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Congresswoman Demands VA Cease Use of Toxic Hydroxochlorqine on Veterans – Veterans Today

WASHINGTON, DC — (May 12, 2020) Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, today released the following statement demanding a response from Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie to her letter— sent nearly three weeks ago—urging him to stop the use of hydroxychloroquine on veterans diagnosed with COVID-19. DeLauro’s letter followed new information from the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and medical experts that the drug could increase the risk of death.

“Nearly three weeks after I sent a letter to VA Secretary Wilkie with questions on whether veterans are still being prescribed hydroxychloroquine and how much of the drug the VA has purchased, my office has still not received a response. It is alarming that, in the middle of this public health crisis, our veterans may still be having drugs prescribed to them that medical experts found multiple weeks ago make their illness worse. That is unconscionable. Science must guide medical decisions—not the President’s feelings about how an which drugs may work. President Trump is not a doctor, a scientist, or a medical professional.”

“As a member of the Appropriations Committee—which funds the Department of Veterans Affairs—we deserve clear and prompt replies to our inquiries regarding the care of our nation’s veterans with Congressionally-allocated funds. There is no good reason for why we have not yet received an answer. The public elected us to make federal laws and ensure they are being carried out properly, and I intend to continue doing that.”

A signed copy of DeLauro’s letter from April 23 can be found here, and the full text is below:

April 23, 2020

The Honorable Robert Wilkie

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

810 Vermont Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20420

Dear Secretary Wilkie:

As you may know, the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases released guidelines yesterday that concretely established there is no drug or therapeutic is safe and effective to treat COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allowing for the emergency use of hydroxychloroquine sulfate supplied from the Strategic National Stockpile to treat adults and adolescents hospitalized with COVID-19 based on limited clinical data and medical literature. Instead, experts have recommended hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin not be used on patients because of the potential for toxicities that could increase the risk of death.

My understanding from your comments during the official bipartisan briefing on Friday April 17, 2020 with the Veterans Affairs (VA) and Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee was that the VA had made efforts to purchase large quantities of Hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Further, a group of scientists published a study looking at all available data from patients hospitalized at VA medial centers with confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis finding there was no evidence that hydroxychloroquine alone, or in combination with azithromycin, reduced the potential use of ventilation in these patients. In fact, the study found there was an increase in overall mortality in the patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone. Given this study, as well, as the guidance published by experts at the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, I urge you to stop the use of Hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 pending further scientific evaluation.

Additionally, at your earliest convenience please provide answers to the following questions:

  • How much Hydroxychloroquine was purchased by the Veterans Health Administration for use in VA facilities?
  • What funds were used to purchase these quantities of Hydroxychloroquine? How much in total has VHA spent on Hydroxychloroquine in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • How many VA patients were treated using this drug? Has the VA tracked the use of Hydroxychloroquine on veterans who have been treated in non-VA facilities?
  • In light of the guidance provided by NIAD, have VA facilities ceased using this drug on patients suffering from COVID-19? If not, when will you plan to do so?

Given the urgent circumstances, I would appreciate a response to these questions as soon as possible.

As always, I stand ready to work with you to protect the health and safety of the American people and all of our brave veterans.

###

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Daily Beast News

Trump Minions Go Crazy for His Toxic ‘Mask-ulinity’

If you were holding out hope for 2020 to be any less horrible, consider that the donning of protective face masks in the midst of a pandemic has emerged as the symbolic dividing line in the culture war. 

This is both stupid and sadly predictable

Controversy erupted on the right this week when Rusty Reno, editor of First Things, a once highly respected conservative religious journal, tweeted that “mask culture [is] fear driven” and that “fear of infection” and “fear of causing infection” are both “species of cowardice.” 

“WWII vets did not wear masks. They’re men, not cowards,” he continued.  

The tweets, which were ratioed up the wazoo, have since been removed or taken down, but you can see them here. It’s tempting to fact-check Reno’s assertions, but what matters more is understanding the twisted, deep-seated worldview behind his comments.



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News RT

Panic in Indian village after major toxic gas leak kills at least 5, dozens hospitalized (GRAPHIC PHOTOS & VIDEO) — RT World News

A gas leak at a chemical plant in India has killed several people and put nearly 200 in hospital with breathing difficulties. Chilling images have emerged showing victims lying motionless on the ground in the wake of the tragedy.

Two elderly residents and a seven-year-old girl have reportedly perished in the gas leak, which emitted from the LG Polymers plant near Visakhapatnam in the eastern state of Andhra Pradesh early on Thursday morning, according to local reports. The gas, believed to be Styrene, is highly toxic when inhaled in high enough concentrations. There have been conflicting reports as to the number of victims, which continues to rise. AFP reported that the accident claimed the lives of at least 5 people, citing police, while some Indian outlets have put the figure even higher, at 8 deaths and some 5,000 sickened.

“People have passed out after inhaling the gas. Even our [police personnel] eyes are still burning and we feel nauseous,” Gopalapatnam Sub-Inspector Venkat Rao told the media.

The aftermath of the leak was captured in photos and videos that have circulated on social media, some of them highly graphic, showing a number of victims laying on the ground apparently struggling to breathe. It is unclear whether they are merely unconscious or succumbed to the gas.

Other harrowing images showed what appeared to be lifeless bodies in a nearby canal, as well as dead livestock with a white foamy substance around their mouths strewn about the area, while some local reports published images of children affected in the massive leak.

Some 1,000 people have been admitted to nearby hospitals, AFP reported, citing sources, while local media said that between 1,500 and 2,000 beds had been prepared in total. A municipal official also took to Twitter on Thursday morning saying the leak occurred around 2:30am, and that “hundreds” had either fallen unconscious or experienced trouble breathing after inhaling the toxic chemical. Some victims also developed headaches, bouts of vomiting and a burning sensation in their eyes.

The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) issued a warning for residents, stating “There is gas leakage identified at LG Polymers … Requesting citizens around these locations not to come out of houses for the sake of safety precautions.” The GVMC also advised villagers to use a “wet mask” or cloth to avoid inhaling the gas.

Nearly eight hours after the leak was first reported, India’s National Disaster Response Force said the gas had been “neutralized,” adding that the toxic vapors could be detected up to 1.5 kilometers away from the plant and the smell wafted for some 2.5 kilometers. The agency has launched an investigation.

The exact cause of the leak at the facility – owned by South Korean battery manufacturer LG Chemical Ltd. – has yet to be determined, but rescue teams have been deployed to the area to assist residents. LG Chemical has so far offered no comment on the incident.

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