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Didier Raoult in the NYT: The “brave maverick” narrative and bypassing science-based medicine

Didier Raoult is back, with a huge profile in the New York Times. Unfortunately, much is left out out of the profile of this “brave maverick,” even as evidence mounts against hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for COVID-19.

As hard as it is to believe, it’s been a month since I’ve written about Didier Raoult and his promotion of the combination of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine with azithromycin as a near-miraculous treatment for COVID-19, fueling its rise as the preferred go-to cure that “they” don’t want you to know about among COVID-19 conspiracy theorists and the right wing media based on various Silicon Valley tech bros picking up on his execrable study and singularly uninformative first study, leading President Trump to tout it as a “game changer.” Raoult’s followup studies since then have been no better, including a case series with no control, which he later expanded. The weakness of the science didn’t stop the FDA from issuing an emergency use authorization (EUA) for hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 based on the thinnest of evidence. So, at the end, what we had was an EUA for a drug that had shown almost zero evidence of working, other than studies by a French “brave maverick scientist” and anecdotes, even though the drug could produce substantial cardiac, liver, and retinal toxicity. This was truly a cautionary tale about the dangers of bypassing science- and evidence-based medicine, even during a pandemic, something the FDA also did with remdesivir, issuing an EUA based on a highly questionable study that hadn’t even been published yet (and, two weeks later, still hasn’t).

Didier Raoult back in the news in the US

Interestingly, with the drip-drip-drip of unpromising and negative studies, we’ve been hearing less about hydroxychloroquine over the last few weeks. That’s why earlier this week I was surprised to see a big story about Raoult in the New York Times by Scott Sayare, He Was a Science Star. Then He Promoted a Questionable Cure for Covid-19. I groaned at the headline, complete with an oh-so-artsy photo of Didier Raoult side-lit, the better for the shadows to make him look so very, very serious, and the blurb under the headline:

The man behind Trump’s favorite unproven treatment has made a great career assailing orthodoxy. His claim of a 100 percent cure rate shocked scientists around the world.

I groaned, because this sure looked as though it was going to be a “portrait of a controversial figure” that newspapers love so much. I predicted that, as is so often the case, the controversy will be explored, but many of the warts would be glossed over. Before I discuss that, I will give credit where credit is due. I will give Sayare credit for one bit of irony in the very first paragraph:

When diagnosing the ills afflicting modern science, an entertainment that, along with the disparagement of his critics and fellow researchers, he counts among his great delights, the eminent French microbiologist Didier Raoult will lightly stroke his beard, lean back in his seat and, with a thin but unmistakable smile, declare the poor patient to be stricken with pride. Raoult, who has achieved international fame since his proposed treatment for Covid-19 was touted as a miracle cure by President Trump, believes that his colleagues fail to see that their ideas are the products of mere intellectual fashions — that they are hypnotized by methodology into believing that they understand what they do not and that they lack the discipline of mind that would permit them to comprehend their error. “Hubris,” Raoult told me recently, at his institute in Marseille, “is the most common thing in the world.” It is a particularly dangerous malady in doctors like him, whose opinions are freighted with the responsibility of life and death. “Someone who doesn’t know is less stupid than someone who wrongly thinks he does,” he said. “Because it is a terrible thing to be wrong.”

That is a case of projection so massive that it could be used to show IMAX movies.

What’s left unsaid

If only Sayare had followed through and made this truly a portrait of hubris. Of course, to do that, it would have been helpful not to leave so much out. For example, remember all the findings of bullying, sexual harassment, and intimidation of underlings? Here’s all Sayare had to say about it in a 7,700 word profile of Raoult, and then this paragraph appeared over a third of the way into such a huge article:

With few exceptions, the department heads at the IHU have worked under Raoult for their entire careers, some for more than 30 years. It is an “ancestral system,” “familial” and “clanlike,” said Michel Drancourt, a clinician who is Raoult’s longest-serving collaborator. Raoult is, without question, the patriarch, and he is in some respects reputed to be benevolent. The IHU spends a great deal of money on scholarships and research grants for students from the developing world, for instance, and Raoult is known to be accessible to young researchers in a way that distinguishes him from other high-powered scientists. He is also known for berating his subordinates. While visiting the IHU, I watched a young researcher emerge from Raoult’s office in tears and rush into the arms of her friends, who were evidently accustomed to this. “When he’s not happy about something, he’ll let you know,” one of them told me. A 2017 employee letter of complaint, which was followed by an investigation of the IHU, described the “screaming,” “insults” and “psychological bullying” of a “leadership of another era.” Along the entryway to Raoult’s institute, there’s a line from Horace: Exegi monumentum aere perennius, “I have crafted a monument more lasting than bronze.”

You’ll excuse me if I didn’t take that as bordering on, if not outright, excusing his bullying behavior as a holdover from another generation. It’s also more than that. It’s been widely reported that Raoult revels in publicly humiliating subordinates by dressing them down at meetings. But, hey, he’s accessible to students; so that partially excuses his tendency to reduce them (especially women) to tears with his verbal tirades when they displease him. (That seems to be the implication.) But, hey, he’s crafting a monument more lasting than bronze! So there’s that! What are the feelings of his subordinates compared to that? Maybe Sayare didn’t mean it that way, but it sure came across like that to me (and others).

For example:

This culture in Raoult’s lab had (and continues to have) consequences, too.

Then there was this:

In 2017, Raoult’s leadership was challenged by a sexual harassment and assault scandal at his URMITE institute, an affair with at least six victims which the director himself described as “a love story gone wrong“. The perpetrator was eventually sacked, but Raoult did not handle the case exemplary, quite the opposite. This article in MarsActu narrates that Raoult tried to hush up the affair for two years while even trying to have the victim sacked…

This article (in French, but Google Translate works pretty well for French if you don’t read French, by and large) summarizes the issues and the findings of three different reports that paint a very damning picture of Raoult’s labs. These reports predate the pandemic by as much as three years; so none of the problems in Raoult’s Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée Infection, or IHU. First, let’s look at how these reports were described in Sayare’s article:

This apparent sloppiness was unsurprising to many of those who have tracked Raoult’s work in the past. A prominent French microbiologist told me that, in terms of publication, Raoult’s reputation among scientists has been “long gone” for some time. “In private,” the researcher wrote to me, “everybody agrees on the low reliability/reproducibility of most of the papers coming out of his lab.” (He asked to speak anonymously so as not to anger Raoult, whom he knows.) In 2018, after damning evaluations, Raoult’s principal laboratory groups were stripped of their association with two of France’s top public research institutions. Raoult was found to have produced an extraordinary number of publications but few of great quality. “It’s very easy to publish [expletive] when you know how publishing works,” said Karine Lacombe, a professor of medicine in Paris who has recently been among Raoult’s more outspoken critics.

I find it very telling that the person making the criticism above wouldn’t go on the record by name because he’s so intimidated by Raoult. This is a recurring theme again and again in Raoult’s story. For example:

Out of seven written testimonies received, two admit and regret the deliberately biased results of their studies. One engineer thus reports “a falsification of results at the request of a researcher” and another “questions scientific rigor when certain results are obtained”.

Mediapart found other witnesses of such drifts: several engineers or researchers told us of similar facts. Like Mathieu, who prepared his doctoral thesis with Professor Didier Raoult. The problem, according to him, is that “he does not admit discussion”: “We work in reverse. He has an idea and we are working to prove that he is right. With fear of contradicting it, this can lead to biased results. However, it is doubt and discussion that allow science to move forward.”

He remembers the first meeting in the presence of the professor. “It was a Wednesday afternoon, during a“ work in progress ”. This is the time when PhD students present the state of their research. We had five minutes to present sometimes three to four months of work. It’s very short. At the slightest disagreement, Didier Raoult said: “You are not there to think, I am the one who thinks.””

Nowhere in the entire 7,700 word portrait is any mention are the examples of data fabrication by scientists in Raoult’s group. It’s not as though this isn’t public knowledge. After all, in 2006, a reviewre for Infection and Immunity, a journal published by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) discovered four figures in a revised manuscript were identical to four figures in the original manuscript? So what? The problem is that they were represented as showing a different experiment. One of Raoult’s co-authors was thrown under the bus, claiming an “innocent mistake.” The result:

ASM banned all five authors, including Raoult, from publishing in its journals for a year. “We are not entirely comfortable with the explanation provided,” ASM officials wrote to Mège. “Misrepresentation of data … is an affront to the ethical conduct of scientific inquiry.”

On the plus side, I’ll give Sayare credit for explaining just why Raoult’s first paper was so bad, a description as good as any I’ve seen in a mainstream media outlet. His well-known tendency to value conflict and contrarianism above all else was also well-described. By the end, though, I couldn’t help but get the feeling of a portrait of a brilliant but flawed scientist, rather than the portrait of the crank that Raoult has become.

The drip-drip-drip continues

I thought I’d finish up this post by briefly reviewing some of the data that have come in since the last time I discussed hydroxychloroquine. It’s basically all been negative, except, of course, Raoult’s study published, Early treatment of COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin: A retrospective analysis of 1061 cases in Marseille, France, a week ago in the same journal whose editor is one of his cronies. This appears to be the study that I mentioned a while back that, at the time, consisted only of data tables published in the IHU website. Does the full manuscript actually illuminate anything? I think you know the answer to that. My discussion of the abstract applies to the full manuscript. One change I noted is that the mortality rate in the abstract was 0.5% but has now risen to 0.75% due to more deaths between the posting of the abstract and publication in the journal. Again, there’s no way of knowing if this mortality rate is any different than it would have been if the patients had not been treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. Tellingly, even Raoult has changed his conclusion from characterizing the combination as “safe and efficient” to just “safe” and “associated with low mortality.”

Meanwhile, on Monday JAMA published a large cohort study examining 1,438 patients in New York treated with hydroxychloroquine ± azithromycin. Basically, it was a retrospective multicenter cohort study of patients taken from a random sample of all admitted patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in 25 area hospitals. The authors compared cohorts who received both hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, hydroxychloroquine alone, azithromycin alone, or neither, with the date of final followup being April 20. The primary outcome was in-hospital mortality, with additional secondary outcomes of cardiac arrest and abnormal electrocardiographic (ECG) findings (defined as arrhythmia or prolonged QT fraction). The authors found no significant differences in the groups in the primary outcome, in-hospital mortality. They also found:

A greater proportion of patients receiving hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin experienced cardiac arrest (15.5%) and abnormal ECG findings (27.1%), as did those in the hydroxychloroquine alone group (13.7% and 27.3, respectively), compared with azithromycin alone (6.2% and 16.1%, respectively) and neither drug (6.8% and 14.0%, respectively). In adjusted models with those receiving neither drug as comparison, cardiac arrest was more likely in patients receiving hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin (adjusted OR, 2.13 [95% CI, 1.12-4.05]; E-value = 1.31), but not hydroxychloroquine alone (adjusted OR, 1.91 [95% CI, 0.96-3.81]) and azithromycin alone (adjusted OR, 0.64 [95% CI, 0.27-1.56]), and also in patients taking hydroxychloroquine alone vs azithromycin alone (adjusted OR, 2.97 [95% CI, 1.56-5.64]; E-value = 1.81).

Obviously, this is a retrospective study, with all the weaknesses inherent in observational studies. It’s not a randomized, double blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. However, the authors did do a thorough job of controlling for confounders, and they had a relatively large sample size. Not seeing a hint of a benefit in terms of mortality strongly suggests that either Raoult’s combination doesn’t work or its effects are so modest as to be detectable only in a large randomized clinical trial. (Personally, I think it almost certainly doesn’t work.)

Finally, yesterday BMJ published two hydroxychloroquine studies. One is an observational study of 181 COVID-19 patients with pneumonia in four French hospitals who required oxygen but not intensive care comparing hydroxychloroquine at 600 mg/day within 48 hours of admission with standard of care. The primary outcome was survival without transfer to an intensive care unit at day 21. Secondary outcomes were overall survival, survival without acute respiratory distress syndrome, weaning from oxygen, and discharge from hospital to home or rehabilitation (all at day 21). The 84 patients receiving hydroxychloroquine were compared to 89 patients who did not, and the authors reported that the survival rate without transfer to the intensive care unit at day 21 was 76% in the treatment group and 75% in the control group (weighted hazard ratio 0.9, 95% confidence interval 0.4 to 2.1). As for the other outcomes, there was no difference in survival at day 21, survival without ARDS at day 21, or weaning from oxygen, but eight patients in the treatment group experienced ECG abnormalities requiring stopping the medication. Yes, again this is an observational study with all the attendant weaknesses of such studies, but again it finds no evidence of a benefit for hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19.

The last study is a Chinese randomized, open-label study of hydroxychloroquine versus standard of care in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. The primary outcome measure was negative conversion of the virus (eradication) by 28 days. There was no difference in the negative conversion of SARS-CoV-2 at 28 days in the hydroxychloroquine group. True, this was a relatively small study (150 patients) and was open-label, but testing negative for the virus is a “hard” outcome; so the open label design bothers me less than it would for more subjective outcomes. Also, unfortunately, clinical outcomes, other than adverse events, weren’t reported.

So, basically, the evidence for hydroxychloroquine is basically all negative, except for studies from Didier Raoult’s group (and those are singularly uninformative) and a small study long ago. This leads me to ask: Why did the NIH just announce a large randomized clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine:

Given the existing state of the evidence, I would argue that the pretest probability of a positive study is very low. Existing preliminary evidence for hydroxychloroquine, were this any other drug and were we not in a pandemic, would very likely not justify a large randomized clinical trial. Unsurprisingly, Didier Raoult is ecsstatic:

And so it goes. Yet:

187 studies registered on ClinicalTrials.gov? This is madness, particularly for a drug that’s shown so little promise in preliminary studies. That is Didier Raoult’s legacy, shunting research on effective treatments for COVID-19 down what is almost certainly a blind alley that is wasting (and will continue to waste for the foreseeable future) resources before scientists can finally move on to something else.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

62 replies on “Didier Raoult in the NYT: The “brave maverick” narrative and bypassing science-based medicine”

orac…sorry mate thinking its got out of control now….takes 2 joints to get thru it all..hhmmm just saying ..cheers from oz happy bob ..8

bob, don’t abandon the vicks. Fats dissolve fats, do they not? Wouldn’t the virus’ liped encapsulation just kinda mix in and become no longer a viable structure? I can’t see a negative to having a little wiped with a cotton ball around and just inside the nostrils. Of course, just don’t inhale a glob into your lungs.

I hear New Zealand has it pretty much under control. Must have done something right if it was just to keep the brits from testing nukes there again. L8r, m8.

Ah, more Didier Raoult’s pontifications, the perfect ending of a sh!tty week
(we French are getting out of lockdown, in some places anyway, and issues which have been simmering for two months are making themselves front and center)

Anyway, what to add? That NYT under-headline grabbed my attention (but not in a good way):

His claim of a 100 percent cure rate shocked scientists around the world.

I’m torn between hoping the journalists did it sarcastically or despairing that they meant it.
That’s a sentence typically found in those clicbait google ads for snake oil products and other cheap gadgets. You know, the ones where a smiling grandma is wrapping her head in saran.

Yeah, sadly.

“Some experts say” that injecting a disinfectant could be dangerous.
I’m gonna remember that one article.

”takes 2 joints to get thru it all”

This explains much of Walton’s incoherence. And those joints must be real bombers. Stop, Bob, while the damage might be reversible!

187 hydroxychloroquine studies is truly nuts. Maybe they could repurpose some of them to investigate whether HCQ cures autism (with and without MMS).

mr bacon & eggs …me thinks its too late… & me ok but helps me get thru all the expert info one gets on orac ..hhmmmm…see ya …happy bob from oz cheers .8

I’m beginning to know what Orac’s next post will be about! I read this with much eyerolling, mostly because of Sayre’s vagueness and failure to actually be critical, all the while thinking he is being every so “balanced” and “fair” and somehow enlightening the reader about how science works! Hubris indeed.

It does seem like a waste to conduct a 2000 subject RCT when it is very clear that the “100%” cure (as was claimed by le docteur Raoult) or anything close to it is not possible. On the bright side, Lysol hasn’t had to remind the President that folks shouldn’t imbibe their product for 2 weeks now.

Interestingly, Teva, the Israeli generic drug manufacturer contacted the White House to dangle potentially more hydroxychloroquine supply just as they withdrew from settlement talks with the Justice Department recently (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/15/us/politics/teva-antitrust-hydroxychloroquine-settlement.html?searchResultPosition=1). IANAL, though it makes sense to me that Teva may leveraging the administration’s fervent hope that HCQ is highly effective in order to avoid punishment for previously engaging in price fixing some of its generic drugs. With only two weeks before the statute of limitations runs out it may be a brilliant HCQ gambit by Teva…

In many ways, he is what we French expect a méridional to be.
Boisterous, self-assured to the point of obliviousness, a bit prone to exaggeration and telling tall tales.
And maybe just a tad sexist.

Now that I have said it, I realize it’s part of the success of his ‘maverick’ persona. He is fitting this image in our brain of the rebel. If we define ‘rebel’ as ‘non-Parisian’.

In many ways, he is what we French expect a méridional to be. […] He is fitting this image in our brain of the rebel. If we define ‘rebel’ as ‘non-Parisian’.

Paris oder Marseille? I’d drown both of them… like kittens back in the good ol’ days.

Fluctuat atque mergitur.

The CFR isn’t 0.5%, not 0.75%, now it is 0.9% as you can read from the manuscript.
“Author’s Note: Since this analysis was completed, and as of the 29th of April, 2020, two more patients in the PClinO group died resulting in an overall 0.9% case fatality rate (CFR) for these 1061 patients”

<

blockquote>What about that ??</blockquote

Please go read the conclusion and come back with the last line.

Yea, It just kind of breezes over the parts where they threw several subjects outta windows before they had time to die of the covid.

And thus it concluded:

In patients admitted to hospital with covid-19 pneumonia who require oxygen, hydroxychloroquine treatment seemed to have no effect on reducing admissions to intensive care or deaths at day 21 after hospital admission. Additionally, hydroxychloroquine treatment did not have any effect on survival without acute respiratory distress syndrome at day 21 after hospital admission. These results do not support the use of hydroxychloroquine in these patients.

Perhaps you folks should read more than the headline.

The problem, according to him, is that “he does not admit discussion”: “We work in reverse. He has an idea and we are working to prove that he is right. With fear of contradicting it, this can lead to biased results.

I go to look for the perfect clip illustrating this type person and his relationship with subordinates but it is not there. There are mostly only ‘break down’ and ‘review’ and ‘explained’ and Fx channel/Hulu yap yap. So, I will leave the wikipedia description of the scene and also a nice poem from the same episode.

Devs s01e04

Lyndon develops a new algorithm based on the many-worlds interpretation—rather than the deterministic De Broglie–Bohm theory favored by Forest—that enables clear sound to be heard on the Devs projections. Forest rejects Lyndon’s work… Forest fires Lyndon but offers a $10 million pay-off provided he keeps Devs’ work secret.

Katie applies Lyndon’s algorithm to light waves, resulting in clear color images, and calls up a projection of Forest’s daughter Amaya, causing him to weep.

A person who tells students what results to get is not “accessible” to students. What, is he willing to exchange bawdy jokes with them? What kind of accessibility are we talking about?

Because of Covid, there is less door-to-door surveillance in areas where polio might re-emerge ( WaPo, today) such as Pakistan and Afghanistan whilst they watch Niger and Chad – only 155 cases but it’s POLIO! Trump has threatened cutting funds for WHO: as usual he doesn’t choose wisely.

-btw- I looked at regional graphs that showed that the US’s NE is seeing a drop in Covid, the West coast is stable ( with lower overall numbers) and the rest is- OMFG! – worsening. Could this show a pattern of political choice determining disease spread?

BLOG note:
I don’t know if anyone else is experiencing this but the new set-up sometimes doesn’t like to load AT ALL from recent comments especially on highly trafficked posts like the Plandemic one.. It may be my ancient computer- I didn’t try it on other devices .

It would seem to be that somewhere along the line that Orac or his hosting provider has a misconfigured cache setting somewhere (my bet is the hosting provider*) and that it is messing with CloudFlare’s scheme.

If one were brave enough (I am not), then they might dare run the guantlet of that is a stupid question! alley over at Stack Overflow and have it suggested to them to (a) turn off respecting header cache directives and then (b) set a TimeTo Live to something like 300 or even 120** using the CF control panel. But somewhere downstream (i think) is either not getting the memo or not respecting it.

Hosting providers sometimes run undisclosed caching schemes on their backend. Also, said provider may not always be as advertised and may, in fact, be a $3 a month seed box in a closet in the back of a brothel in Romania.

As such, any inquiry as to their settings and possibly changing them may get garbled in Google Translate to something like “you sister backside pull not fast to” so that the guy just gets mad at Orac and hangs up.

** Sure, those low values are silly for ‘the post’, but ‘the post’ and ‘the comments’ seem to be the same url or page.

Have you tried turning it on and then back off again?

No, I am not being fecitious (this time). CF is heavily automated — it is possible that flipping that switch glitched something on their end and it never got noticed and fixed. I would make sure your origin caches are cleared, purge CF, turn DDoS protect back on let it sit for awhile (possibly up to 4 hours because I keep seeing the value 1440 seconds) so that people can see the stupid and violating fingerprinting your browser page, purge your cache, purge CFs, flip it back off.

Perhaps that will dislodge something on their end.

CloudFlare is very often used by men of culture who value personal anonymity such as scihub or other various outlets of music, films, and liturature — I don’t think I’m seeing your cache settings in the header, but CF’s. And they are wonky.

Non-expert 2c:

Provided it’s a smolder through the general population rather than a deflagration through a nursing home, they’re doing it right. It’s far too late to stop this, the time for that was December in Wuhan. Once you have some critical mass of a cold/flu-like disease it’s a fact of nature, and can only be slowed, not stopped.
Destroying the processes of daily life (the original meaning of Economia, economy) to halt a virus which is not harmless but is far milder than the 1917 Great Flu looks very much like a cytokine storm reaction.

Further, there’s a big difference between being outdoors in small groups, in spring/summer sun with some air movement vs being indoors in confined space, in building housing 50 or more. This (and almost any) virus sees the latter as simpatico and the former as Siberia. Locking people inside for months is great … if you want them to be fat, weak, drugaholic and sickly for the next wave in December.

the next wave in December.

There is not going to be a ‘next wave’ in December.

Eric Trump suggested on Fox News Saturday that Democrats are “milking” coronavirus lockdowns in order to “deprive” President Trump of campaign rallies and hurt him in November’s election.

“They think they are taking away Donald Trump’s greatest tool, which is being able to go into an arena and fill it with 50,000 people every single time. You watch, they’ll milk it every single day between now and Nov. 3. And guess what, after Nov. 3 coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen.”

https://www.axios.com/eric-trump-democrats-coronavirus-c040253e-80ae-4cb7-a610-2b4ebf2c3cfa.html

Though, personally, I’m short selling this tool and all his progenitor Drumfs and hedging on r/agedlikemilk because if such rhetoric does lead to ‘fill it with 50,000 people every single time’ of a bunch of Murdock-instilled, shouting, spraying buffons who won’t cover their face because “it makes america look sick” and “the face is the likeness of God, I will not wear a mask” I will be a rich person. Stonks always go up.

Are you volunteering to die to restart the economy?
Do you have any evidence that the economy will “restart” if the infection rate increases? Sick people don’t work. Dead people don’t work and don’t shop.

Also, as far as I know, in the US, there is no prohibition on going outside in household groups. So your argument is moot.

@ Tim:

Thanks. I already tried that because of another problem that happened at nearly the same time ( a security firm trying to get me to buy their services endlessly).
But no, it didn’t help. Only problems with the really long posts though

I know I need to find another browser because my *LEGACY: version won’t work soon.
Any suggestions, Tim? (This is Internet Explorer 11.) or anyone else.
I am not good at tech -btw-.as if you didn’t know that

I’m pretty sure Lynx is compatible with pretty much everything. You’ll love it. (I keed, I keed.)

The answer lies in what your platform is. Laptop? Desktop? Windoze? If you don’t want the latest and greatest, Windoze machines can be had for a song.

This is Internet Explorer 11
Guhh. I’m pretty sure that your resources are not that light to handle that bloated crap.

If you can run that, then Firefox (possibly, too heavy), Pale Moon (my fave, though currently the tinsy text on this blog is unreadable with it) or Brave might be just up your alley.

I’ve delt with ‘persons of personal interest’ that have old computers and find that K-meleon is very lightweight and handles most browsing habits such as youtube and the like. I’ve even got it working smoothly on and old hand-me-down that has 640 meg memory, xp, and sporting a pentium 1.2 GHz.

There is Dolphin for mobile (even YouRube works), but, if you are not rooted and thus can’t strip it out, it includes the facefuck SKD <– and that is a bad thing.

http://kmeleonbrowser.org/

But, that is not the problem here. You have never had this problem here with your current setup in the past. The problem is that somebody got behind CF and everything turned into… compost.

( a security firm trying to get me to buy their services endlessly).
But no, it didn’t help.

“PC (note the annoying up tone) matic will {repeate Pc matic many times} not do shit for the low, low price of just losing your dignity, your soul, and weight in your wallet.

@ Tim
@ Narad:

Thanks. I’m not sure what I’ll do because I am not good at these….. operations.

Most of what I do works well ( except for this recent anomaly here on long comment threads) BUT I like to watch videos for physiotherapy and language learning and twitter which warn me that time is running out for my browser.
At ay rate, I do have other machines I might use part time so I’ll see what happens before I descend into repair work ( with or without friendly Indian telephone reps who seem to have an endless supply of patience)

Denice Walter,

which warn me that time is running out for my browser.

This can usually be made to stay silent and the site still work for years just by telling it you have a new browser:

https://winaero.com/blog/change-the-user-agent-in-internet-explorer-11/

Pick one of the newer Chrome strings and YT shoud* be happy.

https://developers.whatismybrowser.com/useragents/explore/software_name/chrome/

This does not always work, I actually had to grab a new FireFox awhile back to watch YT. Sometimes, Google adds new ‘features’ to the site that nobody ever asked for ever and does not follow web standards in any way {some may even suggest that they do this to push the entire webosphere onto the advertising company-made Chrome; but I digress} and that breaks your client. All one can do is wait for their flavor of browser to offer an update (usually, within a day).

Give FF a try at mozilla (dot) org/en-US/firefox/new

Though figuring out how to navigate the interface to get it back to something you might recognize can be an exersize in frustration and consideration that one may require anger management classes.

p.s. I’ve never even glanced at Edge but, as it is sorta kinda a continuation of ie, the interface may still be recognisable to you.

I’m hoping this will open the eyes of our esteemed host regarding the character of major media and the “leaders” it promotes.

I’m hoping this will open the eyes of our esteemed host regarding the character of major media and the “leaders” it promotes.

Maybe you should smash your computer rather than telling people what to do with their consumer electronics. (I haven’t had a TV of my own since I had to dispose of my 1977 RCA XL-100. I may have one of the last existing horizontal oscillator modules in storage.)

Preprints sometimes pass peer review. What’s crap about it? I really do give a chipmunk’s tush.

Key word: “sometimes.” Come back when it does. Also, adding more stuff in something that already has adverse effects does not make it safer.

The comments are cringeworthy — HCQ works, by definition! The pointy-heads have just been doing it wrong!! Zinczinczinczinc-zincety-zinc!!!

^ Then again, who would have expected ‘ionophore’ to be Borged by the Meatball Collective?

@ gothamette

From Rxiv’s website

About bioRxiv

bioRxiv (pronounced “bio-archive”) is a free online archive and distribution service for unpublished preprints in the life sciences. It is operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a not-for-profit research and educational institution. By posting preprints on bioRxiv, authors are able to make their findings immediately available to the scientific community and receive feedback on draft manuscripts before they are submitted to journals.

Articles are not peer-reviewed, edited, or typeset before being posted online. However, all articles undergo a basic screening process for offensive and/or non-scientific content and for material that might pose a health or biosecurity risk and are checked for plagiarism. No endorsement of an article’s methods, assumptions, conclusions, or scientific quality by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is implied by its appearance in bioRxiv.

NOTE the last sentence: “No endorsement of an article’s methods, assumptions, conclusions, or scientific quality by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is implied by its appearance in bioRxiv.”

It is a gross mistake that some blogs and media report on studies posted on Rxiv. They are NOT peer-reviewed, and, in fact, many may be so poorly done that they will either not get published by a credible journal or, perhaps, published in a bottom feeding for-profit journal.

Thank you so much for this information, Dr. Harrison. The name “bioRxiv” makes it sound official. I do know what peer review is, and what a pre-print is. That said, what do you think of the actual study? Do you think it has any merit whatever, or is this just another scamper down the rabbit hole?

It is a gross mistake that some blogs and media report on studies posted on Rxiv.

I’m not competent to judge the quality of material on bio-/medRxiv (I’ll skip ridiculing their logo this time), but that assessment really does not hold for “the” (Cornell) arXiv;* the daily alerts also seem to be quite popular, given how often I see them mentioned them in places I frequent.

*See also http: //backreaction.blogspot.com/2016/01/does-arxiv-censor-submissions.html

@ Narad

You write: “I’m not competent to judge the quality of material on bio-/medRxiv (I’ll skip ridiculing their logo this time), but that assessment really does not hold for “the” (Cornell) arXiv ”

From Cornell’s website:

Important: e-prints posted on arXiv are not peer-reviewed by arXiv; they should not be relied upon without context to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information without consulting multiple experts in the field.

So, you just made a fool of yourself as what I wrote DOES HOLD FOR “the (Cornell) arXIV”. And, I am competent to judge the quality of material and so is Orac.

I’m a bit disappointed Orac hasn’t directed any Insolence at the questioning of Dr. Rick Bright during his recent appearance before a Congressional Committee. The GOP members basically used their time to insinuate Bright had somehow nefariously quashed a promising program for the wide dispersal of possible-miracle-cure hydroxychloroquine. Yup, they were just still selling hydroxychloroquine, they were trying to dismantle Bright’s credibility by virtue of the fact he wasn’t on board with the hype. For me, this reached an apogee of stupid with the following query from Rep. Griffith (R) of Virginia:

And you said the hydroxychloroquine that one of the problems was you might have a irregular heartbeat. If you’re worrying about not having a heartbeat at all, you’re not worried about irregular, if you don’t have one at all, am I not correct about that? That’s the concern. People were dying out there and here was the first one that showed some promise. Why wouldn’t we want to accept an offer from a manufacturer to give us a lot of this and have it out there for widespread use if the doctors chose…

The printed text, alas, doesn’t convey the condescending, hectoring tone Griifith used throughout, exemplified by “Am I not correct about that?” Bright, for his part, was professional and discrete in response, damn him. I wish he could have said, “No, you’re dead wrong about that, dumb ***k” and explained that, yeah, inducing an irregular heartbeat is just going to make some patients far more likely to die from the system stress of Covid, among other things.

– I think you need to back away from me,sir…

– No, i’ve got hydroxycloroquine. I’m fine.

In a show of support, Trump twits out their slogan, FAKE NEWS IS NOT ESSENTIAL!

Oh, brother. Now Trump is doubling down. He can never just be wrong.

“I take it,” he told reporters. “All I can tell you is, so far, I feel okay.”

The president said he has taken only an initial dose. “It seems to have an impact,” he said. “Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. … You’re not going to get sick and die.”

Mr Trump said he has taken the drug for “about a week and a half now,” adding: “I take a pill everyday” and has had “zero symptoms.”

The president said he is taking the drug because “I’ve gotten a lot of calls” from medical professionals praising it. His revelation comes several weeks after the New York Times reported the Trump family has a financial tie to the parent company of the firm that makes hydroxychloroquine.

Translation: “I licked it once, I did not die. I get a lot of calls from Scrubs actors telling me I’m my fellow inbread Alabamians-like.”

He is not taking it. Why would he? He is sitting on litres of convalescent plasma.

Never forget sharpiegate!

https://www.newyorker.com./news/our-columnists/sharpiegate-and-donald-trumps-perpetual-cone-of-uncertainty

Funny business? Say it ain’t so in the USSA Chernobylesque days.

Georgia is one of the states pushing hardest to limit the social-distancing measures that most other states have used to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Unfortunately, some problems have turned up in the data the Peach State was using to justify its decision. It turns out the state’s Department of Public Health had arranged the graph of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections in order of descending cases—and not by the actual date the data was from.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/05/ars-coronavirus-monday-update-may-18/

https://cbs12.com/news/local/woman-who-designed-floridas-covid-19-dashboard-has-been-removed-from-her-position/

seen on reddit

The likely reason for her firing was for sending this email to the entire Florida Coronavirus listserv, which included a few of my colleagues:

Hey all –

I’ve gotten a lot of emails from everyone during the last eight days ever since the dashboard went down, the data was hidden, and the functionality essentially crashed, so to clear up the confusion, I’m sending this final notice to the group.

For reasons beyond my division’s control, as of late in the day on May 5, my office (the DOH-GIS office) is no longer managing the COVID-19 Dashboard. I am no longer involved in the publication of data, fixing errors, answering questions, etc., in any shape or form. I helped them get it back running a few times but I have no knowledge about their plans, what data they are now restricting, what data will be added and when, or any of that. I understand, appreciate, and even share your concern about all the dramatic changes that have occurred and those that are yet to come. However, I cannot provide any insight now or going forward.

As a word of caution, I would not expect the new team to continue the same level of accessibility and transparency that I made central to the process during the first two months. After all, my commitment to both is largely (arguably entirely) the reason I am no longer managing it.

They are making a lot of changes. I would advise being diligent in your respective uses of this data. I know many of you have broken API links and map layers. I’ve listed the contacts for getting that information below.

The primary contacts going forward are listed below.

Anything related to EPI: REDACTED or REDACTED

Anything related to the technical aspects of the dashboard: REDACTED

It was great working with you guys. Good luck, and stay safe.

-30-

Rebekah Jones, GISP

GIS Manager| Division of Disease Control and Health Protection

PHONE # & EMAIL REDACTED

In other breaking news, a shocking new poll reveals that 100% of americans support Trump taking HCQ.

Republican political operatives are recruiting “extremely pro-Trump” doctors to go on television

…The plan was discussed in a May 11 conference call with a senior staffer for the Trump reelection campaign organized by CNP Action

…CNP Action is part of the Save Our Country Coalition, an alliance of conservative think tanks and political committees formed in late April to end state lockdowns implemented in response to the pandemic.

…“Anybody who joins one of our coalitions is vetted,” Murtaugh said Monday. “And so quite obviously, all of our coalitions espouse policies and say things that are, of course, exactly simpatico with what the president believes. … The president has been outspoken about the fact that he wants to get the country back open as soon as possible.”

…Murtaugh said the campaign is not concerned about contradicting government experts.

“Our job at the campaign is to reflect President Trump’s point of view,” Murtaugh said. “We are his campaign. There is no difference between us and him.”

…“Those are the types of guys that we should want to get out on TV and radio to help push out the message,” Schlapp said on the call.

“They’ve already been vetted. But they need to be put on the screens,” Schulze replied.

…“The president’s going to get tagged by the fake news media as being irresponsible and not listening to doctors,” Matt Schlapp said on the call. “And so we have to gird his loins with a lot of other people. So I think what Nancy’s talking about … this is the critical juncture that we highlight them.”

https://apnews.com/4ee1a3a8d631b454f645b2a8d9597de7

“gird his loins”? eww? “with a lot of other people”? What if there are leakers amongst them? Or somebody with lice, spiders, and ticks? Or urushiol extract?

No, I think it is best for The Campaign to leave that job for the Groom of the Stool.

[…] The third second-place award winner is French microbiologist Didier Raoult, another proponent of hydroxychloroquine, which he claims cured patients with COVID-19 100% of the time. He was featured in a May 12 New York Times profile which was less than incisive.  On May 27, the French government banned the use of hydroxychloroquine for treating COVID-19 outside of clinical trials. Beware of those hawking 100% cure rates. For a complete evisceration of the Frenchman, visit the Respectful Insolence blog. […]

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