Home Covid- How National Propaganda Radio (NPR) Reports About Covid and Ivermectin

How National Propaganda Radio (NPR) Reports About Covid and Ivermectin

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

Eric Zuesse

On September 21st, NPR’s “All Things Considered” had a segment

https://www.npr.org/2021/09/21/1039393874/how-ivermectin-ended-up-in-the-middle-of-a-covid-19-controversy

titled “How Ivermectin Ended Up In The Middle Of A COVID-19 Controversy” and reported by Pien Huang.

She totally ignored — didn’t mention at all —  the actual scientific research studies that have been done comparing the disease-outcomes of covid patients who have been receiving ivermectin versus the patients who haven’t. That should have been what her report was focusing on, but instead she totally ignored that question, and the interviewer (the program-host) never even raised the question with her.

Here are those data, all of which she ignored:

On September 22nd, “Ivermectin for COVID-19: real-time meta analysis of 64 studies” reported that:

“Meta analysis using the most serious outcome reported shows 68% [52-78%] and 86% [75-92%] improvement for early treatment and prophylaxis, with similar results after exclusion based sensitivity analysis and restriction to peer-reviewed studies or Randomized Controlled Trials.”

“Statistically significant improvements are seen for mortality, ventilation, hospitalization, recovery, cases, and viral clearance. 29 studies show statistically significant improvements in isolation.”

“Results are very robust — in worst case exclusion sensitivity analysis 53 of 64 studies must be excluded to avoid finding statistically effective efficacy.”

Furthermore:

“There is evidence of a negative publication bias, and the probability that an ineffective treatment generated results as positive as the 64 studies is estimated to be 1 in 222 billion.”

That was an updated version of this peer-reviewed published study in the:

AMERICAN JOURNAL OF THERAPEUTICS, July/August 2021

“Ivermectin for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 Infection: A Systematic Review, Meta-analysis, and Trial Sequential Analysis to Inform Clinical Guidelines”

“CONCLUSIONS: Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin. Using ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease. The apparent safety and low cost suggest that ivermectin is likely to have a significant impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally.”

Specifically: “Meta-analysis of 15 trials found that ivermectin reduced risk of death compared with no ivermectin (average risk ratio 0.38, 95% confidence interval 0.19–0.73; n = 2438; I2 = 49%; moderate-certainty evidence). This result was confirmed in a trial sequential analysis using the same DerSimonian–Laird method that underpinned the unadjusted analysis. This was also robust against a trial sequential analysis using the Biggerstaff–Tweedie method. Low-certainty evidence found that ivermectin prophylaxis reduced COVID-19 infection by an average 86% (95% confidence interval 79%–91%). … Severe adverse events were rare among treatment trials.”

The article’s “DISCUSSION” closes: “Given the evidence of efficacy, safety, low cost, and current death rates, ivermectin is likely to have an impact on health and economic outcomes of the pandemic across many countries. Ivermectin is not a new and experimental drug with an unknown safety profile. It is a WHO ‘Essential Medicine’ already used in several different indications, in colossal cumulative volumes. Corticosteroids have become an accepted standard of care in COVID-19, based on a single RCT of dexamethasone.1 If a single RCT is sufficient for the adoption of dexamethasone, then a fortiori the evidence of 2 dozen RCTs supports the adoption of ivermectin.”

Instead of reporting anything of the actual science, Pien Huang, with the full cooperation of the program-host, started and stuck with the assumption that anyone who would be using ivermectin in order to reduce the severity of an active case of covid-19 disease is an ignoramus. (In other words: confirmation-bias was reeking from her presentation.) The program host did at one point ask the question “Is there reason to believe that ivermectin works against covid-19?” Huang answered: “Well, there was a study last Spring which showed that ivermectin can kill the conoavirus, but in doses way bigger than humans should be using” and “there is insufficient evidence to recommend this product at this time. There is a small group of doctors who claim otherwise. They call themselves ‘The Frontline Critical Care Alliance’ and their message has been amplified by some figures on the right. … Misinformation researcherts have told me that it’s the latest chapter in a story of right-wing commentators …”

The reporter, Huang, ignored the science, and was vague about what studies were the basis for her prejudices and for her beliefs against using ivermectin in treating cases of covid-19 disease. She failed to identify even a single study as the basis for her belief. The program-host wasn’t taken aback by that. And there is no indication that the powers-that-be (the people who do the hiring and the firing) at National Propaganda Radio are disturbed at the astoundingly low quality of their on-air employees, and of their editors, and of their research-staffs (if any). Perhaps if NPR’s audience are satisfied with those people’s journalistic performances, this is considered to be acceptable “journalism” in America. But that wouldn’t make it acceptable journalism in a democracy, which depends upon there being an accurately informed public (something that’s impossible under these circumstances).

I do not write this as a proponent of ivermectin for covid-treatment. But the low quality of journalism in America disturbs me; and, apparently, it doesn’t sufficiently disturb its audiences. NPR is no better and no worse than the average in America, but that average is stunningly low, and that NPR segment was an easy example by which to display this fact.

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

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