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Study: Lower Deaths in Countries Using HCQ

In case one needs a reminder that HCQ could have helped during the so-called pandemic, a study published in September 2023 titled “Access to Hydroxychloroquine Is Associated with Reduced COVID-19 Mortality: A Cross-Country Analysis” by H. Toya and M. Skidmore found “COVID fatalities are 38% higher in countries that did not use HCQ”.

The country is the unit of analysis, where we examine COVID-19 infections per 10 million and fatalities per 100,000 for 128 to 137 countries, depending on data availability.

Figure 1: COVID-19 Fatalities in Non-HCQ and HCQ Countries.
Figure 1: COVID-19 Fatalities in Non-HCQ and HCQ Countries.

The analysis accounted for factors such as obesity, proportion of population aged 65 and older, hospital beds, degree of freedom and amount of sunshine, amongst others. The study period was from 8 December 2019 to 8 May 2021.

Countries with greater obesity, fewer beds, more freedom, more elderly, and less sunshine experienced more fatalities. Higher income and more urbanized countries experienced fewer fatalities. Island countries also experienced fewer fatalities. With the exception of HCQ, the policy variables are generally not statistically significant, though recommended local lockdowns were helpful, as shown in column 4. The availability of HCQ consistently reduces fatalities in all regressions. According to the coefficient estimate on HCQ in column 2, if the United States had made HCQ widely available, recorded COVID-19 fatalities during the study period would have been reduced from 515,000 to 420,000. Extending the analysis beyond the United States to all countries where HCQ access was restricted/unavailable, COVID-19 fatalities would have been reduced by about 520,000 if HCQ had been accessible.

To repeat regarding other “other policy variables” in case one has missed it the first time:

With the exception of recommended local lockdowns, we find little evidence that the other policy variables such as lockdowns and travel restrictions helped to reduce fatalities.

The weaknesses of the paper are that although the results are presented in tables, it would be clearer if they are also presented in graphical form, and that there isn’t at least one sample calculation shown in the appendix.


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