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Prominent Journal of Medicine Makes Unprecedented Political Statement

There’s no doubt the scientific community has been struck with Trump Derangement Syndrome, but reading the latest screed against the administration over its coronavirus response raises questions about whose pocket one of the most prominent scientific journals may be in.

For the first time since its founding in 1812, The New England Journal of Medicine has taken a position on a presidential election. Titled “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum,” it’s no surprise which direction it’s taking, though it does not name either political candidate. What is surprising about its criticism, however, is how pro-China it is.

Right off the bat, we’re told about the “magnitude” of the administration’s failure in the U.S. in terms of the number of COVID-19 deaths — “far exceeding the numbers in much larger countries, such as China.” To claim this with a straight face, as if China is truthful about its death count, is beyond the pale. The U.S. intelligence community has warned the CCP is lying as have residents of Wuhan and countless others.

The editors then went on to not only criticize federalism but praise China’s authoritarian crackdown on citizens: “We know that we could have done better. China, faced with the first outbreak, chose strict quarantine and isolation after an initial delay. These measures were severe but effective, essentially eliminating transmission at the point where the outbreak began and reducing the death rate to a reported 3 per million, as compared with more than 500 per million in the United States.”

As a reminder, those “severe” measures included literally locking residents in their homes to stop the spread. 

There are other head-scratching criticisms found in the article, such as the editors’ chastisement of people who don’t wear masks, despite the Journal’s own admission in May that “wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection…In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.”

The Journal’s nearly three dozen editors urging Americans to “not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs,” follows other scientific journals taking a political stand this year. The Lancet and Scientific American also urged Americans to vote Trump out with the latter actually endorsing Joe Biden.

The Lancet and the NEJM took heat earlier this year after publishing a total fraud of a study on hydroxychloroquine that claimed patients with COVID were dying at higher rates than those who didn’t take it. The studies prompted WHO and other governments around the world to halt studies on the drug and change positions on prescribing it, potentially costing people their lives.

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The New England Journal of Politics, Part II

The entrance to the editorial offices of the New England Journal of Medicine in Boston.



Photo:

AP

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) his week published an editorial denouncing “dangerously incompetent” leadership in Washington on the pandemic and all but endorsing Joe Biden for President. This will go down well in all the right precincts. But then please don’t complain if half of America suspects that science is increasingly politicized.

The editorial recites the government’s well-known failures in managing the coronavirus, such as the initial struggles to roll out testing and hand out enough protective equipment. We can’t disagree with that, but the editors go on to extol China’s virus management, conveniently ignoring its early cover-up and manipulation of the World Health Organization. Why are American elites so enamored of authoritarian command and control? The editors then hit the U.S. for late and inconsistent quarantines, without taking into account the public-health and economic costs of lockdowns.

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You might say “the New England Journal is joining the ranks of academic publications risking their reputations as non-partisan arbiters of good science in order to rumble in the political tarpits.” That’s a line from our 2006 editorial “New England Journal of Politics” describing how the NEJM had waded into a legal dispute over Merck’s painkiller Vioxx. The NEJM also appeared in these pages in 2007 for working to tank a diabetes drug and help Democrats in Congress to regulate treatment approvals more tightly.

Our contributor Scott Gottlieb noted at the time that medical journals have “historically played a special role in helping to define medical practice standards. Even decisions they make on how prominently to place a study, let alone how they editorialize about it, are seen as strong signals to clinicians on how doctors should weigh the evidence. So when editors pursue a political agenda, it’s public health that pays a price.”

Another prominent medical journal, The Lancet, has its own history of political incursions, such as a study on Iraq war casualties funded by anti-George W. Bush partisans. The NEJM’s latest editorial laments that “current leaders” have “undercut trust in science.” The irony is that much of the public distrust of expertise derives from years of scientists behaving like politicians.

Wonder Land: Leading epidemiologists have come together to write “The Great Barrington Declaration,” which urges a “Focused Protection” strategy in managing the coronavirus, and has already been signed by thousands of scientists. Images: Getty Composite: Mark Kelly

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Trump hails his COVID ‘cure’ as leading medical journal calls him ‘dangerously incompetent’ on pandemic






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President Trump continued to hail an experimental monoclonal antibody treatment as a “cure” for COVID-19, telling conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh in a Friday interview that it sped his recovery from the disease and was “better than a vaccine.”

“I was not in great shape, but we have a medicine that healed me, that fixed me,” Trump said of the antibody “cocktail” manufactured by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. ”It’s a great medicine. I recovered immediately.”

Since being released from Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday, where he was treated for three days after being admitted with a high fever, chills and breathing problems, Trump has often pointed to the antibody therapy he undertook at the hospital as a “cure” for COVID-19. There is no known cure for the disease caused by exposure the coronavirus, and the FDA has not, so far, approved the drug’s use for treating COVID-19.

Just as he had done with the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which Trump took in May as a prophylactic against COVID-19, the president didn’t hesitate describing Regeneron’s “cocktail” in the most glowing possible terms.

“We have a cure. More than just a therapeutic, have a cure,” Trump said of the antibody treatment, adding, “This is better than the vaccine.”

Both Regeneron and the drug manufacturer Eli Lilly have released limited studies showing that monoclonal antibody treatments can decrease the viral load of COVID-19 in patients who have not been hospitalized for the disease. Trump’s assertions about the drug have not been proven in any study, and he received other drugs, including Remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone, since testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, Oct. 1.

On Tuesday, Trump voiced his frustration with the Food and Drug Administration for requiring drug manufacturers to follow safety protocols that will slow the availability of a vaccine until after the Nov. 3 election.

Perhaps the central issue in the presidential election is Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and during his rambling two-hour phone call with Limbaugh, the president again complained about not receiving enough praise for his administration’s efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

“We’ve done such a good job on the pandemic. We get zero credit,” Trump said.



a man wearing a suit and tie: President Trump arrives at the White House wearing a facemask upon his return from Walter Reed Medical Center on October 5, 2020. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)


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President Trump arrives at the White House wearing a facemask upon his return from Walter Reed Medical Center on October 5, 2020. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

As of Friday afternoon, at least 7.6 million Americans had tested positive and at least 213,158 had died from COVID-19, far more than in any other country.

On Thursday, the New England Journal of Medicine broke precedent and for the first time in its history published an editorial calling for a president to be voted out of office. The editors disagreed that Trump did “such a good

New England Journal of Medicine Says US Leaders Turned the COVID-19 Crisis Into a Tragedy

“Dying in a Leadership Vacuum” – that’s the title of a new editorial published by editors from the prestigious medical journal New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on Oct. 8, less than a month before the general election. With Election Day fast approaching, the journal, which has been nonpartisan for over 200 years since its inception, took an opportunity to change course and urged Americans to vote our current administration out of office due to what they describe as our leaders’ failure of a response to COVID-19.



a woman standing in front of a building: New England Journal of Medicine Says US Leaders Turned the COVID-19 Crisis Into a Tragedy


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New England Journal of Medicine Says US Leaders Turned the COVID-19 Crisis Into a Tragedy

The editorial was the only one in NEJM’s history that was signed by all of its editors, and it begins by stating that the COVID-19 pandemic, a worldwide crisis, tested leadership across the globe. “With no good options to combat a novel pathogen, countries were forced to make hard choices about how to respond. Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy,” the editors, who are all doctors, wrote.

They pointed to the fact that the US leads the world in COVID-19 cases and deaths – over 211,000 have died and seven million have contracted the virus – and that we did not behave aggressively or adequately enough; we have behaved “poorly” for a number of reasons (other countries have outperformed us, they said). Those reasons include lack of testing early on and distribution of PPE to healthcare workers and the public despite having “ample warning” when the disease first arrived.

And, while the editors said testing has increased substantially, “the more useful metric is the number of tests performed per infected person,” and our numbers are far below that of other countries. “Moreover, a lack of emphasis on developing capacity has meant that U.S. test results are often long delayed, rendering the results useless for disease control,” they wrote.

Another big misstep for the US, according to the editors? Lack of universal guidelines and enforcement when it comes to lockdown measures, which they call inconsistent (doctors POPSUGAR has spoken to in the past have talked about this as well). “Our rules on social distancing have in many places been lackadaisical at best, with loosening of restrictions long before adequate disease control had been achieved,” the NEJM editors explained. “And in much of the country, people simply don’t wear masks, largely because our leaders have stated outright that masks are political tools rather than effective infection control measures.”

“Our current leaders have undercut trust in science and in government, causing damage that will certainly outlast them.”

What’s more, the editors blamed this administration for politicizing vaccines and ignoring public

New England Journal Of Medicine Takes Stance On Presidential Election For First Time

If you had a nickel for every time you’ve heard the phrase “unprecedented times” this year, you’d probably have a lot of nickels. Well, here’s another thing that’s truly been unprecedented: major scientific journals telling you to not vote for one of the major candidates in an upcoming U.S. Presidential election. For the first times in their long histories, The Lancet and Scientific American have clearly urged people to not re-elect current U.S. President Donald Trump this November 3. Scientific American went one step further by endorsing Democratic challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden for President, as Tommy Beer described for Forbes. And now a third prestigious scientific journal, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), has taken a stance with an editorial entitled, “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum.” Take a wild guess from the title as to what they may think of the Trump administration.

Yep, “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum,” may sound like the life and times of a dust ball and how an encounter with a vacuum cleaner really sucks. But in this case, it summarized what the Editors for NEJM wrote about the Trump administration’s continuing response to the current Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. And spoiler alert, it was not positive, unless you count positively scathing as positive. They described the pandemic as a “test of leadership” and “here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.”

In the immortal words of Tag Team, whoomp! There it is. It’s really the first time since since its founding in 1812 that the esteemed medical journal has taken a clear position on a U.S. presidential election. That was a streak of about 208 years, which is approximately 7592 Scaramuccis, that has now been broken. This is by no means small news in the scientific and medical communities. Some scientists and physicians avoid discussing Presidential politics like a radioactive piece of Shoofly pie covered in sludge. But as many prominent scientists have recently point out, the upcoming election is no longer about “partisanship.” When major scientific journals have to take such a stance, you know the upcoming election is not your typical election.

The editorial went on to state that “the magnitude of this failure is astonishing,” and point out how the U.S. “had ample warning,” but was “incapable of testing effectively and couldn’t provide even the most basic personal protective equipment to health care

New England Journal of Medicine calls for US leadership to be voted out over Covid-19 failure

In an unprecedented move, the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday published an editorial written by its editors condemning the Trump administration for its response to the Covid-19 pandemic — and calling for the current leadership in the United States to be voted out of office.



Donald Trump looking at the camera: U.S. President Donald Trump leads a meeting with the White House Coronavirus Task Force and pharmaceutical executives in Cabinet Room of the White House on March 2, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump and his Coronavirus Task Force team met with pharmaceutical companies representatives who are actively working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.


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U.S. President Donald Trump leads a meeting with the White House Coronavirus Task Force and pharmaceutical executives in Cabinet Room of the White House on March 2, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump and his Coronavirus Task Force team met with pharmaceutical companies representatives who are actively working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We rarely publish editorials signed by all the editors,” said Dr. Eric Rubin, editor-in-chief of the medical journal and an author of the new editorial.

The editorial, which Rubin said was drafted in August, details how the United States leads the world in Covid-19 cases and deaths. So far, more than 7.5 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and more than 200,000 people have died of the disease.

“This crisis has produced a test of leadership. With no good options to combat a novel pathogen, countries were forced to make hard choices about how to respond. Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy,” the editorial says.

It does not endorse a candidate, but offers a scathing critique of the Trump administration’s leadership during the pandemic.

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“Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences. Our leaders have largely claimed immunity for their actions. But this election gives us the power to render judgment,” the editorial says. “When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.”

The New England Journal of Medicine began publishing in 1812. There have been only four previous editorials collectively signed by its editors in the recent past: one in 2014 about contraception; an obituary that same year for a former editor-in-chief; an editorial that year about standard-of-care research and an editorial in 2019 about abortion.

“The reason we’ve never published an editorial about elections is we’re not a political journal and I don’t think that we want to be a political journal — but the issue here is around fact, not around opinion. There have been many mistakes made that were not only foolish but reckless and I think we want people to realize that there are truths here, not just opinions,” Rubin said.

“For example, masks work. Social distancing works. Quarantine and isolation work. They’re not opinions. Deciding not to use them is

New England Journal of Medicine publishes first election stance in anti-Trump editorial

“Our leaders have largely claimed immunity for their actions,” said the piece, which was signed by 34 of the journal’s editors. “But this election gives us the power to render judgment.”

The journal has only published four other editorials signed by all the editors, including an obituary for longtime editor in chief Arnold S. Relman, who died in 2014. The three others, published in 2014 and 2019, tackled contraception access, abortion policy and draft guidance from the federal government on informed consent requirements in standard-of-care research. Never before have the journal’s editors collectively weighed in on an election, let alone a presidential race.

The coronavirus, which has now killed at least 211,000 Americans, changed that. Wednesday’s editorial argued that national leaders had the opportunity to limit the virus’s spread and prevent widespread illness, deaths and lasting economic turmoil.

“Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test,” the editorial said. “They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.”

The U.S. “leads the world in Covid-19 cases and in deaths due to the disease,” the editorial says. Its infection and death rates have outstripped those in China, where the pandemic began; in Japan, which has a large and vulnerable elderly population; and in Vietnam, which has fewer national resources. And testing has also lagged behind much of the world, the editorial said, when measured by tests performed per infected person.

“The magnitude of this failure is astonishing,” the editorial said. “We have failed at almost every step.”

Differing opinions on neutrality in the scientific community have led some journals to regularly weigh in on political issues and others to abstain almost entirely. NEJM’s editors previously remained mum on elections and most other political issues, in part to preserve the perception of neutrality and credibility behind the peer-reviewed science the journal publishes.

Wednesday’s editorial shifted that stance, deriding the administration for undermining experts and relying heavily on layman allies to promote policies that furthered Trump’s political aims.

“Our current leaders have undercut trust in science and in government, causing damage that will certainly outlast them,” they wrote. “Instead of relying on expertise, the administration has turned to uninformed ‘opinion leaders’ and charlatans who obscure the truth and facilitate the promulgation of outright lies.”

Officials in the Trump administration have tried to discredit and undermine some experts who have criticized the way the federal government responded to the pandemic. Last month, Michael Caputo, the top communications official for the Department of Health and Human Services, claimed scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were conspiring against the president and engaged in “sedition.” Others have tried to tightly control information about the state of the pandemic.

The NEJM isn’t the first science-focused publication pushed to weigh in on the election due to the tense relationship between the Trump administration and the scientific community. Scientific American also published a presidential endorsement for the first time in its October issue, urging its readers to vote for former vice president

Rebuking Trump, The New England Journal of Medicine calls for ousting the nation’s ‘dangerously incompetent’ leaders.

Throughout its 208-year history, The New England Journal of Medicine has remained staunchly nonpartisan. The world’s most prestigious medical journal has never supported or condemned a political candidate.

Until now.

In an editorial published on Wednesday, the journal said the Trump administration had responded so poorly to the coronavirus pandemic that it had “taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.”

The journal did not explicitly endorse former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, but that was the only possible inference, other scientists noted.

The N.E.J.M.’s editors join those of another influential journal, Scientific American, who last month endorsed Mr. Biden.

The political leadership has failed Americans in many ways that contrast vividly with responses from leaders in other countries, the editorial said.

In the United States, it said, there was too little testing for the virus, especially early on. There was too little protective equipment, and a lack of national leadership on important measures like mask wearing, social distancing, quarantine and isolation.

There were attempts to politicize and undermine the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the journal noted.

As a result, the United States has had tens of thousands of “excess” deaths — those caused both directly and indirectly by the pandemic — as well as immense economic pain and an increase in social inequality as the virus hit disadvantaged communities hardest.

The editorial castigated the Trump administration’s rejection of science. “Instead of relying on expertise, the administration has turned to uninformed ‘opinion leaders’ and charlatans who obscure the truth and facilitate the promulgation of outright lies.”

The uncharacteristically pungent editorial called for change: “When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.”

Scientific American, too, had never before endorsed a political candidate. “The pandemic would strain any nation and system, but Trump’s rejection of evidence and public health measures have been catastrophic,” the journal’s editors said.

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New England Journal of Medicine editorial takes aim at Trump administration: “This election gives us the power to render judgment”

The New England Journal of Medicine made a rare political move Wednesday, publishing an editorial by dozens of U.S. editors who denounced the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and said this election “gives us the power to render judgment.” 

The editorial, titled “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum,” does not explicitly endorse former Vice President Joe Biden, but the editors’ message is clear — the current leadership must change.

“Our current leaders have undercut trust in science and in government, causing damage that will certainly outlast them. Instead of relying on expertise, the administration has turned to uninformed ‘opinion leaders’ and charlatans who obscure the truth and facilitate the promulgation of outright lies,” the editorial says. 

“Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences,” the editorial added. “Our leaders have largely claimed immunity for their actions. But this election gives us the power to render judgment.”

The editorial notes that, while some deaths in the U.S. were inevitable, tens of thousands could have been saved with a better response. 

Meanwhile, President Trump is claiming personal victory over the virus, saying he feels great as he presumably continues to still be shedding the virus. The president said it was a “blessing from God” that he contracted COVID-19, so he can encourage greater access for the experimental drugs he used.

“I feel great. I feel like, perfect,” the president said in a four-minute video posted to Twitter. “I think this was a blessing from God, that I caught it. This was a blessing in disguise. I caught it, I heard about this drug, I said let me take it, it was my suggestion. I said, let me take it. And it was incredible the way it worked, incredible. And I think if I didn’t catch it, we’d be looking at that like a number of other drugs. But it really did a fantastic job. I want to get for you what I got. I’m going to make it free, you’re not going to pay for it.” 

Meanwhile, “isolation carts” have been set up in the West Wing, where staff can pull personal protective equipment in order to interact with the president. 

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New England Journal of Medicine blasts Trump officials’ response to virus, calls for new leaders

The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, in an unprecedented editorial, denounced the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and called for voting out “current political leaders” who are “dangerously incompetent.”

The harshly worded editorial is the first time the prestigious medical journal, which usually stays out of politics, has weighed in on an election.  

The editorial does not mention President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump and Biden’s plans would both add to the debt, analysis finds Trump says he will back specific relief measures hours after halting talks Trump lashes out at FDA over vaccine guidelines MORE by name, but it refers to “the administration” and calls for voting out “our current political leaders.”

“When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent,” the editorial states. “We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.”

The journal takes the Trump administration to task on a wide range of issues that it argues the U.S. has failed on, from inadequate testing to shortages of protective equipment for health workers. 

“We have failed at almost every step,” the editorial states. “We had ample warning, but when the disease first arrived, we were incapable of testing effectively and couldn’t provide even the most basic personal protective equipment to health care workers and the general public. And we continue to be way behind the curve in testing.”

The editorial also criticizes states for reopening businesses before the virus had been controlled and for a lack of mask-wearing, which it blames on leaders not modeling the behavior. Trump has rarely worn a mask during appearances for months and has mocked their use. 

“Our rules on social distancing have in many places been lackadaisical at best, with loosening of restrictions long before adequate disease control had been achieved,” it states. “And in much of the country, people simply don’t wear masks, largely because our leaders have stated outright that masks are political tools rather than effective infection control measures.”

The U.S. leads the world in cases and deaths from the virus, it notes. 

“The magnitude of this failure is astonishing,” the editors write. “According to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, the United States leads the world in Covid-19 cases and in deaths due to the disease, far exceeding the numbers in much larger countries, such as China.” 

It adds that countries like South Korea and Singapore were able to suppress the virus through robust testing and contact tracing, in contrast to the U.S.  

The journal also points to political pressure Trump has placed on health agencies ranging from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Food and Drug Administration, warning of the undermining of scientific expertise. 

“Our current leaders have undercut trust in science and in government, causing damage that will certainly outlast them,” it states.