Disinfo: US state medical team that banned hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 lacks qualification

Summary

The US state of Nevada’s medical team, which banned FDA-approved malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus, lacks qualification.

Disproof

This is part of the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign around the coronavirus, and specifically its efforts to spread false or misleading health information related to COVID-19, its prevention, and its treatment. See similar false claims like that COVID-19 can be cured with saline solution, that treatment for COVID-19 will lead to forced vaccination, that handwashing is useless for preventing the spread of the virus, and that we have "nothing to lose" by making hydroxychloroquine publicly available without testing. False and misleading health claims are the most dangerous and irresponsible aspect of coronavirus-related disinformation, as they can have a direct impact on people’s health and even their lives. This article baselessly accuses a US state medical team of lacking professional qualifications in order to provoke doubt about the state's decision to ban the use of anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19. These drugs have not yet been tested for their effectiveness against COVID-19 and are not recommended for this purpose by health authorities, including the WHO and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which states that as of yet "there are no FDA-approved therapeutics or drugs to treat, cure or prevent COVID-19." The FDA is currently investigating whether chloroquine "can be used to treat patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 to potentially reduce the duration of symptoms, as well as viral shedding, which can help prevent the spread of disease." On 20 March, the WHO also announced a major global trial called SOLIDARITY to test four potential treatments for COVID-19, including chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. The SOLIDARITY trial will involve 45 countries and is designed to “dramatically cut the time needed to generate robust evidence about what drugs work.” In a statement, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We call on individuals and countries to refrain from using therapeutics that have not been demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19. The history of medicine is strewn with examples of drugs that worked on paper, or in a test tube, but didn't work in humans or were actually harmful. We must follow the evidence. There are no short-cuts.” Chloroquine has recently garnered public attention after a small study of 36 COVID-19 patients in France demonstrated initially promising results; however, infectious disease experts have said the findings are not conclusive and require further study. Importantly, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine can have serious side effects, especially at high doses or when combined with other medicines. They should not be used without a prescription and without medical supervision. Experts and health authorities, including the WHO and the European Medicine Agency, have also expressed concern that premature use of these drugs for COVID-19 may create dangerous shortages for patients who need them for other serious conditions, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The WHO advises against “unnecessary stockpiling and the creation of shortages of approved medicines that are required to treat other diseases”. See the WHO’s mythbusting page about false COVID-19 health advice for more information.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 191
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 25/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: US
  • Keywords: coronavirus
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Swedish oligarchs impede the introduction of quarantine measures

Swedish oligarchs, in cahoots with the authorities, refused to introduce quarantine measures to avoid financial losses. [—] Sweden is not testing people with coronavirus symptoms. Thus, the real number of cases is impossible to establish.

Disproof

An unfounded coronavirus conspiracy theory. As of 23 March 2020, there were 1906 cases of confirmed coronavirus infections in Sweden, and 21 people there have died. The Swedish Public Health Authority's highest priority is to protect the public. It has declared that an ‘extraordinary situation’ exists in Sweden. New protective measures are designed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, protect people at especially high risk, and assure the provision of care and therapeutic products to the public. In Sweden, as in most EU countries, there are strict regulations for educational institutions, mass events were cancelled. The population is strongly advised to stay in quarantine and observe good hygiene practices. Sweden has temporarily banned travel to the EU via Sweden. The current entry ban does not affect travel from another EU country to Sweden, nor does it apply to Swedish citizens. See details here. A site with FAQ on Sweden's response to the COVID-19 outbreak from the Swedish Public Health Authority

Neither doctors, nor food supplies in Lithuania

The coronavirus epidemic in Lithuania demonstrates with all clarity the results of the democratic reforms on the road to the “Bright European Future”. [—]

There are only five medical facilities in the country; in the largest cities: in Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, Panevėžys and Vilnius. In rural areas nothing is left, except for something like first aid stations. If there are only a few hospitals, there are few doctors. This has become on of the largest challenges. Students from the last years of medical schools are summoned to fight the outbreak, but the shortage of specialist is disastrous. The second problem, connected to the results of the “democratic reforms” is that the country does not have any strategic resources of food supplies.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative portraying Lithuania as a failed state. The 5 hospitals mentioned in the disinformation claim are not the only hospitals in the country. Rather these are the largest hospitals that are designated to test and treat the COVID-19 patients. Lithuania has also established mobile points for testing patients for suspected cases of the coronavirus. Lithuanian society has mobilized to fight the pandemic, student and other volunteers are assisting the state and medics to disseminate public information, procure medical equipment, reach out to the most vulnerable parts of the society and other activities. Lithuania does have strategic resources of food supplies, which are stocked in accordance to national law.

The coronavirus pandemic is the ruling elites' alternative to a world war

There was a need for a replacement of a World War, something that would level out the disbalances of the capitalist economy, revive it and still maintain the status-quo of the ruling elites. The alternative to a shooting war would be a cold war, or, as it is preferred to be called today, a hybrid war. A hybrid war engages elements of finance, trade, psychology, information technology, cyber attacks, special forces against the enemy, but it does not give the rulers the authority to use command methods on the economy. And this is necessary for overcoming the dis-balances of the economy. And here comes the coronavirus. The rulers started to blow up a threat, create an atmosphere of fear. Using the panic, the authorities are given unlimited powers and start actively to interfere in the economy.

Disproof

An unfounded conspiracy theory, sharing a recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative about "secret elites" controlling world leaders. See related pro-Kremlin disinformation cases about the coronavirus.