with COVID-19. In Italy, roughly 9% of all COVID-19 patients are health-care workers. Hundreds of health-care workers in NYC have become infected, while in Detroit 2,200 employees at the Henry Ford Health System have either tested positive for COVID-19 or are home with symptoms, and another 1,500 employees at Beaumont Health are currently ill.

At around 7:00 pm Sunday, the incoming night shift at Sinai-Grace, the largest of eight hospitals in the for-profit Detroit Medical Center, which has been inundated with COVID-19 cases for weeks, refused to leave their break room and begin work until management had brought in additional staff to support them. Management balked, and eventually told the nurses to leave the premises. In the days leading up to Sunday’s events, at least seven night-shift nurses had quit their jobs at Sinai-Grace over the deplorable conditions. A video recorded by one of the nurses involved in the protest, Sal, filmed as the nurses left the hospital, has been viewed over 160,000 times, shared over 7,500 times, and has received over 5,200 comments and over 4,400 reactions. A separate post of the video has been viewed over 85,000 times, shared over 1,900 times, and has received over 600 comments and over 800 reactions. In the video, Sal stated:

Sinai-Grace is like the epicenter for this coronavirus. We’ve had three straight weeks with over 110 patients, and an average of 12-14 nurses. At night, that drops down to about eight nurses, and we’ve been accepting that and working hard. But tonight, it was the breaking point for us, because we cannot safely take care of your loved ones out here with just six, seven nurses, with multiple people on ventilators, multiple people on drips. It’s not right.

Another nurse stated emphatically:

Something needs to change. You have to make a stand at some point to get a change.

Nurses on the previous day shift, who began working at 7:00 a.m. Sunday, were kept on the job after the night shift workers were told to leave, working 24 hours straight. Raina, a day shift nurse at Sinai-Grace, later posted a message of solidarity with the night shift workers, while highlighting the horrible conditions faced at the hospital. Raina wrote:

The dayshift ER nurses just worked 24 hours straight with no lunch break. The night shift was right to refuse to come out because help NEVER came!!!! Now I’m home. Shaking inside at the fact I was just trapped in a COVID-filled area wearing the same PPE for 24 hours!!!! My immune system is low because my body is running on empty. Myself at risk for catching this deadly virus now more than ever. I’m so angry. I can’t believe during a pandemic with a deadly virus killing so many people I have been forced to endure this. We support our night shift fully. They asked for help. They were told no help was coming and to leave or accept the assignment. It makes me so sad to know that so many years of combined experience walked out that door on night shift. It wasn’t a group of new nurses. It WAS THE CORE OF NIGHTSHIFT!!!! Why wasn’t everyone with RN next to their name working!!!! We are gonna have the worst PTSD from this. Detroit, Michigan needs help.

Raina’s comments have gone viral, having been shared over 900 times by nurses and workers internationally. The flood of comments posted on Sal’s video are overwhelmingly supportive of the nurses, with many condemning management for not donning medical gear and helping staff the hospital themselves, given that most are qualified to provide care as well. Victorria, a nurse from Texas, wrote:

25 patients! There is absolutely NO way 1 nurse can take care of 25 patients. That is insane! All of the nurse managers, assistant nurse managers, directors, educators, supervisors, case managers, anyone with an RN license in that hospital should be in scrubs with a patient assignment BEFORE any nurse is given a double-digit patient assignment!

Leilani wrote:

Sorry to see it come down to this but any nurse who works ICU knew it was coming! I support you in Wisconsin.

The conditions nurses face in Detroit mirror those faced across the country and internationally. Later on Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General released a report detailing the utter lack of preparation of hospitals across Pindostan for the anticipated surge in cases. Based on a survey conducted with hospital administrators from 323 hospitals across 46 states from Mar 23-27:

Hospitals reported that severe shortages of testing supplies and extended waits for test results limited hospitals’ ability to monitor the health of patients and staff, with wait times for test results lasting seven days or longer. Hospitals reported that widespread shortages of PPE put staff and patients at risk, and that the lack of a robust supply chain was delaying or preventing them from restocking PPE needed to protect staff. Hospitals also expressed uncertainty about availability of PPE from Federal and State sources and noted sharp increases in prices for PPE from some vendors. Hospitals were not always able to maintain adequate staffing levels or offer staff adequate support, and anticipated being overwhelmed if they experienced a surge of patients, who may require special beds and rooms to treat and contain infection. A major concern is the anticipated shortages of ventilators, which would pose difficult decisions about ethical allocation and liability.

Asked about this damning indictment of his administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic at Monday’s White House press conference, Trump lashed out at reporters, repeatedly saying, “it’s just wrong,” and asked for the name of the inspector general. He claimed that the report was a politically-motivated attack, even though it was authored by a non-partisan office, and sought to deflect blame for the crisis created by his administration, saying:

States can be doing their own testing. Hospitals are supposed to be doing testing. We’re the federal government, we’re not supposed to be standing on street corners doing testing.

Health-care workers’ determination to fight for their own safety and the well-being of their patients is a sharp expression of the growing radicalization taking place within the working class. The unprecedented catastrophe of the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the complete inability of capitalism to provide for the needs of society, and to secure the most basic right to life itself. As the virus wreaks ever-greater havoc, growing numbers of workers recognize the need for a vast expansion of the ranks of nurses and support staff, and the mobilization of the economy to produce the necessary PPE, ventilators, test kits and other equipment required to fight the pandemic. Only through the nationalization of the healthcare industry and workers’ control over the major industries, to retool them to produce essential medical supplies, can the working class fight to prevent the mass deaths and social catastrophe threatened by the pandemic.

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