by WorldTribune Staff, April 2, 2020
President Donald Trump will be remembered as a “historic figure” for his response to the coronavirus crisis, Newt Gingrich predicted.
“He is extraordinarily energetic. He is learning at an extraordinary pace,” Gingrich told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday.
“And he’s an historic figure, and I think that by the time this is over, as he defeats the virus, pivots and relaunches the economy, people will realize how important it was that we had Donald Trump at this moment in American history,” Gingrich said.
The former House Speaker also blasted current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for saying Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that “as the president fiddles, people are dying,” calling her “despicable.”
“I think Pelosi has become despicable,” Gingrich said. “I think that her comment the other day comparing President Trump to Nero fiddling while Rome burned was just utterly, totally irresponsible, dishonest, and counter to what Americans need.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who in the past has been a staunch critic of Trump, has consistently given the president high marks for his coronvairus response.
During an interview with CNN on Wednesday, network personality Jake Tapper asked if Newsom felt pressured to compliment the Trump administration in order to receive federal assistance to combat the virus.
“Do you find yourself, by necessity, tempering what you say in terms of any issues you might have with the federal response?” Tapper asked.
“Let me just be candid with you. I’d be lying to you to say that he hasn’t been responsive to our needs. He has. And so, as a question, as a sort of an offer of objectivity, I have to acknowledge that publicly,” Newsom said.
“The fact is, every time I’ve called the president, he’s quickly gotten on the line,” Newsom said, noting several actions the Trump administration has taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in his state.
Gingrich was interviewed by phone from Rome, where he and his wife, Callista Gingrich, the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, are waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gingrich said he believed the situation in Italy may be improving.
“It looks like the Italians may actually be very close to turning the corner,” he said. “The number of new cases has been going down for the last week or so, and they’re still going, there’s still new cases, but it’s not nearly as bad as it was a few weeks ago.”
Meanwhile, a vaccine for coronavirus is likely at least 12 to 18 months away, but there is hope that hydroxychloroquine “may have life-saving therapeutic efficacy against COVID-19,” said the Mayo Clinic.
The drug, used mainly for treating malaria, has been touted by President Donald Trump as a potential “game changer.”
The corporate media has, to the surprise of no one, criticized the president for promoting hope that hydroxychloroquine could be a top weapon against the virus. USA Today even accused Trump of peddling “snake oil.”
Another critic of Trump’s optimism on chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine was Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Last week, Whitmer’s administration threatened physicians prescribing the drugs, saying they were subject to “administrative action” should they continue to use the medication.
But Whitmer, a Democrat, changed course on April 1. The Whitmer administration requested an emergency supply of the drugs.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared chloroquine and its next-generation derivative, hydroxychloroquine, for treating COVID-19.
Both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine come with a risk of sudden drug-induced cardiac arrest for those with prolonged QTc, a lengthier-than-normal interval between heartbeats as shown on an electrocardiogram [ECG], Dr. Michael J. Ackerman, a genetic cardiologist and director of Mayo Clinic’s Windland Smith Rice Sudden Death Genomics Laboratory, told The Washington Times.
“The patient’s QTc value reflects the health of the heart’s electrical recharging system,” said Dr. Ackerman. “If the QTc is prolonged, it indicates that the system is inefficient or pokey, and in that setting, if QT-prolonging medications like hydroxychloroquine are added to the mix, that can be a dangerous and even deadly combination.”
He said the good news is that the danger of such reactions is “really rare” and can be mitigated.
“About 90 percent of us would be absolutely fine being exposed to these medications,” said Dr. Ackerman. “Five to 10 percent of us would be at increased risk where I would want my physician to make some adjustments … and 1 percent of us are at significantly increased risk for this tragic side effect.”
Taking azithromycin with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, as some U.S. medical centers are now recommending to treat COVID-19, can exacerbate the situation.
Even before the FDA took action, Mayo Clinic Proceedings published an “urgent guidance” for health-care providers recommending that they identify at-risk patients and determine their “baseline QTc status,” either by using an ECG or a mobile device, such as AliveCor’s KardioMobile 6L, which recently received FDA emergency clearance, Valerie Richardson reported for the Washington Times.
Instead of being unaware or resigned to the side effects — or too “QT paranoid” to prescribe hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 — Dr. Ackerman recommended that medical professionals be aware of the issue and navigate it.
“Even if you are in that 1 percent, that doesn’t mean that sudden cardiac death is around the corner,” Dr. Ackerman said. “It just means that your risk has increased enough that there had better be a tremendous amount of respect and awareness given to this QTc issue.”
The Trump administration said it had received 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate donated by Sandoz and one million doses of chloroquine phosphate donated by Bayer Pharmaceuticals for the national stockpile of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.
Dr. Vladimir Zelenko of New York reported treating over 700 people to date, with a 100 percent success rate. Zelenko said he only treated those with symptoms in high risk groups.
“He used hydroxychloroquine (much less toxic than chloroquine), Azithromycin, and Zinc,” Richardson noted. “Zinc slows down the replication of the virus, and the hydroxychloroquine provides a pathway into the cell for the Zinc, allowing more Zinc in to dramatically slow virus replication. This provides the immune system time to win the antibody war. Azithromycin will prevent a bacterial form of pneumonia from taking hold. The goal is to prevent the patient from experiencing acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS. Once that happens, they need scarce ventilators, and there is a 50 percent mortality rate with survivors scarred for life.”
Richardson noted that “it has been pointed out that malaria countries have almost no COVID-19 deaths, which may be because hydroxychloroquine is eaten like candy in Africa and other malaria countries. Hydroxychloroquine is believed to have a prophylactic or preventative quality for COVID-19. Interestingly, those with lupus who take the drug regularly are not coming down with COVID-19 either.”