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July 29, 2020 (American Thinker) — I have been treating those infected with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Our interventions have made it abundantly clear that early treatment is critical to preventing hospitalization and death, regardless of the underlying risk factors that may be involved.

The following stories deal with real patients, only their names have been changed for obvious reasons.

Jane is 77 years old and has significant ongoing health issues. She called me shortly after testing positive for COVID-19. She had no symptoms. Since she said she felt well, she was inclined to wait and watch and simply isolate herself in her house. I convinced her that because she was at a high risk for a troublesome outcome, waiting for symptoms was a bad idea. Instead, we started her on a treatment involving hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) + zinc + Vitamin D3 + Vitamin C.

It has now been more than two weeks, and she continues to be symptom-free. We will retest her weekly until she is no longer positive.

Steve is 40 years old. He called me several days after developing COVID-19 symptoms of fever, severe dry cough, and fatigue. I immediately started him on HCQ + Z-pack + zinc. Because he had significant pulmonary symptoms, I added nebulized (inhaled) budesonide — an inexpensive older-generation asthma steroid. Within 48 hours, his fever and cough had completely resolved, and a week later, he felt back to normal.

John is 57 years old. I was called by his wife, who had found me through social media. She sounded desperate for my help. John was sitting in the emergency department of a local hospital with fever, shortness of breath, and a severe cough. She thought he had been exposed to COVID-19 over the 4th of July weekend and was now on day 11 of symptoms. John was admitted to the hospital with bilateral pneumonia and required high-flow oxygen to keep his saturation levels above 90%. The local hospital does not allow HCQ treatment but did start him on Remdesivir and dexamethasone. His condition worsened over the first couple of days of being in the hospital, but now after a week, he was very slowly improving although still requiring oxygen.

These three patients are typical of the many I have seen over the past few months suffering from COVID-19. I have not had a single patient I was able to treat early enough who required hospitalization. Interestingly, we are now seeing more studies that show the benefits of HCQ. In my opinion, HCQ should be made an over-the-counter drug just like the situation in many counties around the world. Doing so would take the politics out of the current situation in the United States whenever the use of this drug is mentioned. 

In my view, It is very safe and effective when combined with zinc and an inhaled steroid. The fact that HCQ is approved to be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding is further testimony to its impact on humans. Yet any doctor prescribing HCQ these days is demonized as a quack and bordering on unethical. I have been challenged on numerous occasions by pharmacists when I have ordered HCQ for patients. This has never happened to me before for a non-controlled, historically safe, and broadly used medication.

We need to stop politicizing the treatment of COVID-19 and allow doctors and patients to make decisions in the best interest of the individuals involved. Limiting the use of HCQ for certain COVID-19 patients is hurting them and may even be killing some. We can end this madness as soon as the appropriate FDA panel can be convened to approve hydroxychloroquine for over-the-counter purchase. 

Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D. is a primary care physician in Newport Beach, California.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.


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