Ask A Genius 537 – Hydroxychloroquine
April 17, 2020
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is Hydroxychloroquine?
Rick Rosner: Hydroxychloroquine and another drug, which is just chloroquine, are two different drugs. Hyodroxy has some Oxygen and Hydrogen molecule attached to it or something. These drugs have promoted in combination as potential miracle cures for coronavirus by people who don’t know a lot about science, including Trump.
If you catch a grasshopper or a skunk or any number of animals, they will spit out a noxious substance to try to get away from you. That’s pretty much Trump. To avoid being found culpable in fucking up the coronavirus response, he throws out all sorts of shit to distract, including this chloroquine thing as a miracle cure to make it better for everybody.
First off, it is much harder to have a miracle cure for a virus than for a bacterium. Because viruses are pretty much not alive. They are little mechanisms that shoot snippets or strips of genetic material into cells.
The genetic material tells cells to make more of the virus. The viruses don’t live. They don’t breathe. They don’t shit. Most of the things that living things do, viruses don’t. Bacteria are alive. There are more ways to fuck up a bacterium to kill it fucking dead.
When a bacterium is dead, I don’t think it is able to reproduce and infect. You’re too young for this. When I was a kid, when you got strep throat, you go to the doctor. The doctor would fill a syringe with penicillin and shoot this in your butt. The strep would be dead in 12 hours, the bacteria.
With viruses, since they are not alive, you can’t kill them. It is harder to make them non-infectious. The chloroquine helps block the immune response. Because the coronavirus, in the many ways in it kills you, is it makes you drown. It is partly an immune response or immune over-response.
So, there’s no miracle cure. At best, you might have a spectrum of anti-virals that, maybe, decrease the fatality rate by half. Nobody knows what the fatality rate is for coronavirus anyway because it is so new and so many different circumstances and demographics.
But it is most likely that the chloroquine or the hydroxychloroquine and some other stuff in combination will reduce the fatality rate. The idea of a miracle cure is bullshitty. It is easy to declare that it is a miracle cure if you work with a small sample set of patients.
Because the fatality rate for coronavirus is anywhere from 1% to 5%, which idiots on conservative TV have been arguing: A fatality of 2% makes it worth it to open up the country because you’re only going to lose 2% of the infected population, and you’re going to save the economy.
It is a terrible argument. Because if 10% of America gets infected, and that’s 33,000,000, then 2% dying is as many dying as our deadliest event in the Civil War, which was over a 4 year period. This was over a 6-, 8- or 10-month period.
The devastation from 2,000,000 dead would be equal to the economic devastation of keeping th country locked down. So, it’s a bad argument. But if you’re testing 10 people on some ‘miracle’ cure, the expected death rate is 2% of 10 people, which is 0.2 people.
4 times out of 5 with a 2% death rate; your ‘miracle’ cure will result in zero people dead, even if your drug doesn’t do anything. It is stupid math. It will probably turn out to be somewhat helpful like a dozen other drugs being deployed against coronavirus.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Founder, In-Sight Publishing
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