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Reader's View: Chasing quack remedies hampers progress on COVID

It is rather sad when people’s lives are put at risk because a doctor with a solid reputation suddenly becomes an outlier and contrarian when COVID-19 is involved.

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It happened again. A letter was published in the News Tribune advocating the use of quack remedies to combat the spread of COVID-19 (Reader’s View: “ Remove masks, let virus die on its own ,” Jan. 15).

At least the letter mentioned a distinguished cancer epidemiologist from Yale, Dr. Harvey Risch. Unfortunately, the good doctor has been criticized for relying on studies without proper controls and for promoting a study that was retracted. Dr. Sten Vermund, dean of the Yale School of Public Health, defended the doctor’s academic freedom but went on to say hydroxychloroquine is “only used rarely at present due to evidence that it is ineffective and potentially risky.” Dr. Risch’s colleagues at Yale also released a statement saying that “he is not an expert in infectious disease epidemiology, and he has not been swayed by the body of scientific evidence from rigorously conducted clinical trials, which refute the plausibility of his belief and arguments.”

This needs to be said again: Dr. Risch, a doctor employed at Yale, is accused of ignoring evidence that refutes his beliefs. It is rather sad when people’s lives are put at risk because a doctor with a solid reputation suddenly becomes an outlier and contrarian when COVID-19 is involved.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated on numerous occasions that COVID-19 vaccinations are safe and effective. Numerous rigorous and peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated the efficacy of vaccines in preventing death amongst the vaccinated population. Deaths associated with the vaccinated are typically complicated by numerous comorbidities; yet, for some reason, a significant number of Americans put their faith in contrarian doctors.

A Jan. 1 story in the News Tribune asked, “Will this pandemic ever end?” I do not know, but I’m quite certain an end will never be in sight as long as millions of people believe in quack remedies.


James N. Bragge


Readers' View and Local Views

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