With Covid-19 cases in the U.S. soaring to 142,800 as of March 30 with nearly 2,500 deaths, it’s also worth noting that almost half of those have happened in the state of New York, which has 60,000 registered cases and almost 1,000 deaths. This has understandably put a lot of strain on New York hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and other medical centers.
In these desperate times, doctors are trying a new and simpler approach to treating covid-19 patients – Vitamin C. Based on promising reports from China, many hospitals in New York are now giving their patients very high doses of Vitamin C to help their immune systems to combat the virus.
But medical specialists warn that there is no real evidence to support it as a valid treatment. Still, it poses little risk to use in tandem with current viable treatments.
Dr. Andrew G. Weber is a pulmonologist and a critical-care specialist in two Northwell Health facilities in Long Island. He commented that all his intensive care patients immediately receive a 1,500-milligram dose of Vitamin C upon their admission. What’s more, he continued to administer identical doses to all his patients three or four times a day, every day.
This may seem extreme and it is – each of those individual doses is over 16 times more than what the National Institute of Health recommends for a daily dietary allowance of vitamin C – 90 milligrams for adult men and 75 milligrams for adult women. Dr. Weber believes it’s necessary and so do many other professionals in New York and China.
“The patients who received vitamin C did significantly better than those who did not get vitamin C,” Dr. Weber said. “It helps a tremendous amount, but it is not highlighted because it’s not a sexy drug.”
Another spokesperson of Northwell, which operates 23 facilities such as the Lenox Hill Hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, has said that vitamin C has been “widely used” as a coronavirus treatment but that each facility sets its own treatment protocols. The spokesperson – Jason Molinet – also said that about 700 people have been treated for Covid-19 in Northwell’s facilities so far but that it’s unclear which patient gets what since the prescriptions are “As the clinician decides.”
As of last Tuesday (March 24), New York hospitals have been allowed to administer “cocktails” of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to desperately ill patients on a “compassionate care” basis. It should be noted that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has cautioned that this cocktail has not been proven in clinical trials yet.
President Trump once again ignored the opinion of his health director, however, and tweeted that:
“HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains – Thank You! Hopefully, they will BOTH … be put in use IMMEDIATELY. PEOPLE ARE DYING, MOVE FAST, and GOD BLESS EVERYONE!”
Needless to say, scientists all around the country were quite angry with the president’s response, calling his tweet “Insane”. Their outrage is understandable given that a man in Arizona recently died from taking a form of chloroquine under the advice of his president.
The use of vitamin C, however, is widely accepted as a good idea at this point even if it’s not “sexy” enough for President Trump to tweet about it. “It makes all the sense in the world to try and maintain this level of vitamin C,” Dr. Weber has said.
For now, there is one ongoing clinical trial to determine its effectiveness against Covid-19. The study was conducted at Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan, China – the epicenter of the pandemic. The “triple-blind” study involved 140 participants. It will officially conclude on September 30 but all information from it has been posted on the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s website.