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        {
            "slug": "hydroxychloroquine-and-coronavirus-what-you-need-k",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "Hydroxychloroquine and coronavirus: what you need to know",
            "entry": "<p>The hunt for drugs to rein in the coronavirus is, like so much else in this crisis, filled with uncertainty. President Donald Trump sees great promise in a compound called hydroxychloroquine. That&rsquo;s based on a couple of early trials in China and France that showed remarkable results after just a handful of days.</p>\n\n<p>Some medical experts echo Trump&rsquo;s enthusiasm, but many more do not. They say that the drug&rsquo;s benefit is still unproven. Meanwhile, the government has welcomed the <a href=\"https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/03/29/hhs-accepts-donations-of-medicine-to-strategic-national-stockpile-as-possible-treatments-for-covid-19-patients.html\">donation of 30 million doses</a> to the Strategic National Stockpile.</p>\n\n<p>Hydroxychloroquine, and its chemical cousin chloroquine, are well established drugs. Hydroxychloroquine is used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, while chloroquine helps with malaria. Both carry a particular risk for people with heart problems, plus other possible side effects.</p>\n\n<p>Trump has said the drug should be used. &quot;What have you got to lose?&quot; he asked. The answer could be more complicated than meets the eye.</p>\n\n<p>PolitiFact explored the science, risks, and government policy around hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine during the coronavirus outbreak. (We will update this story as necessary.)</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Why medical experts worry about Trump touting chloroquine</div>\n\n<p>Trump has touted chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus cure in more than a half-dozen public events since March 19. Medical experts are more cautious, citing lack of definitive medical evidence, significant side effects, and the impacts on patients with lupus and other diseases who already use the drug.</p>\n\n<p>Not long after Trump began touting chloroquine, an <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/24/blog-posting/drinking-chloroquine-fish-tank-cleaner-wont-stop-c/\">Arizona man died</a> and his wife was hospitalized after they ingested a fish-tank solvent that includes chloroquine phosphate. A few days later, the CDC released a <a href=\"https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2020/han00431.asp\">warning</a>, not just against using the fish-tank cleaner but also the drug chloroquine and its variants without a doctor&rsquo;s orders.</p>\n\n<p>In a <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/amastatement/\">statement to PolitiFact</a>, the American Medical Association seconded such concerns, saying it &quot;strongly opposes&quot; prescribing chloroquine as a preventive measure and also opposes pharmacies and hospitals &quot;purchasing excessive amounts&quot; of the medication.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Even if prescribed by a physician, I am not convinced that patients are being adequately screened or monitored for some of the more serious side effects, like cardiotoxicity,&quot; Joel F. Farley, associate head of the department of pharmaceutical care and health systems at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy</p>\n\n<p>In the meantime, focusing on one potential treatment could overshadow the nitty-gritty things Americans need to do on a daily basis to stay safe.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;My biggest concern is that people will believe there&rsquo;s some magic cure and not follow social distancing and other normal precautions in the belief that there&rsquo;s a drug to &lsquo;fix this,&rsquo;&quot; said Ally Dering-Anderson, a clinical associate professor at the University of Nebraska College of Pharmacy.</p>\n\n<p>Read more in <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/apr/07/why-medical-experts-worry-about-president-trump-to/\">this story</a>.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Does it work? Studies paint a mixed picture</div>\n\n<p>The interest in hydroxychloroquine comes from two small trials that suggested it helped a lot. One came from Wuhan in China and the other from Marseilles, France. The problem is, in two other trials, again from China and France, other researchers couldn&rsquo;t replicate the first results.</p>\n\n<p>The first promising <a href=\"https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.22.20040758v2\">Chinese study</a> said fevers and coughing fell within five days for a test group of about 30 patients. The <a href=\"https://www.mediterranee-infection.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-IHU-2-1.pdf\">Marseilles study</a> used hydroxychloroquine along with the drug azithromycin on 80 patients and reported that the virus was essentially gone in five days. The <a href=\"https://www.isac.world/news-and-publications/official-isac-statement\">research society</a> that published the French article later renounced it, saying it didn&rsquo;t meet its standards.</p>\n\n<p>But when doctors in <a href=\"http://www.zjujournals.com/med/EN/10.3785/j.issn.1008-9292.2020.03.03\">Shanghai</a> gave the same drug in the same doses to 15 COVID-19 patients, they found they were no more likely to rid the virus from their bodies than patients who had not received the hydroxychloroquine.</p>\n\n<p>Doctors <a href=\"https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0399077X20300858?via%3Dihub\">in Paris</a> confronted the same puzzle. They mimicked the Marseilles drug protocol with a group of 10 patients, and 80% still had the virus six days after treatment.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>It is possible that the earliest trials happened to pick people who were not badly hit by the virus, or that the follow-on trials happened to pick people who had a harder time fighting the disease. For now, the jury is out. Worldwide, <a href=\"https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?term=hydroxychloroquine&amp;recrs=ab&amp;cond=covid\">over 50 studies</a> are in the pipeline, exploring whether hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment, or alternatively, provides protection against catching the disease in the first place.</p>\n\n<p>You can <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/apr/07/heres-what-early-research-actually-says-about-hydr/\">learn&nbsp;more here</a>.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">FDA lets hospitals prescribe chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine&nbsp;</div>\n\n<p>Health care providers are allowed to prescribe chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients. But they must meet certain requirements set by the Food and Drug Administration.</p>\n\n<p>While there are officially no FDA-approved drugs to treat or prevent COVID-19, on March 28, the agency <a href=\"https://www.fda.gov/media/136534/download\">signed</a> an emergency authorization for the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat patients hospitalized with COVID-19.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>According to the FDA&rsquo;s order, the drug must come from the National Strategic Stockpile and be prescribed by a licensed health care provider. Additionally, the drug can be used only to treat adult and adolescent patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19 and weigh more than 110 pounds.</p>\n\n<p>Emergency-use authorizations are the FDA&rsquo;s way of suspending its rules regarding a certain drug. They <a href=\"https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-legal-regulatory-and-policy-framework/emergency-use-authorization\">are aimed specifically</a> at products that can help &quot;diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions.&quot; The agency <a href=\"https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-legal-regulatory-and-policy-framework/emergency-use-authorization#ebola\">issued</a> several similar authorizations during the 2014 Ebola epidemic.</p>\n\n<p>The FDA <a href=\"https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-legal-regulatory-and-policy-framework/emergency-use-authorization\">left it up to states</a> to decide whether they want to request chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine from the federal government, which ships the drugs through the Federal Emergency Management Administration. New York state, for example, <a href=\"https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/amid-ongoing-covid-19-pandemic-governor-cuomo-accepts-recommendation-army-corps-engineers-four\">had acquired</a> more than 800,000 doses of the drugs as of March 22. Michigan <a href=\"https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/03/31/michigan-requests-hydroxychloroquine-national-stockpile-covid-19/5094307002/\">has also requested</a> chloroquine.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">States restrict access to chloroquine</div>\n\n<p>Several states have moved to restrict access to chloroquine given how little scientists know about how it affects the coronavirus, as well the potential for stockpiling the drug.</p>\n\n<p>New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo <a href=\"https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-20210-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency\">signed an executive order</a> restricting the prescription of chloroquine except when prescribed for an FDA-approved indication, or as part of a state-approved clinical trial related to COVID-19. On March 27, he <a href=\"https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-20211-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency\">amended</a> those rules to allow health care providers to prescribe the drug for patients in hospitals and emergency rooms.</p>\n\n<p>That&rsquo;s similar to the approach of other states.</p>\n\n<p>In Nevada, Gov. Steve Sisolak <a href=\"https://www.reviewjournal.com/local/local-nevada/sisolak-signs-restriction-order-for-2-drugs-1990149/\">signed</a> an emergency regulation that safeguards the supply of chloroquine. The order prohibits doctors in outpatient settings from prescribing and dispensing the drugs for COVID-19 treatment. It also limits prescriptions to 30-day supplies.</p>\n\n<p>As several news outlets <a href=\"https://www.propublica.org/article/doctors-are-hoarding-unproven-coronavirus-medicine-by-writing-prescriptions-for-themselves-and-their-families\">have</a> <a href=\"https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/business/doctors-buying-coronavirus-drugs.html\">reported</a>, some physicians around the country have started to prescribe themselves chloroquine in order to hoard it for their families. That hoarding <a href=\"https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2020/03/23/health/bc-us-med-virus-outbreak-malaria-drug-evidence.html\">has led to drug shortages</a> in some parts of the country, <a href=\"https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/tanyachen/kaiser-permanente-lupus-chloroquine\">affecting patients</a> who take chloroquine regularly to treat conditions like lupus and arthritis.</p>\n\n<p>Michigan has also moved to prevent people from stockpiling chloroquine, though it has not taken regulatory action like New York and Nevada.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs <a href=\"https://www.michigan.gov/documents/lara/Reminder_of_Appropriate_Prescribing_and_Dispensing_3-24-2020_684869_7.pdf\">sent a letter</a> to health care providers saying it had received &quot;multiple allegations of Michigan physicians inappropriately prescribing hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine to themselves, family, friends, and/or coworkers without a legitimate medical purpose.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>In <a href=\"https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-89505-523363--,00.html\">a follow-up statement</a> days later, the department said the purpose of the correspondence was &quot;to remind both prescribers and dispensers of their continued obligation to adhere to the standards of practice.&quot; On March 31, the state shifted course, <a href=\"https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/03/31/michigan-requests-hydroxychloroquine-national-stockpile-covid-19/5094307002/\">requesting</a> chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine from the Strategic National Stockpile based on the FDA emergency use authorization.</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://nashp.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/State-covid-drug-chart-3-27-2020.pdf\">According to</a> the National Academy for State Health Policy, as of March 27, Ohio, Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina and Texas had restricted access to chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. Louisiana, Kansas and Missouri had issued recommendations for prescribing the drugs.</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-04-08T09:54:54-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "heres-what-early-research-actually-says-about-hydr",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "What early research actually says about hydroxychloroquine and the coronavirus",
            "entry": "<p>For President Donald Trump and members of his inner circle, hydroxychloroquine stands out as a bright point of hope in the fight against the coronavirus. His personal lawyer Rudy Giulinani has been touting it as a key weapon in the public health arsenal. So has <a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/what-do-you-have-to-lose-inside-trumps-embrace-of-a-risky-drug-against-coronavirus/2020/04/06/0a744d7e-781f-11ea-a130-df573469f094_story.html\">Fox News host Laura Ingraham</a>, who pitched the drug to Trump at a White House meeting.</p>\n\n<p>The medical community warns that while hydroxychloroquine and its chemical cousin chloroquine have been used for a long time, neither has been proven effective against COVID-19.</p>\n\n<p>Doctors use hydroxychloroquine to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Chloroquine is used to treat malaria, according to the <a href=\"https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/therapeutic-options.html\">Centers for Disease Control and Prevention</a>.</p>\n\n<p>Hydroxychloroquine is more widely available in the United States, and the hopes for it rest on a pair of preliminary studies. While those are getting a lot of attention, there are other early studies that say the drug makes no difference at all.</p>\n\n<p>The big picture is that it is too early to tell. Here&rsquo;s what we know so far.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Two studies from China reach opposite conclusions</div>\n\n<p><strong>Promising study:</strong> A group of doctors at <a href=\"https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.22.20040758v2\">Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University</a>, the city that became ground zero for COVID-19 at the end of last year, randomly divided 62 patients into two groups. One received 400 milligrams of hydroxychloroquine for five days, and the other group did not.</p>\n\n<p>After five days, the body temperature and cough went down faster in the treatment group. The authors gave no details on the initial severity of the disease in each group.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The doctors wrote &quot;the use of (hydroxychloroquine) could significantly shorten time to clinical recovery and promote the absorption of pneumonia.&quot;</p>\n\n<p><strong>Study showing no difference:</strong> A separate group of doctors at <a href=\"http://www.zjujournals.com/med/EN/10.3785/j.issn.1008-9292.2020.03.03\">Fudan University in Shanghai</a> also used a 400 milligram daily dose. They randomly assigned 30 patients to two groups &mdash; a test group and a conventional treatment group.</p>\n\n<p>After seven days, they checked the level of the virus in everyone. The virus essentially disappeared in 87% of the test group. But it also went away for 93% in the control group.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>In short, the hydroxychloroquine had no discernible benefit.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Two studies from France reach opposite conclusions</div>\n\n<p><strong>Promising study:</strong> In a hospital <a href=\"https://www.mediterranee-infection.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-IHU-2-1.pdf\">study out of Marseilles</a>, France, 80 people with COVID-19 were given a combination of hydroxychloroquine and another drug azithromycin. The hydroxychloroquine dose was a bit higher than in the Chinese studies, 600 milligrams a day for 10 days, plus an initial dose of 500 milligrams of azithromycin, followed by 250 milligrams for four days.</p>\n\n<p>By the fifth day, over 95% of the patients tested negative for the virus.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;We confirm the efficacy,&quot; and the &quot;potential effectiveness in the early impairment of contagiousness,&quot; the researchers wrote March 12.</p>\n\n<p>But there are issues with this study. There was no control group, so there is no comparison with patients, who, except for getting the drug treatment, were basically the same as the test group.</p>\n\n<p>Also, only 15% of the patients had fevers, a key sign of how hard the disease is hitting a person&rsquo;s body. This suggests &quot;these patients likely would have naturally cleared the virus without any intervention,&quot; wrote University of Maryland biochemist Katherine Seley-Radtke <a href=\"http://theconversation.com/a-small-trial-finds-that-hydroxychloroquine-is-not-effective-for-treating-coronavirus-135484\">in The Conversation</a>.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The journal where the study first appeared <a href=\"https://www.isac.world/news-and-publications/official-isac-statement\">said April 3</a> that the article fell short of the group&rsquo;s &quot;expected standard.&quot; It specifically noted lapses in the selection of participating patients.</p>\n\n<p><strong>Study showing no difference:</strong> Doctors at a <a href=\"https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0399077X20300858?via%3Dihub\">hospital in Paris</a> used the same treatment as the Marseilles study on 10 patients and found no marked improvement. Testing showed 80% of the patients still had the virus six days after treatment began.</p>\n\n<p>The results &quot;cast doubts about the strong antiviral efficacy of this combination,&quot; the authors wrote March 30.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Ongoing studies</div>\n\n<p>To date, all the public has now are conflicting studies. Many <a href=\"https://www.yalemedicine.org/stories/hydroxychloroquine-and-chloroquine-treat-covid-19/\">researchers</a> say <a href=\"https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2764199/use-hydroxychloroquine-chloroquine-during-covid-19-pandemic-what-every-clinician\">that the country will need to wait</a> for hard information to determine whether hydroxychloroquine has an effect.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The <a href=\"https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-legal-regulatory-and-policy-framework/emergency-use-authorization\">FDA</a> has approved emergency use, and the <a href=\"https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?term=hydroxychloroquine&amp;recrs=ab&amp;cond=covid\">National Institutes of Health</a> lists over 50 studies underway worldwide. Some test the drug in combination with other drugs, some focus on people with mild symptoms, and some on more serious cases. Collectively, they cover a range of situations and approaches.</p>\n\n<p><em><strong>RELATED:</strong></em> <em><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/apr/07/why-medical-experts-worry-about-president-trump-to/\">Why medical experts worry about Trump touting chloroquine</a></em></p>\n\n<p>Doctors are cautious with the drug because it can cause heart damage, throwing off the heartbeat or reducing blood flow. In the Marseilles study, doctors stopped the trial for several patients when they spotted signs of distress.</p>\n\n<p>There are two main tracks to see what hydroxychloroquine, either alone or mixed with other drugs, can do. There are efforts to see if it helps treat the disease. The <a href=\"https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/03/1059722\">World Health Organization</a> has a multinational project on that front.</p>\n\n<p>Then there is prevention. The <a href=\"https://www.gatesfoundation.org/TheOptimist/Articles/coronavirus-interview-trevor-mundel-drug-trials\">Gates Foundation</a> is spearheading a two-month study in the United States to see if hydroxychloroquine can stop health care providers who are exposed to the virus daily from getting COVID-19.</p>\n\n<p><em>This article was updated shortly after publication to include a link to the original journal saying the article about the Marseilles study fell short of its standards.</em></p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-04-07T16:35:48-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "why-medical-experts-worry-about-president-trump-to",
            "personalities": [
                {
                    "slug": "donald-trump",
                    "full_name": "Donald Trump",
                    "first_name": "Donald",
                    "last_name": "Trump"
                }
            ],
            "headline": "Why medical experts worry about President Trump touting chloroquine",
            "entry": "<p>In more than half a dozen public events since March 19, President Donald Trump has touted a possible treatment for coronavirus infection &mdash; using the malaria drug chloroquine or a related drug hydroxychloroquine, sometimes in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;I hope they use the hydroxychloroquine, and they can also do it with Z-Pak (azithromycin), subject to your doctor&#39;s approval and all of that,&quot; Trump <a href=\"https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-vice-president-pence-members-coronavirus-task-force-press-briefing-19/?utm_source=link&amp;utm_medium=header\">said at</a> an April 4 briefing. &quot;But I hope they use it, because I&#39;ll tell you what: What do you have to lose?&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Trump reiterated praise for chloroquine in his April 5 briefing: &quot;A lot of people are saying that &hellip; if you&rsquo;re a doctor, a nurse, a first responder, a medical person going into hospitals, they say taking it before the fact is good.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>When a reporter asked Trump for &quot;the conclusive medical evidence&quot; to support his optimism, Trump dismissed the question as &quot;fake news.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Trump isn&rsquo;t wrong that this drug combination might prove helpful, at least based on preliminary evidence. The treatment is currently being <a href=\"https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-continues-facilitate-development-treatments\">studied</a> in clinical trials, according to the <a href=\"https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/therapeutic-options.html\">Centers for Disease Control and Prevention</a>.</p>\n\n<p>But randomized tests &mdash; the gold standard of medical evidence &mdash; have not been completed, and the lack of rigorous testing as a treatment against coronavirus has led many medical experts to be more cautious than the president. The drug has significant side effects, <a href=\"https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/009768s037s045s047lbl.pdf\">including</a> damage to the heart and nervous system and suicidal thoughts. And a run on chloroquine could harm patients with lupus and other diseases that the drug is already used for.</p>\n\n<p>Some medical experts are concerned that the president&rsquo;s words from a White House lectern may be skewing Americans&rsquo; perceptions of the best way to fight coronavirus.</p>\n\n<p>Not long after Trump began touting chloroquine, an <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/24/blog-posting/drinking-chloroquine-fish-tank-cleaner-wont-stop-c/\">Arizona man died</a> and his wife was hospitalized after they ingested a fish-tank solvent that includes chloroquine phosphate. The woman <a href=\"https://twitter.com/VaughnHillyard/status/1242258629278875648\">told NBC News</a> that they thought the compound was the same as the one Trump cited. Fish-tank cleaners are not the same as the drugs used for malaria, nor are they suitable for human consumption.</p>\n\n<p>A few days later, the CDC released a <a href=\"https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2020/han00431.asp\">warning</a>, not just against using the fish-tank cleaner but also the malaria drug itself without a doctor&rsquo;s orders.</p>\n\n<p>In a <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/amastatement/\">statement to PolitiFact</a>, the American Medical Association seconded such concerns, saying that no medication has yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for patients with coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. The association said it &quot;strongly opposes&quot; prescribing chloroquine as a preventive measure and also opposes pharmacies and hospitals &quot;purchasing excessive amounts&quot; of the medication.</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 1 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p><em>President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus at the White House on April 3, 2020. (AP)</em></p>\n\n<p>On several occasions, Trump has reminded viewers of his briefings to consult with doctors about treatments. But at other times, he has trumpeted his own confidence in chloroquine as a treatment.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;I&#39;ve seen things that I sort of like,&quot; he has said. &quot;So what do I know? I&#39;m not a doctor. I&#39;m not a doctor. But I have common sense.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Experts said Trump&rsquo;s high-profile endorsement risked overshadowing the views of medical experts.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;The evidence just isn&#39;t there yet to prove that these drugs work, and while the risks from inappropriately prescribing them are rare, they can be serious,&quot; said Joel F. Farley, associate head of the department of pharmaceutical care and health systems at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Farley said he even worries about patients going through proper channels.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Even if prescribed by a physician, I am not convinced that patients are being adequately screened or monitored for some of the more serious side effects, like cardiotoxicity,&quot; he said. &quot;I have heard anecdotal reports of physicians prescribing these medications for friends and family members, which doesn&#39;t always come with an appropriate physical or health screening.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Another worry among medical specialists is the possible stockpiling of chloroquine. This could harm patients with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, who depend on the drug to treat their own conditions. &quot;Being just stewards of limited resources is essential,&quot; the American Medical Association said in its statement.</p>\n\n<p>Finally, focusing on one potential treatment could overshadow the nitty-gritty things Americans need to do on a daily basis to stay safe.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;My biggest concern is that people will believe there&rsquo;s some magic cure and not follow social distancing and other normal precautions in the belief that there&rsquo;s a drug to &lsquo;fix this,&rsquo;&quot; said Ally Dering-Anderson, a clinical associate professor at the University of Nebraska College of Pharmacy.&nbsp;</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-04-07T11:11:32-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "race-create-coronavirus-vaccine-primer",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "The race to create a coronavirus vaccine: A primer",
            "entry": "<p>As Americans retreat under orders to stay-at-home and stay socially distant, it&rsquo;s hard to think too far in the future. But there&rsquo;s one group of medical experts who are firmly focused on what is to come: Vaccine researchers.</p>\n\n<p>Most public officials have made clear not to expect a vaccine in the next few months. Even with an accelerated timetable, it takes time to make certain that a vaccine is safe and effective.</p>\n\n<p>Here, we&rsquo;ve summarized a discussion of coronavirus vaccine research with two researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine: Kathleen Neuzil, director of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, and Wilbur Chen, an adult infectious disease expert with the same center. The discussion was sponsored by the National Press Foundation on April 3.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">How long does it typically take to develop a vaccine?</div>\n\n<p>It&rsquo;s not unusual for vaccine development timelines to take 10 to 15 years, Chen said.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Generally, a vaccine trial has several phases. In an initial phase, lasting about six months, the vaccine is given to roughly 50 to 100 healthy volunteers. The focus in this phase is to make sure the vaccine is safe for general use, or to note whether bad reactions occur.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>In the second phase, lasting six to 12 months, the number of volunteers is expanded to the hundreds. In addition to monitoring the vaccine for safety, researchers try to determine whether the shot produces an immune-system response.</p>\n\n<p>The third phase can last from one to three years and involves thousands of patients, and it may require several rounds that focus on specific subgroups. This phase continues the goals of the first two, but it also collects data on more unusual negative interactions.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Is the current quest for a vaccine operating on a faster timetable?</div>\n\n<p>Yes. The first U.S. clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine began in March, meaning they were up and running just a couple of months after the virus was detected &mdash; an unusually quick start. There is also a separate vaccine being tested in China.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;When we have a pandemic, we try to truncate everything,&quot; Chen said. That was done in the case of Ebola virus outbreaks in recent years, and with the coronavirus pandemic, the timeline will be pushed even more, he said.</p>\n\n<p>For coronavirus, &quot;it could end up being less than 18 months, closer to 12, or in the absolutely best case, maybe less than that,&quot; Neuzil said. That would be &quot;a tremendous feat,&quot; she said.</p>\n\n<p>Neuzil said she expects that there will be &quot;more, and ideally many more,&quot; vaccines to begin clinical trials in the coming months. It&rsquo;s beneficial to simultaneously test a range of experimental vaccines to maximize the chance that at least one will work.</p>\n\n<p>In addition, having a lot of options makes it possible that a later design might offer practical improvements &mdash; ease of administering the shot, or cost of production &mdash; over the first effective vaccine on the market.</p>\n\n<p>If all goes well, Neuzil said, there may be five or six vaccines in trials by six from months from now. &quot;It could be higher,&quot; she said. &quot;A couple are getting close.&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">How did the U.S. vaccine now being tested get such a quick start?</div>\n\n<p>Partly, it had to do with pandemic-related flexibility granted to federal regulators. But a big reason is that the vaccine being tested is an update of a vaccine format that has been used safely and successfully against other illnesses. Vaccines with more novel designs would typically require more extensive testing before bringing them to market.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">In normal times, what percentage of vaccines end up becoming successful?</div>\n\n<p>Only about 5% to 10%, Neuzil said.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>When a vaccine fails, it&rsquo;s usually not because of safety concerns, she said. More likely, it didn&rsquo;t produce enough of an immune response to be useful in combating the germs it&rsquo;s targeting. In other cases, the problem comes from difficulty in manufacturing it economically, given the demand. The latter shouldn&rsquo;t be a problem with the coronavirus, since demand will be sky high globally.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">How hard is it to manufacture enough doses once a vaccine is approved?</div>\n\n<p>Vaccines based on a familiar design will be easier to produce, Neuzil said. Another factor that could speed up the process is if manufacturers, possibly with government backing, begin to build out their production capacity before the vaccine is approved.</p>\n\n<p>Also, because of the urgency of the pandemic, different companies in different countries may collaborate on production, maximizing the number of doses that can be produced in parallel. There&rsquo;s precedent for this &quot;technology transfer&quot; approach; a cholera vaccine is being produced by multiple manufacturers, Chen said.</p>\n\n<p>The good news is that demand will be high, making it easier for vaccine manufacturers to make these decisions.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">How much do we know about whether people will have permanent immunity after getting a vaccination, or whether booster shots will be needed?</div>\n\n<p>We don&rsquo;t know yet. &quot;We&rsquo;ve only known about this virus for less than four months,&quot; Neuzil said. &quot;It&rsquo;s impossible to answer this question until we have some longer-term data.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Scientists do have some hints from previous coronaviruses that circulated in recent years. For some of those, immunity only lasts six to 12 months. If that&rsquo;s the case with COVID-19, vaccinations may be an annual rite, or more frequently, just as influenza shots are.</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-04-06T09:56:49-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "fact-checking-jared-kushners-comments-national-sto",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "Fact-checking Jared Kushner’s comments on the national stockpile",
            "entry": "<p>In a White House COVID-19 briefing, Jared Kushner picked up on President Donald Trump&rsquo;s theme that the states should do more to obtain medical supplies rather than rely on the federal stockpile.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;You also have a situation where in some states, FEMA allocated ventilators to the states and you have instances where in cities they&rsquo;re running out, but the state still has a stockpile and the notion of the federal stockpile was, it&rsquo;s supposed to be our stockpile,&quot;<a href=\"https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/donald-trump-coronavirus-task-force-briefing-april-2\"> said Kushner, Trump&rsquo;s son-in-law and adviser, April 2.</a> &quot;It&rsquo;s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Read in isolation, Kushner&rsquo;s statement sounded like he wasn&rsquo;t familiar with the purpose of the national stockpile, which is clearly to help states in an emergency. (At the time, the website about the stockpile flatly contradicted him.)</p>\n\n<p>But Kushner made other comments during the press conference that showed he knows the national stockpile is used to help provide states with supplies such as masks or ventilators. Kushner&rsquo;s point was that local officials are requesting items that they don&rsquo;t need.</p>\n\n<p>For example, Kushner said a hospital asked a congressman for 250 ventilators even though there were no COVID-19 patients in the counties near that hospital.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;So, what you have all over the country is a lot of people are asking for things that they don&rsquo;t necessarily need at the moment,&quot; he said.</p>\n\n<p>Kushner added that the job of the federal government is to make sure it gets real data from cities and states so &quot;that we can make real-time allocation decisions based on the data.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Kushner&rsquo;s comments about the federal stockpile prompted <a href=\"https://www.huffpost.com/entry/jared-kushner-stockpile_n_5e86dca8c5b6a949183425ca\">critics</a> to note that the federal government&rsquo;s own description of the national stockpile stated that when &quot;state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency.&quot; By the next day, the federal government <a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/04/03/jared-kushner-stands-trump-proceeds-offer-very-trumpian-claim-about-stockpiles/\">changed its online description of the stockpile</a>.</p>\n\n<p>Ali Khan, a University of Nebraska epidemiologist and former director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, called Kushner&rsquo;s comments a &quot;semantics issue.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Cities, counties, states and the nations have a cascading responsibility for disasters,&quot; he said. &quot;For all emergencies you deplete local resources and recruit new resources in an escalating hierarchy before going to the feds.&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">The Strategic National Stockpile is intended to help the states</div>\n\n<p>The Strategic National Stockpile was <a href=\"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NYnlJbHUno&amp;feature=youtu.be\">first created in 1999 </a>and started out in response to preparing for chemical, radiological, biological or nuclear attacks. It expanded to respond to <a href=\"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NYnlJbHUno&amp;feature=youtu.be\">terrorism attacks</a>, hurricanes, the H1N1 flu and ebola.</p>\n\n<p>The location of the $8 billion stockpile is secret.</p>\n\n<p>When we looked on the morning of April 3, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website described the stockpile this way: &quot;Strategic National Stockpile is the nation&rsquo;s largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out. When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Later that same day, the <a href=\"https://www.phe.gov/about/sns/Pages/default.aspx\">language on the website&rsquo;s homepage </a>was changed to emphasize the states&rsquo; roles in finding their own supplies:</p>\n\n<p>&quot;The Strategic National Stockpile&#39;s role is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies. Many states have products stockpiled, as well. The supplies, medicines, and devices for life-saving care contained in the stockpile can be used as a short-term stopgap buffer when the immediate supply of adequate amounts of these materials may not be immediately available.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The Department of <a href=\"https://twitter.com/SpoxHHS/status/1246147088624300035\">Health and Human Services said</a> federal officials began working to update that language a week earlier to explain the role of the stockpile, and that it had used that language when communicating with the press for weeks.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>We have no way of independently verifying when federal officials first started working to update the description of the stockpile. However, <a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/face-masks-in-national-stockpile-have-not-been-substantially-replenished-since-2009/2020/03/10/57e57316-60c9-11ea-8baf-519cedb6ccd9_story.html\">HHS </a>did provide a similar statement to the <a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/face-masks-in-national-stockpile-have-not-been-substantially-replenished-since-2009/2020/03/10/57e57316-60c9-11ea-8baf-519cedb6ccd9_story.html\">Washington Post in March</a>.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Federal and state responsibilities</div>\n\n<p>The entire purpose of the federal stockpile is to provide supplies to state and localities, said&nbsp;Ellen Carlin, a professor at Georgetown University&rsquo;s Center for Global Health Science and Security.</p>\n\n<p>Kushner might have been intending to say the federal stockpile is meant to complement state stockpiles, she said.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;There has been discussion around this lately, with some arguing that it is not the federal government&rsquo;s job alone to ensure that states have the supplies they need in an emergency,&quot; she said. &quot;This is true.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>But the reality is that state budget deficits combined with the dire state of public health for over a decade makes state stockpiles a limited reality,&nbsp; she said.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;While states do bear responsibility for preparedness, it is truly difficult to imagine, with their squeezed public health budgets, that they would fund what is a very expensive venture of creating and sustaining a stockpile big enough for a state-wide pandemic,&quot; she said. &quot;The federal government&rsquo;s purchasing power is second to none, and it should have been leveraging that power much more significantly. Fiscally, it doesn&rsquo;t make much sense for 50 states to each negotiate with companies for supplies &mdash; prices could go through the roof.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The federal government knew that states would not have their own stockpiles to deal with such an emergency, and &quot;now they are trying to cast the blame elsewhere,&quot; she said.</p>\n\n<p>Former government officials have said the national stockpile can&rsquo;t provide all of the supplies, which are based on the funding provided by Congress.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;The Strategic National Stockpile is not designed to be the sole solution to these problems,&quot; Greg Burel, who directed the stockpile program for more than 12 years until he retired in January, told <a href=\"https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-care/why-strategic-national-stockpile-isn-t-meant-solve-crisis-coronavirus-n1170376\">NBC News.</a></p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.iqt.org/our-history/\">Tara O&#39;Toole</a>, a former homeland security official, told <a href=\"https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/03/14/814121891/why-even-a-huge-medical-stockpile-will-be-of-limited-use-against-covid-19\">NPR</a> that the stockpile can never be big enough to replace the supply chains.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;It&#39;s a bridge,&quot; she says. &quot;It&#39;s not a replacement for the private sector.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/mar/30/federal-pandemic-money-fell-years-trumps-budgets-d/\">weaknesses of the stockpile</a> and the competing demands.</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/mar/30/federal-pandemic-money-fell-years-trumps-budgets-d/\"><em><strong>RELATED: </strong></em>Federal pandemic money fell for years. Trump&rsquo;s budgets didn&rsquo;t help</a></p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.rand.org/about/people/g/gerstein_daniel_m.html\">Daniel Gerstein</a>, an expert in biodefense at Rand Corp. who previously worked at Homeland Security, told PolitFact that in such an emergency, local government responds first, and when their capacity is exceeded, the states provide support. When the state capacity is exhausted, states can ask the federal government for support.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;In fact, the states and locals have come to depend on the Strategic National Stockpile as a means of support,&quot; he said.</p>\n\n<p>Trump told governors in mid March that they should order their own supplies. In the press conference with Kushner, Trump continued on that theme and said that while the federal government has been providing supplies, &quot;We&rsquo;re a backup. We&rsquo;re not an ordering clerk. We&rsquo;re a back up, and we&rsquo;ve done an unbelievable job.&quot;</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/apr/01/are-states-bidding-war-over-medical-gear-feds/\">Many governors have said</a> they did follow Trump&rsquo;s directive starting in March to order supplies on their own, but ended up in bidding wars with other states or the federal government.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p><br>\n&nbsp;</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-04-03T17:24:00-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "week-fact-checking-homemade-masks-pandemic-funding",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "The week in fact-checking: Homemade masks, pandemic funding, fact-checking highlights",
            "entry": "<p><strong>The week in fact-checking highlights short summaries of our best work; the links will take you to our full reports.&nbsp;</strong></p>\n\n<p><strong>This week:</strong> <em>Does a mask protect the wearer, or everybody else? ... International Fact-checking Day ... No, Congress didn&#39;t give itself a raise ... Trump wrong on inheriting a broken test ... A history of federal money for pandemics</em></p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Are homemade face masks effective against COVID-19?</div>\n\n<p>Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, public health officials have advised healthy Americans not to wear face masks. The reason: There&rsquo;s a shortage of masks, and they should be reserved for health care workers.</p>\n\n<p>But wearing a surgical mask can prevent people from infecting others &mdash; even if they aren&rsquo;t showing any coronavirus symptoms. So <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/apr/01/are-homemade-face-masks-effective-against-covid-19/\">the CDC guidance may change soon</a>.</p>\n\n<p>In the meantime, homemade masks have become so popular that online groups of avid sewers are coordinating their efforts to provide protection for health care providers.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Several readers asked PolitiFact about whether DIY masks are as effective at preventing the transmission of COVID-19.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Face masks do not block some of the very fine particles in the air that may be transmitted by coughs or sneezes. That means they&rsquo;re not a reliable way of preventing someone from contracting the airborne coronavirus particles and getting COVID. But masks do prevent the spread of larger respiratory droplets, so they are effective at preventing an infected person from spreading the virus.</p>\n\n<p>Studies show that cloth masks aren&rsquo;t as good as surgical masks, but they do seem to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>People who have the coronavirus may not exhibit symptoms for up to 14 days after exposure, so the CDC may soon advise everyone to wear masks in public, just in case they&rsquo;re sick. In that case, if you&rsquo;re going out in public, wearing something is better than nothing.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Happy International Fact-checking Day!</div>\n\n<p>We&rsquo;re all fact-checkers now.</p>\n\n<p>In these days of COVID-19, everything needs to be fact-checked. Posts on social media need fact-checking. Texts and messages from friends and family need fact-checking. The president needs fact-checking at his daily press conferences.</p>\n\n<p>It&#39;s why we&nbsp;celebrated&nbsp;April 2&nbsp;as International Fact-checking Day. In a message to our readers, we&nbsp;reflected on the importance of fact-checking and why it matters now more than ever. <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/apr/02/time-coronavirus-were-all-fact-checkers-now/\">Read our&nbsp;message in its entirety</a>.</p>\n\n<p>The bottom line is this: Are we willing to use evidence, reason, science and logic to govern our actions? Or do we react on impulse and emotionally, often out of an intense flash of fear or anger? Do we use prudence and thoughtfulness to come to a decision, or do we indulge our instincts and then stick to our stance no matter what?&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>If you&rsquo;re reading this, we&nbsp;hope we&nbsp;can put you down for the side of evidence, reason and logic. That&rsquo;s what we celebrated on International Fact-checking Day.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Fact-checks of the week</div>\n\n<p><strong>Did the coronavirus stimulus give Congress a raise? No. </strong>Contrary to posts on social media, no version of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act gave pay raises to members of Congress. <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/30/facebook-posts/congress-did-not-give-itself-raise-coronavirus-sti/\">We rated the claim Pants on Fire!</a> The House and Senate are slated to receive $35 million from the stimulus. The money will go toward offsetting the costs of maintaining congressional law enforcement and child care staff, as well as improving teleworking capabilities.</p>\n\n<p><strong>Trump is wrong that New York turned down ventilators in 2015: </strong>President Donald Trump didn&rsquo;t like that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on TV that the federal government should help find ventilators for New Yorkers with COVID-19. &quot;Right here, I just got this out,&quot; Trump said March 24, shuffling through papers. &quot;This says New York Governor Cuomo rejected buying recommended 16,000 ventilators in 2015 for the pandemic, for a pandemic, established death panels and lotteries instead. So, he had a chance to buy, in 2015, 16,000 ventilators at a very low price and he turned it down.&quot; <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/25/donald-trump/donald-trump-misses-key-facts-claim-new-york-gover/\">We rated that False</a>. A 2015 New York state report said that in the case of a &quot;severe&quot; pandemic, the state would be short about 16,000 ventilators. But the report did not recommend buying ventilators, and did not indicate whether the state was at a position to purchase them.</p>\n\n<p><strong>Trump said he &quot;inherited&quot; a broken COVID-19 test: </strong>&quot;When CDC first looked at their test, the biggest problem they had is, the test didn&rsquo;t work. That wasn&rsquo;t from us. That&rsquo;s been there a long time. Now we have the best tests in the world.&quot; <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/31/donald-trump/trump-blames-past-administrations-flawed-covid-19-/\">We rated that Pants on Fire</a>. China reported a totally new viral disease, now called COVID-19, on Dec. 31, 2019. The U.S. government began sending test kits out on Feb. 5, 2020. There was no inherited test because a test couldn&rsquo;t be created until the new virus had emerged.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Federal pandemic money fell for years before Trump</div>\n\n<p>President Donald Trump&rsquo;s critics have charged that he undermined efforts that could have helped the nation respond faster and better to the coronavirus. He&rsquo;s been criticized for downgrading the focus on pandemic threats on the National Security Council and chastised for seeking budget cuts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/mar/30/federal-pandemic-money-fell-years-trumps-budgets-d/\">That isn&rsquo;t the full story</a> of U.S. pandemic preparedness.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The broader picture is that money to prepare for this day has steadily dwindled over the past 15 years &mdash; across three presidents and many sessions of Congress.</p>\n\n<p>Over the years, Washington put more emphasis on fighting predictable problems, like the seasonal flu, and outright aggression in the form of chemical, biological and radiological terrorism.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>As the first cases emerged in the United States, Democrats criticized Trump&rsquo;s preparedness on two fronts: He eliminated a key office in the National Security Council, and he tried to cut the CDC&rsquo;s budget.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The budget claims have merit. The complaints about the National Security Council&nbsp; are reasonable, but could be more organizational streamlining than a loss of capability.</p>\n\n<p>Congress ignored the president&rsquo;s budget plans and largely kept the flow of dollars steady, even increasing them slightly. <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/mar/30/federal-pandemic-money-fell-years-trumps-budgets-d/\">Read our full story for details</a>.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Reader question: Will the coronavirus wilt in summer heat?</div>\n\n<p>As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on around the world, people are grasping for any sign that an end is in sight.</p>\n\n<p>One popular ray of hope: warm weather. After all, the seasonal flu and milder strains in the coronavirus family tend to spike in winter and dwindle in spring.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Will the novel coronavirus also work that way? <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/mar/30/will-coronavirus-wilt-summer-heat-maybe-dont-count/\">Experts say don&rsquo;t get your hopes up.&nbsp;</a></p>\n\n<ul>\n\t<li>\n\t<p>While the seasonal flu typically weakens during summer months, medical experts say they don&rsquo;t know if COVID-19 will behave the same way, since the strain is so new and it&rsquo;s not a flu virus.</p>\n\t</li>\n\t<li>\n\t<p>According to new research from Europe, high reproductive numbers of the novel coronavirus were observed in dry, cold areas as well as tropical areas with high humidity.</p>\n\t</li>\n\t<li>\n\t<p>Experts warn people to not count on the weather, but say it&rsquo;s possible COVID-19 infections may slow in the summer for various reasons, including built-up immunity and the results of social distancing.</p>\n\t</li>\n</ul>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Pants on Fire!</div>\n\n<p>Do you smell smoke?&nbsp;Here&#39;s your Pants on Fire fact-check of the week:&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/31/facebook-posts/dont-fall-these-hoaxes-about-students-having-repea/\">Don&rsquo;t believe hoaxes about students having to repeat their grade because schools are closed.</a>&nbsp;(At least not yet.)</p>\n\n<p>See what else we&#39;ve rated <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/rulings/pants-fire/\">Pants on Fire</a> this week.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p><strong>RELATED:</strong> <em>Get the week in fact-checking early and in your inbox by signing up for PolitiFact&rsquo;s free weekly email. <a href=\"http://politifact.com/signup/\">Sign up here</a>.&nbsp;</em></p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-04-03T17:11:35-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "politifact-wisconsins-high-five-march-2020",
            "personalities": [
                {
                    "slug": "donald-trump",
                    "full_name": "Donald Trump",
                    "first_name": "Donald",
                    "last_name": "Trump"
                },
                {
                    "slug": "robin-vos",
                    "full_name": "Robin Vos",
                    "first_name": "Robin",
                    "last_name": "Vos"
                },
                {
                    "slug": "scott-walker",
                    "full_name": "Scott Walker",
                    "first_name": "Scott",
                    "last_name": "Walker"
                }
            ],
            "headline": "PolitiFact Wisconsin's 'High Five' for March 2020",
            "entry": "<p>Given the massive impact of the coronavirus, and efforts by elected officials to fight the global pandemic, it should come as little surprise that a virus-related item topped PolitiFact Wisconsin&rsquo;s list of most-clicked items for March 2020.</p>\n\n<p>Here is a look at our monthly &quot;High Five.&quot;</p>\n\n<p><strong>1.&nbsp; Kenosha Democratic Party: &quot;WI is the ONLY state where all Republicans voted against protecting its citizens.&quot;&nbsp;</strong></p>\n\n<p>This Facebook post followed approval of an early emergency measure that was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 18, 2020. The bill passed 363-40 in the House and 90-8 in the Senate.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Indeed, all five Republicans in the Wisconsin delegation cast a &quot;no&quot; vote, while all four state Democrats voted for the bill.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>That clean sweep of Republican &quot;no&quot; votes was unique around the country, but it&nbsp; was a bit of an exaggeration to summarize their positions as a vote &quot;against protecting (Wisconsin) citizens.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>We rated the claim <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/20/facebook-posts/yes-wisconsin-only-state-where-all-republicans-opp/\">Mostly True</a>.</p>\n\n<p><strong>2.&nbsp; State Rep. Gae Magnafici, R-Dresser: &quot;More people have died from knowing Hillary&quot; than coronavirus.</strong></p>\n\n<p>When we contacted Magnafici&rsquo;s office about the tweet, there was no mention of Benghazi, email servers or other popular Hillary Clinton conspiracy fodder.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Instead, a staffer labeled it &quot;clearly a joke.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The staffer didn&rsquo;t respond when asked what in the context of the tweet by Magnafici -- who was elected in November 2018 after a 35-year career as a nurse -- would have signaled it was meant to be considered a joke. At the time, the death toll for the coronavirus stood at 19 in the U.S., but was already well over 3,000 people worldwide.</p>\n\n<p>Comparing that to people who died due to any connection with Clinton is, obviously, ridiculous.</p>\n\n<p>We rated the claim <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/11/gae-magnafici/Wisconsin-more-died-hillary-clinton-coronavirus/\">Pants on Fire</a>.</p>\n\n<p><strong>3.&nbsp; Republican State Leadership Committee: Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky, a challenger for a seat on the state Supreme Court, as a prosecutor &quot;went easy on&quot; a Madison man in a 1999 sexual assault case.&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong></p>\n\n<p>In a TV ad, the group claimed Karofsky was &quot;soft&quot; as a prosecutor because she allowed the man to get away with no jail time. But Karofsky didn&rsquo;t touch the case until more than a year after a plea agreement reducing the charges and the sentence imposing no jail time.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The ad was based on sloppy research that misunderstood the meaning of the online case records.</p>\n\n<p>We rated this claim <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/27/republican-state-leadership-committee/ads-attack-jill-karofsky-over-sexual-assault-case/\">Pants on Fire</a>.</p>\n\n<p><strong>4.&nbsp; Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester: Claims a video shows Joe Biden saying &quot;we can only re-elect Donald Trump.&quot;</strong></p>\n\n<p>The video, created March 7, 2020, by President Trump&rsquo;s campaign, was shared by the president and thousands of others &mdash; including Vos, who attached this critique to his retweet:</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Omg. We all stumble once in awhile but how can the media ignore this kind of stuff EVERY single day?&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The implication was that the video shows the media should have covered Biden&rsquo;s comment, which came at rally that day in Kansas City. Here&rsquo;s what Biden says, with pauses noted by an ellipsis.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;We cannot get re-elect &hellip; We cannot win this re-election&hellip; Excuse me &mdash; we can only re-elect Donald Trump if in fact we get engaged in this circular firing squad here.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The Trump team&rsquo;s version cut off after the word &quot;Trump.&quot; So Biden was shown saying, &quot;We can only re-elect Donald Trump&quot; &mdash; the opposite of what was actually stated.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>We rated Vos&rsquo;s claim <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/09/robin-vos/donald-trump-manipulated-video-joe-biden-robin-vos/\">Mostly False</a>.</p>\n\n<p><strong>5.&nbsp; Former Gov. Scott Walker: &quot;Bernie (Sanders) is a Communist.&quot;&nbsp;</strong></p>\n\n<p>Walker also made the claim in a<a href=\"https://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/feb/27/bernie-sanders-brand-of-socialism-is-communism/\"> column</a> and several other <a href=\"https://twitter.com/ScottWalker/status/1231204046532419586\">tweets</a>, one of which invoked Sanders&rsquo; oft-cited Soviet Union honeymoon. Sanders, of course, is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, though he trails Biden in the delegate count.</p>\n\n<p>Sanders &mdash; an independent in the U.S. Senate &mdash; describes himself as a democratic socialist, and has declared he is not a communist.</p>\n\n<p>Experts pointed to several clear dividing lines between Sanders&rsquo; philosophy and communism &mdash; while unanimously calling Walker&rsquo;s label an exaggeration.</p>\n\n<p>Socialism, as it plays out today in some European countries, is generally associated with a large social welfare state, including free healthcare and education, generous pensions and general &quot;cradle to grave&quot; security.</p>\n\n<p>Communism on the other hand typically involves a one-party government that owns all property and controls the means of production. In other words, the government exerts a great deal of control over both economic and individual behavior.</p>\n\n<p>Sanders isn&rsquo;t pushing for authoritarian rule, government ownership of all private property or an end to capitalism.</p>\n\n<p>We rated Walker&rsquo;s claim <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/04/scott-walker/no-bernie-sanders-not-communist/\">False.</a></p>\n\n<p>&nbsp;</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-04-03T14:00:46-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "how-can-we-try-understand-potential-scale-coronavi",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "Understanding the scale of potential coronavirus deaths",
            "entry": "<p>How does the potential scale of mortality in the United States from coronavirus compare with the leading causes of death in a typical year? It&rsquo;s not an easy question to answer.</p>\n\n<p>We put together the following chart to try to offer some context to the lower and upper projections of coronavirus deaths offered by the White House in late March. The White House said that with social distancing rules in place, the number of coronavirus deaths could range from 100,000 to 240,000.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Some experts have <a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/04/02/experts-trumps-advisers-doubt-white-houses-240000-coronavirus-deaths-estimate/\">questioned the methodology</a> that produced that range, and the White House did not specify what time frame would produce that number of deaths. But we&rsquo;ll use the range here because they are the most solid numbers the government has communicated to the public.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Leading causes of death</div>\n\n<p>The chart below compares the higher and lower White House estimate to the numbers for the 15 leading causes of death in 2017, the most recent year for which data has been calculated by the <a href=\"https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr68/nvsr68_09-508.pdf\">Centers for Disease Control and Prevention</a>. (Obviously, as more is known about the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the actual number of deaths could be higher or lower.)</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 1 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>In 2017, two causes of death significantly exceeded the upper estimate of 240,000 for coronavirus deaths: Heart disease killed 647,457 Americans, while cancer killed 599,108.</p>\n\n<p>Four other categories exceed the lower level of 100,000 coronavirus deaths: Accidents at 169,936; bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma at 160,201; stroke at 146,383; and Alzheimer&rsquo;s disease at 121,404.</p>\n\n<p>In other words, if the number of coronavirus deaths reaches the higher federal estimate, and other trends stay in place, it would immediately rank as the third-highest killer of Americans in 2020. If the number of deaths hits the lower estimate, it would rank as the seventh-leading cause of death.</p>\n\n<p>The lower estimate of coronavirus deaths would still exceed the following causes of death by substantial margins: diabetes at 83,564, influenza and pneumonia at 55,672, kidney disease at 50,633, suicide at 47,173, liver disease and cirrhosis at 41,743, bloodstream infections at 40,922, hypertension at 35,316, Parkinson disease at 31,963, and non-infectious lung inflammations at 20,108. (All other causes of death combined to 561,920 deaths in 2017.)</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Are they comparable with coronavirus?</div>\n\n<p>Experts urged caution in comparing these causes of death.</p>\n\n<p>First, it&rsquo;s important to remember that most of the causes of death on our list are not primarily driven by infections. So they don&rsquo;t present the risk of exponential growth rates that coronavirus does. If mitigation measures aren&rsquo;t effective, coronavirus deaths could spike far higher than anything else on the list.</p>\n\n<p>The coronavirus &quot;is a very large-scale public health event,&quot; said David Rosenbloom, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health. &quot;We have no human immunity to a virus that spreads very quickly and causes death for a subset of vulnerable people.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The only two categories on the list of leading killers that are infectious are influenza and bloodstream infections, which in 2017 combined for about 97,000 deaths. So even at the low end of the projections, the United States is looking at a doubling of such deaths this year.</p>\n\n<p>Second, coronavirus is testing the capacity of the U.S. health care system. The other leading killers tend to be fairly predictable in cases from year to year, and the system had adapted itself to handle the typical levels. By contrast, coronavirus surged suddenly, forcing the health system to scramble to address the surge of patients.</p>\n\n<p>Indeed, there will inevitably be an interplay between the spread of coronavirus and the other leading causes of death. Some of the people who would have died of other causes in 2020 will end up dying from coronavirus, pushing down the number of deaths in other categories. This is especially true because coronavirus is more likely to become fatal if the patient has underlying medical conditions.</p>\n\n<p>By the same token, the surge of coronavirus cases could end up increasing deaths by other causes, because coronavirus patients will take up hospital beds and practitioners&rsquo; time that might otherwise be given to patients with other illnesses. At this point, we don&rsquo;t know whether the net impact will produce higher or lower numbers of other deaths in 2020, but there is almost certain to be some impact.</p>\n\n<p>Third, the leading causes of death all have different risk factors, which can make it hard for people to understand how concerned they should be about their own health.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Some are higher or lower depending on behavioral and lifestyle factors, such as heart disease, emphysema, accidents, and diabetes, while some are higher or lower based on age, such as cancer, Alzheimer&rsquo;s, Parkinson&rsquo;s and stroke,&quot; said David Ropeik, a consultant, retired Harvard University instructor and author of the book &quot;How Risky Is it, Really? Why Our Fears Don&rsquo;t Always Match the Facts.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Some causes of death, Ropeik said, are higher or lower based on &quot;our general physical or psychological health status, such as influenza and suicide. And all of these generalizations are for the total U.S. population, within which risk varies wildly by age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, and other factors. So the numbers are only the crudest way of putting things in perspective.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the rapid growth of the pandemic, combined with its infectious nature, has left the scale of the casualties unusually dependent on the public policies implemented.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;We are at this uncontrolled pandemic stage in the U.S. because our political leadership failed to recognize the warnings they were given and because we have systematically weakened our public health response infrastructure,&quot; Boston University&rsquo;s Rosenbloom said. &quot;The death rate will be higher than it should have been because of these failures.&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">How do the experts think about the possible scope of coronavirus deaths?</div>\n\n<p>When we asked Arthur L. Caplan, the founding head of the division of medical ethics at the New York University School of Medicine, how he tries to understand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, he talked less about the scale of deaths and more about how its spread is forcing Americans to become familiar with social norms and grim practices they largely haven&rsquo;t encountered before.</p>\n\n<p>For instance, Caplan pointed to how African nations experienced Ebola virus outbreaks over the past decade and had to undergo some of the same changes that Americans are now adapting to.</p>\n\n<p>He said Ebola outbreaks drove changes in how funerals had to be handled, and they lowered expectations about how much access family members had to patients who are seriously ill.</p>\n\n<p>He added that the shortage of ventilators is forcing hospitals to decide which patients get scarce resources. This reminds Caplan of the longstanding experience of patients seeking organ transplants.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;If you ask transplant patients, they are used to rationing,&quot; Caplan said. &quot;But it&rsquo;s not something most people think about. Now, with coronavirus, rationing looms as a source of great panic for all of us.&quot;</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-04-03T13:34:04-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "how-states-are-enforcing-coronavirus-stay-home-ord",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "How states are enforcing coronavirus stay-at-home orders",
            "entry": "<p>Millions of Americans are staying home under the orders of state and local officials due to the coronavirus pandemic.</p>\n\n<p>Well, they&rsquo;re supposed to be. Without a federal lockdown policy, people who break state and local restrictions face a patchwork of penalties for their non-essential pursuits.</p>\n\n<p>The goal of stay-at-home policies is to slow the spread of the virus by restricting Americans to their most &quot;essential&quot; trips, such as groceries, medicine pick-up and medical treatment.</p>\n\n<p>Officials have said they expect voluntary compliance. But some are also imposing fines, charging and arresting people who authorities say are not following orders.</p>\n\n<p>So far, a pastor in Florida, a party host in New Jersey, and tobacco shops in California are among those facing charges or fines for challenging local orders.</p>\n\n<p>Given the mix of policies in place, we wanted to explain the scope of penalties and enforcement &mdash; and the potential constitutional challenges therein.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\"><strong>Summons, charges, arrests</strong></div>\n\n<p>In lieu of federal guidance, states are left to do what they think is best, with varying levels of severity and enforcement.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;We&rsquo;re just trying to take the best advice we can from the scientists and all of the experts and making the decisions that we believe are necessary for our states,&quot; said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican who leads the National Governors Association, in a statement.</p>\n\n<p>At least 36 states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands had some form of a <a href=\"https://www.nga.org/coronavirus/#glance\">stay-at-home order</a>, as of April 1 (though some only apply to specific counties or specific age groups, or were only a guidance). Others have put caps on the number of people who can gather in one place or have restricted operations at restaurants, gyms, salons and entertainment venues.</p>\n\n<p>Hogan&rsquo;s stay-at-home <a href=\"https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Gatherings-FOURTH-AMENDED-3.30.20.pdf\">order</a> for Maryland says that people who violate the order are guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to one year in jail or a fine up to $5,000, or both. <a href=\"https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/198-20/transcript-mayor-de-blasio-holds-media-availability-covid-19\">Other jurisdictions</a> have also warned that they&rsquo;ll levy fines for violations.</p>\n\n<p>Facing the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, Gov. Andrew Cuomo&rsquo;s &quot;<a href=\"https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/new-york-state-pause\">New York State on Pause</a>&quot; <a href=\"https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-2028-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency\">order</a> closed on March 22 all non-essential businesses statewide and told people to stay home unless they are workers providing <a href=\"https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026\">essential services</a>. A penalty for people violating the order wasn&rsquo;t specified. But the governor has <a href=\"https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/20/politics/new-york-workforce-stay-home/index.html\">said</a> that businesses that do not comply will face a civil fine and mandatory closure.</p>\n\n<p>New York City is doing <a href=\"https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/203-20/mayor-de-blasio-surges-supplies-resources-hospitals-citywide\">spot checks</a> on subway cars to make sure people are not overcrowding cars and are staying apart. The city has also taken down at least 80 basketball hoops at public playgrounds and said it would take down nets from tennis courts or soccer fields where people are violating orders.</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 3 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">\n<div class=\"artembed\"><em>Subway riders wear protective masks and gloves on a sparsely populated car during morning hours due to COVID-19 concerns that are driving down ridership, March 19, 2020, in New York. (AP/John Minchillo)</em></div>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">&nbsp;</div>\n</div>\n\n<p>In Florida, local authorities on March 30 <a href=\"https://teamhcso.com/News/PressRelease/bea53702-e647-4b0b-af34-38cbb31f6224/20-091\">arrested</a> the pastor of a Tampa megachurch, saying he held church services repeatedly in violation of local orders that restrict large gatherings and advise people to stay home. Rodney Howard-Browne was charged with two second-degree misdemeanors for unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency rules.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;I&rsquo;d remind the good pastor of Mark 12:31, which said there&rsquo;s no more important commandment than to love thy neighbor as thyself,&quot; <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/HCSOSheriff/videos/230907918296583/\">said</a> Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren at the announcement of an arrest warrant for the pastor, referring to the Bible verse. &quot;Loving your neighbors is protecting them, not jeopardizing their health by exposing them to this deadly virus.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Like other Florida <a href=\"https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-stay-at-home-order.html\">cities and counties</a>, Hillsborough County had moved ahead of the state in issuing its own stay-at-home restrictions. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on April 1 <a href=\"https://twitter.com/ABC/status/1245401420867698693?s=20\">announced</a> a statewide order directing Floridians to &quot;limit movements and personal interactions outside the home,&quot; with exceptions for essential services and activities. The <a href=\"https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/orders/2020/EO_20-91.pdf\">order</a>, effective April 3, included going to religious services in churches, synagogues and houses of worship as essential activities.</p>\n\n<p>In New Jersey, the state with the second-highest number of cases, police in a Trenton suburb had to break up a party with 47 people crammed into a 550-square-foot apartment. The host, a 54-year-old man, was <a href=\"https://twitter.com/MercerCoPros/status/1244000252379705345\">charged</a>; the partygoers were dispersed but not charged.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;The organizer was charged, as they should have been and deserved to be,&quot; Gov. Phil Murphy <a href=\"https://twitter.com/GovMurphy/status/1243948012956798978?s=20\">tweeted March 28</a>. &quot;This is not a game. Stay home. Be smart.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Murphy went on Twitter again that day to say he was serious.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Can&rsquo;t believe I have to say this at all, let alone for the second time. But here we are. NO CORONA PARTIES,&quot; <a href=\"https://twitter.com/GovMurphy/status/1243988789057466368?s=20\">Murphy tweeted</a>. &quot;They&rsquo;re illegal, dangerous, and stupid. We will crash your party. You will pay a big fine. And we will name &amp; shame you until EVERYONE gets this message into their heads.&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 1 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>In Newark, N.J., police have issued at least <a href=\"https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2020/03/newark-cops-shut-down-15-businesses-ticketed-161-people-in-1-night-for-coronavirus-lockdown-violations.html\">161 summonses</a> and shut down at least 15 non-essential businesses that authorities say violated the governor&rsquo;s directive, according to nj.com.</p>\n\n<p>In Hawaii, the Star Advertiser <a href=\"https://www.staradvertiser.com/2020/03/26/breaking-news/kauai-police-launch-checkpoints-to-enforce-lockdown-compliance/\">reported</a> that Honolulu police had issued at least 70 citations and arrested two people for allegedly violating stay-at-home orders. Violation of the state <a href=\"https://governor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/2003162-ATG_Third-Supplementary-Proclamation-for-COVID-19-signed.pdf\">order</a> is a misdemeanor, which can lead to a fine up to $5,000, up to one year in jail, or both.</p>\n\n<p>Police in Kaua&lsquo;i <a href=\"http://kauai.gov/Portals/0/Mayor/PIO/20200326%20Kauai%20police%20to%20conduct%20islandwide%20checkpoints.pdf?ver=2020-03-26-125320-087\">said</a> they would conduct islandwide checkpoints in support of the governor&rsquo;s stay-at-home order.</p>\n\n<p>In Fresno, Calif., authorities issued <a href=\"https://www.yourcentralvalley.com/news/3-fresno-businesses-fined-1000-for-allegedly-staying-open-temporarily-closed-2/?fbclid=IwAR21t-Efq0c0R708FrHnmyCF2TiQRs0YcK2L0RbzIjtkD2yP9DUz8LCrvng\">$1,000 fines</a> to three tobacco stores that allegedly stayed open in defiance of a shelter in place order. The stores have temporarily closed down, reported yourcentralvalley.com.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\"><strong>Are the stay-at-home orders open to legal challenges?</strong></div>\n\n<p>In Florida, the state attorney said the Tampa pastor was &quot;hiding behind the First Amendment,&quot; even though &quot;it&rsquo;s absolutely clear that emergency orders like this are constitutional and valid.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>But Liberty Counsel, a litigation group representing Howard-Browne, <a href=\"https://lc.org/newsroom/details/033020-fl-pastor-arrested-for-holding-church-service\">said</a> the church complied with the county&rsquo;s order and that police actions were &quot;discriminatory against religion and church gatherings.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>There is little modern experience regarding restrictions on religious gatherings during stay-at-home orders.</p>\n\n<p>But if churches were to sue states and municipalities over their orders, law professors told PolitiFact they might argue that the orders violate the Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment or a state Religious Freedom Restoration Act.</p>\n\n<p>Governments are more likely to win legal challenges if their stay-at-home orders address a compelling government interest, don&rsquo;t target religious groups, and are evenly applied, with exceptions for only the most essential functions, experts said.</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-04-02T14:50:58-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "ask-politifact-when-will-we-be-able-buy-hand-sanit",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "Ask PolitiFact: When will we be able to buy hand sanitizer again?",
            "entry": "<p>By early March, the COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented shortage of hand sanitizers at stores and online.</p>\n\n<p>A reader asked us, when will we be able to buy hand sanitizer again?&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The short answer is, it doesn&rsquo;t appear anytime soon.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;The issue is we have a huge surge in demand across all sectors, so supply cannot keep up,&quot; said Nada Sanders, a professor of supply chain management at Northeastern University.</p>\n\n<p>The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not accessible, the CDC recommends using hand sanitizers. Hand sanitizers are especially useful when people are outside the home on necessary chores, like grocery shopping, where soap and water isn&rsquo;t readily available.</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html\">Studies show</a> hand sanitizers <a href=\"https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fprevention.html\">with at least 60% alcohol</a> are more effective at killing germs than those with a lower alcohol concentration or none at all. Yet despite that guidance, <a href=\"https://www.propublica.org/article/coronavirus-hand-sanitizers-cdc-recommended-alcohol\">alcohol-free hand sanitizers</a> flew off the shelves in the United States.</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/03/facebook-posts/hand-sanitizer-can-be-used-prevent-coronavirus-inf/\"><em><strong>RELATED: </strong></em>Hand sanitizer can be used to prevent coronavirus infection</a></p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Sanitizer is being produced, but largely for hospitals and first responders</div>\n\n<p>A spokeswoman for GoJo, the Akron, Ohio, company that produces the hand sanitizer Purell, said the company doesn&rsquo;t disclose sales or production numbers, but the company is operating around the clock. But it&rsquo;s only shipping the product for hospitals, first responders and critical infrastructure, company spokeswoman Samantha Williams told PolitiFact.</p>\n\n<p>Williams provided no timeline for making products available to individuals. Spokespersons for retailers like Publix and Target also had no timeline for when consumers can easily find hand sanitizer on their shelves.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;We are receiving limited quantities of hand sanitizer. As you might imagine, what we receive sells very quickly,&quot; said Maria Brous, a spokeswoman for Publix. &quot;Like some other disinfectant-providing suppliers, production capacity has been shifted to support the health care industry.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Distilleries are making hand sanitizer</div>\n\n<p>The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued <a href=\"https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-provides-guidance-production-alcohol-based-hand-sanitizer-help-boost\">guidance</a> in March to allow the temporary manufacture of some alcohol-based hand sanitizer products. The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau temporarily<a href=\"https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USTTB/bulletins/281f26e?reqfrom=share\"> waived provisions of tax law</a> to allow distilleries to produce ethanol-based hand sanitizers.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Brad Plummer, a spokesman for the American Distilling Institute, said about 350 <a href=\"https://distilling.com/resources/covid-19-information-page/map-of-hand-sanitizer/\">distilleries nationwide</a> are now producing hand sanitizer. Distilleries are using the formula recommended by the World Health Organization.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Individuals can contact distilleries in their area to ask if they are selling any hand sanitizer to the public, but many are selling their product to particular sectors rather than the public.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Most distilleries are trying to get as much as they can to law enforcement and front-line health care workers,&quot; Plummer said.</p>\n\n<p>Glenn Richey, a supply chain management professor at Auburn University, said &quot;forward buying&quot; by consumers caused a huge spike in demand. Consumers&rsquo; hoarding will likely cause businesses in the supply chain to over-forecast and then become overstocked a year from now.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;This means that newly minted manufacturers of the product may not have sufficient demand to remain in business after the panic subsides,&quot; he said.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Do-it-yourself hand sanitizer</div>\n\n<p>Many consumers have followed do-it-yourself recipes to make hand sanitizers for personal use. The FDA concluded that it lacks information to determine whether such DIY recipes are safe for use on human skin.</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"http://www.poynter.org/mediawise\">MediaWise</a>, a media literacy initiative that includes student fact-checkers, <a href=\"https://www.instagram.com/p/B-clfwOJy_C/\">fact-checked whether consumers can make their own hand sanitizer</a>. MediaWise found that a post with instructions on homemade sanitizer needs context and that &quot; washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the best way to stay safe.&quot; (MediaWise and PolitiFact are both owned by the Poynter Institute.)</p>\n\n<p><em>Ask PolitiFact is an occasional feature in which we answer <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/mar/20/we-answered-your-coronavirus-questions-handling-mo/\">readers&rsquo; questions</a>. To submit your own question for a future story, <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/mar/13/what-questions-do-you-have-about-coronavirus-outbr/\">fill out this form</a>.</em></p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-04-02T14:48:24-04:00"
        }
    ]
}