May 19, 2020 - Health

Medical journal calls claim in Trump's letter to WHO "factually incorrect"

Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

The Lancet medical journal issued a statement Tuesday responding to a letter President Trump sent to the World Health Organization about the coronavirus, calling his citation of its studies "factually incorrect."

The big picture: In a letter sent to the WHO's director-general on Monday, Trump claimed the global health agency “consistently ignored credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan in early December 2019 or even earlier, including reports from the Lancet medical journal." The Lancet said in a statement that it did not publish any papers on a virus or outbreak in Wuhan or China in the month of December.

  • The Lancet's statement said its first report on the novel coronavirus in Wuhan was published on Jan. 24 by scientists and physicians from Chinese institutions.
  • A second paper, also published Jan. 24, described the first scientific evidence confirming person-to-person transmission. It included scientists and physicians from Hong Kong and mainland China, according to the journal.

What they're saying:

"The allegations levelled against WHO in President Trump’s letter are serious and damaging to efforts to strengthen international cooperation to control this pandemic. It is essential that any review of the global response is based on a factually accurate account of what took place in December and January."
— The Lancet said in a statement Tuesday

Background: Trump threatened a permanent freeze of U.S. funds to the WHO and withdrawal from membership if the agency "does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days."

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper: The early days of China's coronavirus outbreak and cover-up

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15 hours ago - Health

Medical journal retracts study that fueled hydroxychloroquine concerns

Photo: George Frey/AFP via Getty Images

The Lancet medical journal retracted a study on Thursday that found that coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine had a higher mortality rate and increased heart problem than those who did nothing, stating that the authors were "unable to complete an independent audit of the data underpinning their analysis."

Why it matters: The results of the study, which claimed to have analyzed data from nearly 96,000 patients on six continents, led several governments to ban the use of the anti-malarial drug for coronavirus patients due to safety concerns.

May 22, 2020 - Health

Update: Study linking hydroxychloroquine to increased death risk is retracted

Hydroxychloroquine. Photo: George Frey/AFP via Getty Images

Editor’s note: The study referenced in this story has been retracted by the medical journal The Lancet due to questions on the veracity of its primary data sources. Read more here.

Coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine or its related drug chloroquine were more likely to die or develop an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac death, compared to those who did nothing, a retrospective review published in The Lancet shows.

Why it matters: Despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration, President Trump has insisted the anti-malarial drug as a "game-changer" and admitted he has taken it as a preventative even though the drug is unproven.

Updated 11 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.