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Lies, Facts, and the Future of Our Democracy

This guide collects information and recources discussed in the forum presented by Romel, Courtney, and Vicky on March 3, 2021.


A selected bibliography (chronological order)


March 2021

March 2 - A living WHO guideline on drugs to prevent covid-19 | The BMJ

February 2021

February 21 - Facebook political ad ban blocks pro-vaccine messages

January 2021

January 27 - Oklahoma hydroxychloroquine: State officials are trying to return the state's $2 million stockpile - CNN

January 19 - Capitol photos, videos lead to California doctor’s arrest | Fox News - big HCQ proponent

October 2020

“Chloroquine or Hydroxychloroquine With or Without Azithromycin”, NIH -

  • Recommendations

    • The COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel (the Panel) recommends against the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine with or without azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients (AI).

    • In nonhospitalized patients, the Panel recommends against the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine with or without azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19, except in a clinical trial (AIIa).

    • The Panel recommends against the use of high-dose chloroquine (600 mg twice daily for 10 days) for the treatment of COVID-19 (AI).


August 2020

August 4 - An Effective COVID Treatment the Media Continues to Besmirch, Real Clear Politics

  • Orgs cited in this article:

    • WashPost - not a fan

    • Neil Cavuto - not a fan (as he’s not a fan of HCQ)

  • Cites Hydroxychloroquine shows no benefit for coronavirus patients in VA study - The Washington Post

  • “Washington Post reporters Ariana Cha and Laurie McGinley were back again on May 22, with a new article shouting out the new supposed news: “Antimalarial drug touted by President Trump is linked to increased risk of death in coronavirus patients, study says.” The media uproar this time was based on a large study just published in the Lancet. There was just one problem. The Lancet paper was fraudulent and it was quickly retracted.” Lancet article later retracted (Lancet, NEJM retract controversial COVID-19 studies based on Surgisphere data – Retraction Watch - retracted by 3 out of 4 authors due to shady data)

    • But it wasn’t fraudulent, it was retracted due inability to verify “data and analyses conducted by Surgisphere Corporation and its founder and our co-author, Sapan Desai”, which Surgisphere wouldn’t give to peer reviewers on request so they withdrew from peer review which led the authors to withdraw too

    • The WHO stopped a trial of HCQ bc of the Lancet article but later started it up again after the retraction - WHO resumes coronavirus trial on hydroxychloroquine after examining safety issues (

  • RCP: “in a rush of incompetent analysis and non-existent senior leadership, the FDA revoked its Emergency Use Authorization for the drug.”

  • Cites: Treatment with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and combination in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 

    • “In this multi-hospital assessment, when controlling for COVID-19 risk factors, treatment with hydroxychloroquine alone and in combination with azithromycin was associated with reduction in COVID-19 associated mortality. Prospective trials are needed to examine this impact.”

    • RCP: “Two recent, large, early-use clinical trials have been conducted by the Henry Ford Health System and at Mount Sinai showing a 51% and 47% lower mortality, respectively, in hospitalized patients given hydroxychloroquine. “

    • Press release about the paper: “Dr. Zervos also pointed out, as does the paper, that the study results should be interpreted with some caution, should not be applied to patients treated outside of hospital settings and require further confirmation in prospective, randomized controlled trials that rigorously evaluate the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine therapy for COVID-19.”


July 2020

July 28 - Trump defends disproved COVID-19 treatment (

July 1 - FDA cautions against use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems | FDA

  • “Based on ongoing analysis and emerging scientific data, FDA has revoked the emergency use authorization (EUA) to use hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat COVID-19 in certain hospitalized patients when a clinical trial is unavailable or participation is not feasible.”


June 2020

June 2 - Use of Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine During the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Every Clinician Should Know | Annals of Internal Medicine (

  • “Data to support the use of HCQ and CQ for COVID-19 are limited and inconclusive. The drugs have some in vitro activity against several viruses, including coronaviruses and influenza, but previous randomized trials in patients with influenza have been negative (4, 5). In COVID-19, one small nonrandomized study from France (3) (discussed elsewhere in Annals of Internal Medicine [6]) demonstrated benefit but had serious methodological flaws, and a follow-up study still lacked a control group. “


May 2020

May 1 - Conservative author says email mix-up led to COVID-19 probe (

  • “He described Zelenko as an unpaid medical adviser and said he had inadvertently copied Zelinsky, the prosecutor, on an email to business associates. In the email, he wrote that Zelenko had “FDA-approved randomized” testing of the drug, according to a copy of the message he displayed in his video.
    The prosecutor responded to the email by asking Corsi if he had an attorney, and then told Corsi’s lawyer that he had checked a government website of approved clinical trials and found no mention of Zelenko.”

  • “In a heated Situation Room meeting of the White House’s coronavirus task force last month, Navarro challenged him over his concerns about recommending the drug based only on unscientific anecdotal evidence.

Navarro, who has no formal medical training, erupted at Fauci, raising his voice and claiming the reports of studies he had collected were enough to recommend the drug widely, according to a person familiar with the exchange who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the blow-up.” (emphasis added)


April 2020

April 30 - Justice Dept. scrutinizes White House-connected doctor linked to disputed coronavirus treatment - The Washington Post

April 12 - Elsevier investigating hydroxychloroquine-COVID-19 paper – Retraction Watch

April 11 - Doctors, pols urge use of 'miracle' coronavirus drug cocktail (

April 6 - ‘What do you have to lose?’: Inside Trump’s embrace of a risky drug against coronavirus (WPost)

  • “As he stares down a pandemic, economic collapse and a political crisis of his own, President Trump thinks he may have found a silver bullet: hydroxychloroquine.
    He hears about the controversial anti-malarial drug on the phone from friends in New York, including from his personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani. He hears about it in White House meetings from some advisers eager to please the boss, who share anecdotes of the drug working on covid-19 patients. And he hears about it on television, from physicians on Fox News Channel panels who tout its efficacy.”

  • “As the president has said repeatedly, “What do you have to lose?”

  • “Navarro said the disagreement “isn’t a real debate. It’s Kabuki theater for political junkies.” Earlier, however, Navarro sounded provocative during an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” a morning show Trump often watches.
    “I think history will judge who’s right on this debate, but I’d bet on President Trump’s intuition on this one,” he said.”

  • “Because hydroxychloroquine hasn’t been studied in valid large-scale research, doctors can’t know the appropriate dose for any covid-19 patient. Also, the disease is causing a heart infection, myocarditis, in some of the most seriously ill patients.”

  • “It’s the only thing anyone has held out as offering an immediate reprieve from what’s become his greatest challenge — and political threat,” said a former senior administration official. This official described the president’s “overwhelming desire for a silver bullet to make it all go away.”

  • “Peter Lurie, a top FDA official in the Obama administration who is now president of Center for Science in the Public Interest, said he was concerned that Trump’s campaign for hydroxychloroquine undercuts the FDA’s fundamental philosophy on approving drugs.
    “When the president says, ‘What have you got to lose?’ that is profoundly different than what the science-based agencies have been trying to communicate to the public for decades,” Lurie said.

April 6 - Over three days this week, Fox News promoted an antimalarial drug treatment for coronavirus over 100 times | Media Matters for America

  • “The network’s personalities and guests promoted the use of the drugs over 100 times from March 23 through 25, creating a dangerous false impression of a working treatment for the deadly disease. By contrast, Fox hardly discussed the lack of evidence for the medications’ efficacy in treating COVID-19.”

April 2 - Touting Virus Cure, ‘Simple Country Doctor’ Becomes a Right-Wing Star - The New York Times (

  • “Dr. Zelenko said he understood the need for clinical trials but added that ignoring a hopeful possibility was also risky.
    “I’m a strong supporter of clinical trials,” he said. “But they take time, and that’s one thing we don’t have. The virus is here, it’s World War III, and not everyone has fully comprehended that yet.”

April 2 - Hydroxychloroquine 'most effective' coronavirus treatment: poll (

April 1 - Malaria Drug Helps Coronavirus Patients Improve, in Small Study - The New York Times (


March 2020

March 30 - Has Dr. Zelenko Successfully Treated 669 Coronavirus Patients? (

  • Rating: unproven (following Giuliani tweet)

March 29 - Twitter Deletes Rudy Giuliani Tweet With Fake COVID-19 Drug Information | HuffPost

March 24 - Arizona man dies after attempting to take Trump coronavirus 'cure' | World news | The Guardian 

  • “A Phoenix-area man has died and his wife was in critical condition after the couple took chloroquine phosphate, an additive used to clean fish tanks that is also found in an anti-malaria medication touted by Donald Trump as a treatment for Covid-19.”

  • ““Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure,” the woman told NBC.
    She said her advice would be: “Don’t take anything. Don’t believe anything. Don’t believe anything that the president says and his people … call your doctor.”

  • “The difference between the fish tank cleaning additive the couple took and the drug used to treat malaria is the way they are formulated.”

March 24 - Coronavirus hydroxychloroquine treatment by Jewish doc – The Forward

  • “Zelenko said that he felt that hydroxychloroquine was not being taken seriously as a treatment due a combination of factors, including conservativeness on the part of the government’s medical establishment in requiring a controlled clinical trial, as well as the fact that Trump himself has been pushing for the use of the drug.
    “And this is a political year, with a presidential election, and there are forces at play that would prefer to see the economy collapse rather than President Trump to look good, in my opinion,” Zelenko said.”

March 24 - Pence: FDA approving 'off-label' use for hydroxychloroquine to help coronavirus patients | Fox News

  • “Dr. Oz noted that “the FDA appropriately desires randomized critical trials for proof to guide the medical community,” but asked the vice president how the clinical trials can be accelerated “while also satisfying the demand from physicians, front-line doctors, who want to use these pills for their patients and themselves?”
    In response, Pence said, “The good news is, the chloroquine medication, we actually deployed in the state of New York resources to be able to be administered to the people.”

March 23 - A Report on Successful Treatment of Coronavirus - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Globalization ( - Zelenko email to Trump, now archived

  • “My out-patient treatment regimen is as follows:

    • 1. Hydroxychloroquine 200mg twice a day for 5 days

    • 2. Azithromycin 500mg once a day for 5 days

    • 3. Zinc sulfate 220mg once a day for 5 days”

  • “Since last Thursday, my team has treated approximately 350 patients in Kiryas Joel and another 150 patients in other areas of New York with the above regimen.

  • Of this group and the information provided to me by affiliated medical teams, we have had ZERO deaths, ZERO hospitalizations, and ZERO intubations. In addition, I have not heard of any negative side effects other than approximately 10% of patients with temporary nausea and diarrhea.”

March 21 - Trump touts 'game changing' drug cocktail to fight COVID-19 (

  • “HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains – Thank You!,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning. “Hopefully they will BOTH … be put in use IMMEDIATELY. PEOPLE ARE DYING, MOVE FAST, and GOD BLESS EVERYONE!”

March 17 - Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19 – IHU (


February 2020

February 29 - A pilot study of hydroxychloroquine in treatment of patients with moderate COVID-19 (

  • “Conclusions: The prognosis of COVID-19 moderate patients is good. Larger sample size study are needed to investigate the effects of HCQ in the treatment of COVID-19. Subsequent research should determine better endpoint and fully consider the feasibility of experiments such as sample size.”



August 12 2020 - 'Hundreds dead' because of Covid-19 misinformation - BBC News

  • “Rumors, stigma, and conspiracy theories have the potential to decrease community trust in governments and international health agencies. Rumors can mask themselves as credible infection prevention and control strategies and have potentially serious implications if prioritized over evidence-based guidelines. For example, a popular myth that consumption of highly concentrated alcohol could disinfect the body and kill the virus was circulating in different parts of the world.33 Following this misinformation, approximately 800 people have died, whereas 5,876 have been hospitalized and 60 have developed complete blindness after drinking methanol as a cure of coronavirus. Similar rumors have been the reported cause of 30 deaths in Turkey. Likewise, in Qatar, two healthy South Asian men ingested either surface disinfectant or alcohol-based hand sanitizer after exposures to COVID-19 patients. In India, 12 people, including five children, became sick after drinking liquor made from toxic seed Datura (ummetta plant in local parlance) as a cure to coronavirus disease.40 The victims reportedly watched a video on social media that Datura seeds give immunity against COVID-19.”

  • “We recommend governments and international health agencies continue publishing correct and context-appropriate information supported by scientific evidence about COVID-19 on their websites. The national and international agencies, including the fact-checking agencies, should not only identify rumors and conspiracies theories and debunk them but should also engage social media companies to spread correct information.”

  • Full citation: Islam, M. S., Sarkar, T., Khan, S. H., Mostofa Kamal, A., Hasan, S. M. M., Kabir, A., Yeasmin, D., Islam, M. A., Amin Chowdhury, K. I., Anwar, K. S., Chughtai, A. A., & Seale, H. (2020). COVID-19–Related Infodemic and Its Impact on Public Health: A Global Social Media Analysis, The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 103(4), 1621-1629. Retrieved Mar 3, 2021, from


A list of citations collected over the past year