Billionaires get all sorts of ideas when the business ventures that made them their fortunes grow boring and stale. Some choose to run for president and some build strange-looking pickup trucks and spaceships while dating pop stars half their age. Others, like Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, pivot to peddling bogus covid-19 treatments gassed up by the president!
ProPublica reports that Job Creators Network (JCN), a “conservative business group” founded by Marcus, which purports to “educate Americans on the vital role of free enterprise,” has begun buying up Facebook ads directing users to a petition asking the government to “cut the red tape” surrounding hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug. Over the last week, Trump has repeatedly claimed the drug is a viable treatment for coronavirus, despite repeated warnings from health officials about its toxicity and side effects, which include: blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, cramps, headache, and diarrhea. As Buzzfeed News reported on Tuesday, there is little medical evidence showing that hydroxychloroquine has any tangible benefit in treating coronavirus.
Already, there has been one death associated with hydroxychloroquine after Trump touted its viability. On Monday, health officials announced that an Arizona man began experiencing vomiting and respiratory problems after he and his wife drank chloroquine phosphate—an additive commonly used to clean fish tanks—in order to stave off covid-19. Despite a call to 911, the man died before ambulances could arrive, and NBC News reports his wife is still in critical care.
But, as Buzzfeed reports, “In its petition, JCN claims big-name drugmakers are willing to ‘donate’ millions of tablets and plants are ready to produce the drug ‘if they can secure the active ingredient.’”
Alongside Marcus’s Job Creators Network, Physicians for Reform, a non-profit that “advocates for patient-centered, fiscally responsible healthcare reform,” has co-sponsored the petition. Its founder, C.L. Gray, is a physician and pundit who wrote a book denouncing single-payer healthcare systems, dramatically titled The Battle for America’s Soul. Sounds like the perfect partner in a scheme to push an untested, potentially dangerous drug! [ProPublica]
In a tweet Rudy Giuliani was allowed to press send on this morning, he quoted Candace Owens’s dubious assertion that people die every day, so why should we get so worked up about covid-19 overwhelming our hospitals?
Besides the nonsense of this form of statistical equivalency, Guiliani and Owens don’t seem to care that those 1,000 deaths have come at the very early stages of the covid-19 outbreak. And at 75 years old and male, Giuliani is statistically more likely to suffer from serious coronavirus symptoms, with the worst cases ending in death. I wonder if he’d be making these same calculations if he were worried about his own ability to access a respirator if needed.
- Peter Navarro, Trump’s Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, would rather talk about anything else but how the administration plans on acquiring more ventilators.
- Trump wants to save Easter so his Christian base will continue voting for him. [New York Times]
- The governor of Mississippi has signed an executive order that essentially ignores local bans on gatherings. It also declares most businesses “essential.” [Jackson Free Press]
- The New York Times reports: “A man suspected of planning to attack a Missouri hospital was killed during a shootout with F.B.I. agents.” [New York Times]
- Trump is beefing up troops at the border, once again using coronavirus as an excuse to do more racism. [The Nation]
- It definitely looks like the lawmakers will be bailing out the aviation industry. [Reuters]
- Abortion providers in Texas are now suing the federal government after state Attorney General Ken Paxton’s warning that abortions fall into the category of “nonessential medical procedures”—effectively banning abortion after Governor Greg Abbot signed an executive order over the weekend limiting medically unnecessary procedures. According to AG Paxton, those who defy the executive order “will be met with the full force of the law.” [The Intercept]