The Magnitude of Low-quality Science

I will say though, in general, I never take medical advice from anything that makes national headlines. Actually, to me, the more interesting angle is not about Trump and HCQ, but the idea that papers get funded and cited more or less as they justify expensive new treatments.

So I followed this pretty closely as it developed because before Trump announced it there were many people over at r/covid19 that had found HCQ to be promising. A plausible mechanism and promising in-vitro results had been published in Nature and word in the field was that doctors were seeing at least some benefit. After Trump brought it up the quality of the research plummeted.

Many people I ended up arguing with stuck to the line of "Trump is not a doctor and should not be recommending medication". When I sourced Trump's mentions of HCQ which were always accompanied by "talk to your doctor first" I was accused of ideologically motivated arguments and thus completely discredited... These arguments and accusations came from fellow scientists at a premier national lab... I should note that this argument was the exact day the Lancet study was published and I immediately voiced my skepticism. Once again, I was accused of ideological and unscientific motivations. Well we all know how that one turned out...

Additionally, prior to the Lancet study there was a massive uptick in studies and articles detailing "severe" and "extremely dangerous" side effects of HCQ. If you are interested in the magnitude of the absurdity go google "Hydroxychloroquine Side Effects" date-limited to before 2020 and after March 2020. Before 2020 HCQ induced QT prolongation was "extremely rare in literature". After it was suddenly an extremely dangerous drug. For reference my 92yr old great uncle with major heart problems had been on HCQ for years... The sudden outpouring of dire warnings and "studies" showing dangerous side effects for a 50yr old drug with several 100-million person-years of dosing was extremely disturbing.

Then came the Lancet paper... Not only was HCQ not helpful at all it was actively killing people!!! Oh and this study had like 56,000 patients in it so it must be air tight! Now I actually think the timing of this study was pre-planned. It came out right in the middle of a number of on-going RCTs with HCQ with and without macronuclides, many of which were immediately suspended and never ended up attracting the numbers needed for statistically significant results. The following months had numerous observational studies that showed a benefit but all of the RCTs ended up being inconclusive due to being severely underpowered. Many of the RCTs showed a benefit but it wasn't statistically significant and the damage had already been done. I'm fairly convinced that the media and scientists who pushed so hard against this resulted in numerous unnecessary deaths. It wasn't a miracle cure by any means but I don't think it was totally useless. Some people have been collecting all of the studies on HCQ over at

Overall I was absolutely flabbergasted at the magnitude of shit-tier science that came out in an effort to disprove or discredit everything Trump said to try and instill hope. I'm noticing similar things occurring in my field, energy, and it is deeply disturbing. I'm fairly convinced that much of the COVID culture warring and now energy culture warring is resulting in a significant number of real-world casualties beyond cancellations. I might try to do an effort post here soon on some of the stuff going on in the energy world.