My take on the Dr. Simone Gold video
I don’t normally watch hour-long YouTube videos on Covid-19, but this one was sent by more than a dozen FB friends. It badly needs fact-checking.
Most every day, Natalie and I hear about someone we know who has died or who is struggling. My sister (survived), my son’s in-laws (both dead), my ex wife’s mother in law (dead), four hale and healthy friends in their 40’s – still struggling. This is a mysterious disease, and between Natalie (a double board-certified MD) and myself, we are in this 10 hours a day, counseling and educating. We’re batting 1000 keeping people out of the hospital and we revise our Four Stages of Infection protocol as more information becomes available. But videos like this infuriate me, and here’s why. It’s about trust. Speakers who are not citing references or any third-party validation should be treated with skepticism and some fact-checking. Dr. Gold is an ER doc. She claims that in chart notes she would sometimes diagnose a common cold as “coronavirus.” This comment is intended to make you think that Covid-19 is no big deal, right? But wait a minute. Diagnosing an illness as a coronavirus without confirmed testing is malpractice. Coronavirus is not a basket diagnosis. If you’re wrong, and it’s pneumococcus, aspergillosis or influenza, your patient will suffer needlessly because the treatments are vastly different.
When you’re watching a video where the speaker is citing survival numbers supposedly from the CDC, implying that Covid-19 is nothing to worry about, know this: these numbers are invented. The exact mortality rate of COVID-19 in the United States is not known. Outcomes depend on many factors, from the level of strain on the health care system to an infected person’s health history and age. Generally, the number accepted by health experts is a 1% mortality rate. To some, that may sound trivial, but a 1% mortality rate means that it’s 10-times more lethal than the seasonal flu. A 1% mortality rate means between 700,000 and 1.5 million dead before this is over – roughly the population of Washington, D.C., on the low end or the entire population of Hawaii on the high end.
Next: Dr. Gold’s statements about Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) are dangerous and bizarre. Not quite as bizarre as her colleague from the same Frontline Doctors organization, Dr. Emanual, who famously talked about alien DNA and the physical effects of having sex with witches and demons in your dreams. But Simone Gold comes close. Her statements re HQC: “Doctors would just give it out like candy.” “people keep it in their pocket like we might keep a Tylenol in our purse.” “It’s absolutely ordinary stuff.” “We give it to babies, we give it to children. We give it to pregnant women. We give it to the elderly and the immune compromised.”
No responsible health educator would make these blanket statements without acknowledging that there is an abundance of contrary evidence. Hydroxychloroquine can stress the liver enough to produce acute hepatotoxicity.
REF: Case Reports Lupus. 2015 May;24(6):638-40.
Hydroxychloroquine-induced toxic hepatitis in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus. S M Abdel Galil.
And pregnant women?
Here’s the summary statement from the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
In this cohort study including 2045 HCQ-exposed pregnancies and 3,198,589 pregnancies not exposed to HCQ, a 26% increase in the risk of major congenital malformations among HCQ-exposed patients was observed.
REF: Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2020 Sep 19. Hydroxychloroquine early in pregnancy and risk of birth defects. Krista F. Huybrechts, et al.
This presentation is in front of adoring fans and over a million non-skeptical people have shared it with their friends. That is not how science works. Dr Gold trashes a study in the Lancet and correctly states that it was retracted. She uses the word “fraud” multiple times, as if the authors were purposefully deceptive. In fact, the study was retracted because a research company that was used refused to disclose their entire data set. That’s careless, but it isn’t fraud. Then Dr. Gold claims that the retraction was hidden, when in fact, it was widely reported and is prominently stated in all references to the study.
REF: The Lancet. May 22, 2020. Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis. Mandeep R Mehra, MD, et al.
Lancet study aside, there have been dozens of HQC studies conducted worldwide, and a vigorous effort to arrive at consensus regarding safety and efficacy, but Dr. Gold ignores this because creating a massive conspiracy plays well to her audience. Looking at the evidence (and not one doctor’s opinion) the most you can say about HCQ is that it’s a mixed bag.
“The efficacy and safety of CQ/HCQ for the treatment of COVID-19 remains to be defined. Indiscriminate promotion and widespread use of CQ/HCQ have led to extensive shortages, self-treatment, and fatal overdoses.”
REF: Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Jun;102(6):1184-1188.
Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine for the Prevention or Treatment of COVID-19 in Africa: Caution for Inappropriate Off-label Use in Healthcare Settings. Pascale M Abena, et al.
“Given the fact that for decades HCQ has been approved as an immunomodulatory drug for the long term treatment of chronic rheumatic diseases, as experienced rheumatologists, we would like to share our thoughts in this regard and trigger a brainstorm among clinical care providers for exchanging their diverse opinions on this urgent topic.”
REF: Emerg Microbes Infect. 2020 Dec;9(1):830-832.
Rheumotologitsts’ view on the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. Xiaoxuan Sun, et al.
“Despite both CQ and HCQ in vitro antiviral evidence, clinically, both drugs, either alone or combined with other medications, may increase the risk of cardiac arrhythmias, leading to cardiac arrest and sudden death. Besides, a lot of uncertainty still remains, such as starting administration period, dose prescribed, length of treatment, patients’ condition, concomitant drug use, among others.
Conclusion: From the studies reviewed, it is not possible to state the precise efficacy and safety of CQ and HCQ use in the treatment of COVID-19 at any time in the course of the disease. Future studies are warranted.”
REF: Pain Physician. 2020 Aug;23(4S):S351-S366.
COVID-19 Pandemic – A Narrative Review of the Potential Roles of Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine. Carlos M de Barros, et al.
“Conclusion: Although pre-clinical results are promising, to date there is a dearth of evidence to support the efficacy of CQ or HCQ in preventing COVID-19. Considering potential safety issues and the likelihood of imparting a false sense of security, prophylaxis with CQ or HCQ against COVID-19 needs to be thoroughly evaluated in observational studies or high-quality randomized controlled studies.”
REF: Int J Rheum Dis. 2020 May;23(5):613-619. A systematic review of the prophylactic role of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). Sanket Shah, et al.
It gets worse. The vaccine issue.
Dr. Gold repeats a common myth that the vaccine manufacturers (Pfizer and Moderna) did not conduct animal trials.
FACT: Due to the urgent need for a vaccine in a surging pandemic, Pfizer and Moderna were given approval to simultaneously test their vaccines on animals while they were conducting initial Phase 1 trials on humans. The vaccines were tested on mice and macaques. After animal and Phase 1 trials demonstrated safety and efficacy, Phase two trials were conducted with more than 70,000 people.
Then she brings up a problem that was encountered with previous coronavirus vaccine development in 2004. “Pathogenic priming” was observed in some of the animals, where the vaccine caused an over-reaction when the animal was later exposed to the virus. Dr. Gold actually states that this is a known risk with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine.
FACT: Pathogenic priming is rare AND only occurs when a vaccine contains biological antigens (a live or dead virus). The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines do NOT contain biological material. They contain the RNA instructions that the body uses to create the antigen, which in turn stimulates antibody production against the virus. I think it is generous to assume that she is simply unaware of this key difference, but it could be that she is aware of the difference and uses the issue as a scare tactic.
And finally, Dr, Gold’s closing remarks on the prevalence of Covid-19 in people of color was – I’m being generous when I say – tone deaf. She asserts that the observed increased risk for hospitalization and death in these communities has nothing to do with racism. Her rationale for that bizarre statement is that in the UK, there is a higher incidence of severe disease among Asian and Middle Eastern ethnic groups. Ta-da! See? No racism factor because it’s more related to people receiving sub-adequate health care, being malnourished, being diabetic and living in areas with poor air quality.
Hopefully, you see the problem with this perspective. Ask yourself WHY so many of our black and brown brothers and sisters are malnourished, receive sub-adequate health care, and have high rates of diabetes and respiratory issues related to living in areas with poor air quality. Answer: I would say it has a LOT to do with 370 years of systemic racism. But that’s just me.
Bottom line: If you’ve been reading my blogs, newsletters and updates, you know that Natalie and I have advised caution regarding these vaccines. We strongly disagree with the popular concept that vaccinating 70% of the American population is necessary, in order to produce herd immunity. Vaccines rarely do that. Polio and smallpox, maybe, but this is a coronavirus and the vaccines are only necessary to protect the vulnerable.
We have based our careers on helping people understand how their body works and how to make it work better and last longer. More than 12,000 people have downloaded our Four Stages of Infection guidelines at https://my2048.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/4-Stages-of-Infection-1.pdf.
About 5,000 people signed up for our newsletter and we’re still answering hundreds of questions every day about Ivermectin – our drug of choice. For the latest newsletter and the Ivermectin update, go here:
And finally, I encourage everyone to read and talk with a wide range of experts. To get a perspective on the systematic way that vaccines are designed and tested, go here:
And whatever you decide regarding vaccines and therapies, remember that we have been co-evolving with pathogens since the beginning of time, in a cat and mouse drama that, more than a few times, nearly wiped out our species. We’re still here NOT because of modern medicine (barely a century old) but because of the incredible resilience of the human immune system.