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Is Chloroquine Behind South Korea’s Super-Low Coronavirus Fatality Rate? –



  • Health authorities are exploring antimalarial drug chloroquine as a potential treatment for Covid-19.
  • Trump has repeatedly touted the drug, but received significant pushback from the media.
  • Korean-American actor Dae Kim may be first-hand proof of chloroquine’s ability to treat Covid-19 symptoms.

Donald Trump has taken some heat for recommending chloroquine as  a potential treatment for coronavirus. But a growing body of evidence suggests the president may be on to something.

Korean-American actor Dae Kim recently revealed that he has treated his Covid-19 symptoms with chloroquine.

Is the anti-malaria drug the secret behind South Korea’s unusually low Covid-19 death rate? The evidence is inconclusive. But U.S. authorities believe it may show promise.

What is Chloroquine, and How Does it Work?

Chloroquine is an antimalarial drug discovered in 1934 and used to prevent malaria in much of the developing world. The drug was found to be effective at treating SARS in the early 2000s. Many doctors believe it could be useful for Covid-19 as well.

According to Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, the drug may show some promise for Covid-19 based on its ability to treat the SARS coronavirus.

He told ABC News:

The way that it worked against SARS was by preventing the attachment of the virus to the cells. Chloroquine interfered with the attachment to that receptor on the cell membrane surface.

Trump Believes Chloroquine is a Game Changer

Donald Trump and Elon Musk both have touted cloroquine as a potential treatment for Covid-19. Although Trump is getting tremendous pushback in the media, with some blaming him for the deaths of Americans who used his words as an excuse to ingest harmful chemicals that contain the drug.

According to NBC News, a 68-year-old Arizona man and his wife both ingested chloroquine phosphate (which is used to clean aquariums) and needed to seek medical care within half an hour.

The man died and his wife is in critical condition. It’s unclear if the couple overdosed on the drug or were reacting to other harmful chemicals that they ingested in the fish tank cleaner.

But first-hand reviews of chloroquine are not all negative. Many who have used the drug in controlled medical settings report positive results.

Dae Kim Believes Chloroquine Helped Him Recover from Covid-19

Dae Kim, an actor well known for his roles in “Lost” and “Hawaii Five-0”, contracted Covid-19 in New York earlier this month. According to him, his symptoms have been mild and he has self-isolated himself while taking a cocktail of medications that includes chloroquine.

This is what he had to say to his followers online:

I won’t say that it’s a cure and I won’t say definitively that you should go out and use this, but what I will say is that I believe it was crucial to my recovery. I believe the entire mixture of drugs was crucial to my recovery.

He further states:

That (chloroquine) has been used with great success in Korea in their fight against the coronavirus.

Which Countries are Using Chloroquine?

Several countries, including China, South Korea and Belgium, have added chloroquine to their treatment guidelines for Covid-19. The drug is not officially approved as a treatment for this indication.

It’s interesting to note that South Korea reports a remarkably low coronavirus death rate with just 120 of their 9,037 confirmed cases ending in death.

Korea reports a 1.3% case fatality rate compared to 9.5% in Italy and 1.26% in the United States. It’s unclear if South Korea’s low death rate can be attributed to chloroquine, but it doesn’t seem to be hurting them.

Many American doctors are convinced that the drug can help patients suffering from Covid-19. Off-label prescriptions are soaring, and New York state has already procured 70,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine and 750,000 doses of chloroquine with plans to begin trials on Tuesday.

This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.

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Saskatchewan Health Authority released health system readiness model for COVID-19 – Assiniboia Times



The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) released their health system readiness model on Wednesday during a presentation covering varied outcomes for different levels of the COVID-19 outbreak in Saskatchewan.

The presentation used three separate variable models of different varieties to show the impact the outbreak could have on Saskatchewan’s healthcare system. The SHA said the dynamic modelling is not a prediction, it provides a range of ‘what if’ scenarios to guide planning going forward.

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The modelling scenarios were based on our best knowledge at this time and will continue to be updated with Saskatchewan data. For all three scenarios, the key variable used to predict numbers were a high range, meaning one person could infect up to four people with the virus, a mid range where one person could infect 2.76 and a low range where one could infect 2.4.

According to the SHA, in a high-range estimate, 4,265 COVID-19 patients are required in acute care. Of those hospitalized, 1,280 COVID-19 patients will be in the ICU with 90-95 per cent requiring ventilation.

On the low side, the SHA presentation said at peak, 390 patients are in an acute care simultaneously. Of those hospitalized, 120 patients will be in the ICU with 90-95 per cent requiring ventilation.

According to the SHA’s presentation, on the high end of the model, the province could see up to 408,000 total cases with 215 ICU admissions daily and a cumulative total of 8,370 deaths. On the low end, there’s 153,000 total cases with 20 ICU admissions daily and up to 3,075 deaths.

The SHA believed the current demand for daily ICU across Saskatchewan would be 57 beds with 98 total capacity. For acute care, there might be a daily demand of 1,396 with a total capacity of 2,433.

The SHA’s model reported an estimated total of 890 ICU patients at peak across the province. The model added the co-ordinated provincial approach for critical care patients from rural and north Saskatchewan to be admitted to urban sites when local ICU capacity was exceeded.

In addition, the SHA currently has 450 ventilators available to meet COVID-19 model demands for low and mid-range scenarios. The planned capacity ventilator requirement of 860 created a gap of 410, but the SHA added there are confirmed orders for 200 with 100 expected n the next two to three weeks.

The SHA said they are basing their response to COVID-19 on a strategy of contain, delay, mitigate and population health promotion. Their desired goal is to promote health, prevent disease and ensure healthcare services remain available. The SHA also said their key strategies for public health were to increase testing, identify cases early, expand contact tracing and enforce chief medical health officer orders.

The key strategies to further the SHA’s approach include expanding Healthline, delivering more services through virtual care models of which 750 clinicians are set up and expanding testing and assessment centres.

There are currently 38 SHA operated testing sites across the province, five assessment sites in operation with 21 planned to open in coming weeks.


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ICU beds main challenge in COVID-19 projections – The Telegram



ST. JOHN’S, N.L. —

Peter Jackson

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The short-term outlook for COVID-19 spread in Newfoundland and Labrador looks promising under current health emergency measures.

But even the best-case long-term projections suggest a likely squeeze for intensive care unit (ICU) beds by the fall.

The projections were presented to reporters and to the public Wednesday by Dr. Proton Rahman, a clinical scientist with Eastern Health. The information was assembled through various local agencies with help from the University of Toronto and the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI).

Even with current emergency health measures, long-term modelling showed the province needing about 200 ICU beds at peak coronavirus levels in November. That’s three times what is currently available, although there would still be enough ventilators.

Overall bed capacity would not be exceeded in this scenario, but Rahman said ICU care depends primarily on the number of nurses and specialists available.

“It’s not just about beds,” he said. “With each individual bed there’s human resources involved, such as respiratory technicians, which is going to be critical to this. We really have to rethink, to some extent, how to deliver these services.”

A more dire scenario presented Wednesday, in which half the population got sick, showed catastrophic results, with not nearly enough beds, staff or ventilators to go around.

“We will simply not be able to cope without drastic changes, and even then it is unlikely we would be successful,” Health Minister Dr. John Haggie said during a later video address.

Insufficient data

Rahman warned that the CIHI models are likely “off a fair bit.”

“We’re looking well beyond the time frame that we have any certainty about.”

He said Newfoundland and Labrador is at least three weeks behind other provinces in terms of usable date.

In particular, while tragic in themselves, the fact there has only been two deaths so far makes it impossible to offer accurate projections of mortality rates.

He said the higher rates of high blood pressure and diabetes in this province don’t bode well, since those underlying conditions increase the chance of severe symptoms or death.

But the virus can affect anyone.

“The experience that’s been reported in numerous states in America and also in Canada (is that) a lot of young, healthy people are actually ending up in the ICU. Most don’t, but it can happen to anyone,” Rahman said. “The people that we’re worried about the most are the old, the vulnerable, people with multiple medical conditions, but anyone can get in trouble and you really have to respect what this virus can do.”

Rahman said the Caul’s Funeral Home cluster — a mid-March exposure that accounts for 75 per cent of subsequent COVID-18 hospitalizations — also makes it difficult to interpret the province’s numbers with any accuracy.

Models are usually based on more evenly distributed infections.

Buying time

Rahman said emergency measures imposed by the province could buy time to accommodate demand ahead of the surge.

“The time is key in terms of the health care capacity to be able to manage large amounts of patients,” he said. “The other reason why time is important, if we’re looking at an 18-month to two-year time period, lots could happen in terms of maybe a potential therapy, something that’s been repurposed in terms of a drug coming into it, some antibodies that you can take or possibly a vaccine. You’re buying time for potentially a therapy and you’re also buying time in terms of our health care capacity to adapt to this.”

Rahman wouldn’t speculate on how long current health measures would be in place, especially if the peak doesn’t arrive until November.

But he cited a scenario posed by some experts in which individual measures could be lifted temporarily and re-imposed if the number of cases rises again.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald was not available for questions during the Wednesday evening briefing.

For now, Rahman said, it’s important to stay put.

“It just takes one small indiscretion to create a large increase,” he said.

“So, please, please follow the health guidelines put in place by Dr. Fitzgerald.”

With files from David Maher

Peter Jackson is a Local Initiative Reporter covering health care for The Telegram

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U.S. CDC reports 374,329 coronavirus cases, 12,064 deaths – Financial Post



The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday reported 374,329 cases of coronavirus, an increase of 43,438 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 3,154 to 12,064.

The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as COVID-19, caused by a new coronavirus, as of 4 pm ET on April 6 compared to its count a day ago. (

The CDC figures do not necessarily reflect cases reported by individual states. (Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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