Intermezzo: Covid-19: to Fear or Not to Fear, Part 2

Yesterday (July 15, 2020) I addressed a promising treatment that has been in clinical trials since May of this year.  While a clinical trial provides the last word for medical researchers as well as major medical centers and hospitals, a doctor in the US has the prerogative of prescribing medicines “off-label,” meaning if the doc decides there is benefit for a particular patient he/she can prescribe Vaporub for treatment of lymphoma. 😀

While researchers and agencies wait for clinical trial results, some doctors like Dr. Bartlett are going ahead with their own therapy of Inhaled Cortico-Steroid (ICS) for the Wuhan Virus, and counter to advice to reserve it for when a patient becomes seriously in need of oxygen, his idea is to provide it as soon as Covid-19 is diagnosed.  The patients he has successfully treated are ecstatic that their doctor solved a health crisis for them.

But then we ask, what is there to fear about Covid-19?  For a Christ-follower there should not be any reason to fear this disease.  Lane Martin said when he was 17 years old, “Nothing happens TO a Christ-follower.  Filtered by His love, it only happens FOR us.”

That does not mean a Christian should act foolishly.  If you jump off a cliff God will probably not cushion your landing just to prove a point.  This was Jesus’ warning to those who wanted proofs in miracles. (Matthew 12:38-39)  He is not into magic tricks.  So if you attend a church service with infected people singing vigorously, you may get the disease.  Or you may not.  And even if you do, barring other underlying health issues, you will probably recover.  And even if you have underlying health problems, Inhaled Cortico-Steroids may just be what the doctor ordered.  ASK YOUR DOCTOR!

Results from the Recovery Trial in England are significant: “The preliminary results from the RECOVERY trial are very clear – dexamethasone reduces the risk of death among patients with severe respiratory complications. COVID-19 is a global disease – it is fantastic that the first treatment demonstrated to reduce mortality is one that is instantly available and affordable worldwide.”

In the meantime, even before the Recovery trial the number of recoveries far exceeds the number of deaths to the tune of 97% to 99.75%!  As of yesterday, July 15, 2020, the CDCP was reporting less than 4% of diagnoses are resulting in death in the US.  While some, like the Washington Post, try to massage numbers to make this number look like an underestimate, the fact that many more are probably infected makes 4% probably a very high estimate.  That said, the number of deaths attributed to Coronavirus exceeds deaths to other diseases, e.g. flu, but these numbers become suspect when we learn that anyone with the virus is counted as a Covid-19 death, even if some other illness may have caused death.  (The attached photo of Wolf Blitzer is a joke, folks, so don’t anyone blow a gasket!! 😉 )

2020-07-16 Coronavirus Death

Add to this that numbers from even medical labs are coming under suspicion as some Florida labs were reporting 100% POSITIVE rates which at first glance looks really bad, but it turns out they were NOT reporting negative results!?  These lab reports are being fixed by the Florida Department of Health, but what of labs that only over-report less than 100%?

Who can one trust when police and protesters are suspect, when labs are suspect, when politicians on both sides of the election are concerned with ballot-authenticity, when they will say anything to get elected/reelected?  And why is Biden’s camp escalating groundless fears that Trump will refuse to concede results if Biden is elected?  Who do you trust!?

I do not trust Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer or Justice John Roberts.  But neither do I trust Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy, Senators or any other supreme court judges.  (Okay, I trust Mitch McConnell, so far, but that’s because I know him.)  But more than any of these, I trust that The God Who Is Here is reeeally here.  He sees what is happening in our health ‘crisis,’ in our politics, in our world.  He is here and He is not silent (with apologies to Francis Schaeffer).

For the Christ-follower who is schooled in the Bible, we must remember that Father determines who will be our President, who will rule Russia, who will be the leader of China, and this is true of all the nations (Daniel 2:21, Psalm 22:28, Romans 13:2).  So if all the leaders of the world are first of all chosen by God, how do we account for the Khans, Hitlers, Stalins, the Obamas and the Trumps?  There is more to this answer than I can give in a short blog, but we can live in confidence that He has it all under control.

So what is there to fear?  Nothing at all!  Not Covid-19, not Trump, not Biden, not Antifa, not KKK!  The most important aspect of this is to obey the Holy Ghost of God, the leading of His scripture and the example of the Lord, Jesus, the Christ.  My friend, Larry Smith, has served a growing Christian community for over 35 years in a country that is still over 90% Muslim and less than 1% Christian.  His comment to me once when I asked him if he felt safe in such a small minority and facing an expansion of radical Islam was, “C.A., there’s no safer place to be than where God wants you to be.”

 

Intermezzo: Covid-19: to Fear or Not to Fear, Part 1

An Inhaled Cortico-Steroid (ICS) medicine is now being presented as a possibly effective treatment for Covid-19 Coronavirus.  However, the nature of clinical research is to always tread carefully and wait for conclusive results before broad acceptance of an outcome.  This is especially true for entrenched researchers with reputations to protect.

Dr. Richard Bartlett, a Primary Care and ER doctor in Odessa, Texas does not have that pressure of certainty before espousing a cure for Covid-19, but rather a concern for his and others’ patients, going so far as to call ICS “a silver bullet.”  His less than “clinical trial” technique of treating his 12 patients with Inhaled Cortico-Steroids (ICS) is impressive and is being widely investigated, even before his paper has been peer-reviewed. (https://www.recoverytrial.net/)

Few researchers will go out on the limb Dr. Bartlett does until thorough-going and detailed studies have been done to not only proffer results but to understand mechanisms.  You can get a copy of his paper pre-publication by emailing Debbie Georgatos at https://americacanwetalk.org/contact/.

 

But Dr. Bartlett is a practitioner, and not a researcher, and his interest is in saving the lives of his patients.  His only purpose in getting his results into print seems to come from his deep concern for others’ patients that can benefit from EARLY ICS treatment. https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/covid-patients-defend-dr-bartlett-s-silver-bullet-medicine-regimen/ar-BB16v52a

The Recovery Trial referenced above has already reported death reduction by one-third, and this is in severe cases!  As of June 16, 2020 the researchers concluded, “the survival benefit is clear and large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment, so dexamethasone should now become standard of care in these patients.”

2020-07-14 State of FearReading several journals about the dexamethasone, aka Budesonide, inhaler therapy, the evidence to support much wider use of ICS inhalers or nebulizers is growing, and I hope Dr. Bartlett will be recognized for his contribution to the research that may save thousands of lives, not to mention the relaxation of overblown fears.  (If you want to read an interesting novel in your spare time [🙄 haha], check out State of Fear by Michael Crichton, how politicians and eco-terrorists use fear to advance their agendas.  The concepts presented here parallel much of the fear associated to the Wuhan Virus.)

A scientific American article is particularly encouraging.  However, it warns about self-medicating with ICS at home, and I would echo this, to do so under a doctor’s supervision.  One of the absurd tales of woe associated to Hydrochloroquine was of a man who took the drug without medical supervision and died.  That said, if you ever suspect you have the Wuhan Virus, find a doctor like Dr. Bartlett who will supervise your use of ICS! 😊  https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/common-steroid-could-be-cheap-and-effective-treatment-for-severe-covid-19/

Per Dr. Bartlett’s concern, NIH is already recommending ICS, but only for severe cases, and recommending against using in patients that do not require supplemental O2!  Why?  They state that they are waiting for further analysis and for more results from the Australian/UK study to be completed.  https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/dexamethasone/

I could only find one study in England that disputes these findings, but they only used the Inhaled Cortico-Steroid on Covid-19 patients with COPD or Asthma which would be significantly confounding conditions.  https://www.news-medical.net/news/20200622/Inhaled-corticosteroids-have-no-effect-on-COVID-19-mortality-say-researchers.aspx  Furthermore, the abstract at https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.19.20135491v1 admits that unmeasured disease severity may have skewed their results.

Interestingly, another study the British are doing at Queensland University College in conjunction with Oxford University is looking at using ICS as an early intervention, such as Dr. Bartlett does.  https://www.news-medical.net/news/20200707/Asthma-inhalers-being-trialed-for-treatment-of-COVID-19.aspx

Unfortunately, Dr. Bartlett sounds too much like a salesman in the interview (partly the interviewer’s fault), but his message is spot-on.  No cure is likely to be 100% effective as there is too much to our “fearfully and wonderfully made” bodies that we do not know about.  He has been very fortunate (and maybe some Spirit’s guidance?😇) that he has not had any failures or even adverse effects.  Lots of medical research is guesswork and whoever seems to hit on the best guess and has the best “story” for how it works wins the Nobel Prize!  Let’s hope that Inhaled Cortico-Steroids is the “silver bullet” Dr. Bartlett sees.

Tomorrow, I will present another Intermezzo blog on whether we should fear Covid-19.