About 65,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, and each day, another 1,300 die from the virus.
One drugmaker has developed and tested a drug that is shown to reduce death and hospitalization among high-risk COVID patients by nearly 89% if taken within five days of infection.
Yet, if you get COVID tomorrow, you won’t be able to take this pill thanks to the federal government. Congress and the Biden administration, meanwhile, show no urgency to remedy this by speeding the drug to market.
The drug is Pfizer’s pill Paxlovid. The FDA is considering an emergency use authorization for Paxlovid. That’s a slightly accelerated process, but it’s still way too slow considering we are in a pandemic so deadly that governments and institutions are canceling events, requiring masks, and mandating vaccines.
Pfizer applied for approval a month ago. At the Nov. 30 meeting of the FDA’s advisory committee, Paxlovid was not discussed. And no meeting to discuss Paxlovid is even on the calendar yet.
And when asked about Paxlovid’s promise — again, saving thousands of lives a week — the Biden administration talks it down.
This should be news worth celebrating.— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) December 14, 2021
Tho when asked about the finding on NBC's "Today," CDC director Walensky says: "So another great tool in our toolbox, but the best way to protect yourself against COVID is not to get it in the first place." https://t.co/DNfShapPDj
The FDA or Congress should rush to get this pill out the door. Tomorrow, 120,000 Americans will test positive for COVID-19, meaning it is not an option "not to get it in the first place." Thousands of these people will be hospitalized, and hundreds will eventually die. And this will happen every day this week.
If Paxlovid were available tomorrow, hundreds would be saved every day from hospitalization or death. In short, keeping this drug off the market is killing thousands of people each week. Congress could act tomorrow to give Paxlovid an EUA, effective immediately.
So why is there inadequate urgency to get this out? One reason is that Democrats and liberals like Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky are fighting only one fight, striving for the impossible goal of preventing infections rather than preventing serious illness. They continue to labor under the illusion that vaccination can keep people from getting COVID altogether.
The vaccines are lifesavers, mostly because they prevent serious illness in those infected. But the truth is that basically everyone is going to get the coronavirus, including the vaccinated. The best you can do is make your case less likely to be severe by not being obese, getting vaccinated, or, when the FDA allows it, taking Paxlovid once you think you may have been infected.
Supporting a name-brand Pfizer drug, meanwhile, is out of touch with much of the Republican base, with whom extreme vaccine and pharmaceutical skepticism have become a terrible pillar of so-called "conservatism."
So because it's not a vaccine, and because it acknowledges the reality that everyone will catch COVID, Paxlovid has little love on the Left. Because it's not Ivermectin and is made by Pfizer, it has little love on the Right.
Our politics are killing people.