“The current death toll from the COVID-19 virus is nearly 138,000 worldwide. That is still only a fraction of the 650,000 who die each year from the flu. But The Washington Post insists that the comparison to the ordinary flu is a “zombie claim”:
The reason the numbers are leveling off in certain areas of the country is because of the severe measures taken.
If that were so, why do we not use the same severe measures against the flu? If saving lives is such a priority, why not save the lives of flu victims too? Or those who die in auto accidents? What makes the coronavirus so special?
Whether the virus is all that it’s cracked up to be… or has been thwarted by public policy… we’re not sure.
But we’re quite sure that the cost of those policies has not yet been fully felt.” From lontime market pessimist Bill Bonner, who is hunkering down on his ranch in Argentina, where he grows his own food. His column, dated April 18, is on the moneyandmarkets.com web site.
“A potential antiviral drug for the coronavirus has reportedly failed in its first randomised clinical trial.
There had been widespread hope that remdesivir could treat Covid-19.
But a Chinese trial showed that the drug had not been successful, according to draft documents accidentally published by the World Health Organization.
The drug did not improve patients’ condition or reduce the pathogen’s presence in the bloodstream, it said.
When will we have a vaccine?
The US firm behind the drug, Gilead Sciences, said the document had mischaracterised the study.
What do we know about the study?
News of the failed trial spread after the WHO posted details on its clinical trials database, before it was removed. The WHO has since confirmed the draft report was mistakenly uploaded.
It showed that researchers studied 237 patients, administering the drug to 158 and comparing their progress with the remaining 79, who received a placebo.
After a month, 13.9% of the patients taking the drug had died compared to 12.8% of those receiving the placebo. The trial was stopped early because of side-effects.
“Remdesivir was not associated with clinical or virological benefits,” the summary states.
All three main US stock indexes fell back from gains of over 1% after the news broke over the trial.”
Money and Markets adds that Giliad, whose stock had been soaring, suffered a sharp decline.
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