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Uganda’s Low COVID-19 Cases Due to Restrictions, Not Hydroxychloroquine

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Uganda has had comparatively low numbers of COVID-19 circumstances and deaths — however not due to hydroxychloroquine, as an article on social media claims. Uganda’s tips initially included the usage of the drug as an experimental treatment, however research confirmed it made no distinction. Instead, the nation carried out a strict lockdown and masks mandate that has restricted the virus’ unfold. 


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Hydroxychloroquine has been touted by some — together with President Donald Trump — as a remedy for COVID-19. But research have discovered it isn’t an efficient remedy and will trigger severe uncomfortable side effects for some sufferers, as we’ve reported.

False claims concerning the drug nonetheless proceed to flow into on social media. An article shared on Facebook from the web site palmerfoundation.com.au is headlined, “Hydroxychloroquine is why Uganda, with a population of 43M, has only 15 COVID-19 deaths.”

“Uganda, a country in east-central Africa, has a 2018 population of 42.729 million, which is 13% of the United States’ population of 328.239 million in 2019,” the article says. “And yet Uganda has 1,603 COVID-19 cases and just 15 deaths (h/t Rush Limbaugh), whereas the U.S. has 5,656,744 COVID-19 cases and 175,105.”

The article continues, “This is why: Uganda is afflicted with malaria, a disease caused by parasites that enter the body through the bite of a mosquito. Malaria is common in Africa. In 2012, Uganda had the 6th highest annual deaths from malaria in Africa. Hydroxychloroquine is a drug used to treat or prevent malaria.”

Related textual content posts declare, “Uganda (43,000,000 people), where Hydroxychloroquine is eaten like candy due to malaria, have had 13 Covid deaths.”

The supply of the viral social media article, palmerfoundation.com.au, is the web site of The Palmer Foundation, a “philanthropic entity owned by the Palmer family, headed by Clive Palmer,” in keeping with the positioning.  Clive Palmer is an Australian businessman and politician who made headlines when he introduced in April that he had bought 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, which he donated to Australia’s National Medical Stockpile. He has made baseless claims that the usage of the drug lowered Australia’s COVID-19 mortality fee.

While the Uganda inhabitants numbers within the viral posts are correct, the numbers of COVID-19 circumstances and deaths are outdated.  Uganda now has greater than 9,800 circumstances and greater than 90 deaths, whereas the U.S. has greater than 7.7 million circumstances and extra that 214,000 deaths.

Uganda does have far fewer per-capita circumstances and deaths than the U.S., however the posts provide a false rationalization for why.

“It is extremely unlikely that relatively low rates of the [coronavirus] infection in sub-Saharan Africa are related to the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine,” Michigan State University malaria researcher Terrie Taylor instructed us in April. “Neither has been the first-line treatment for malaria illness for many years,” Taylor mentioned.

Dr. William Worodria, a advisor doctor at Uganda’s Ministry of Health and chairman of the nation’s COVID-19 case administration committee, mentioned some remedy facilities have been utilizing hydroxychloroquine when COVID-19 first appeared there.

“In our first guidelines we did include the use of hydroxychloroquine under experimental medication but when we looked at the evidence including local evidence of the two sides, one which used hydroxychloroquine and one which did not, there was no difference. So in our second guideline, we have removed it from therapy,” Worodria mentioned.

The second version of Uganda’s nationwide tips, which have been issued in June, mentioned “Chloroquine or Hydroxychloroquine is no longer recommended for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.”

So the nation’s low COVID-19 numbers haven’t been as a consequence of widespread use of hydroxychloroquine, however by way of different measures taken by the Ugandan authorities.

Reuters reported that Uganda closed colleges and banned giant gatherings three days earlier than confirming its first COVID-19 case in March.

By the top of that month, many of the nation’s companies have been shut down, automobile motion was banned, and the federal government carried out an in a single day curfew.  Passengers have been screened at airports, and contaminated people have been hospitalized in isolation wards.

The authorities additionally enacted a face masks mandate and had distributed greater than 13 million masks to the general public by May.

Public health specialists instructed Reuters that Uganda had discovered from expertise battling different infectious ailments like Ebola and Marburg virus.

Uganda has introduced the easing of some restrictions, however the nation’s colleges stay closed.

Editor’s word: FactCheck.org is one in every of a number of organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our earlier tales will be discovered right here.

Sources

Biryabarema, Elias. “Uganda’s tough approach curbs COVID, even as Africa nears 1 million cases.” Reuters. 5 Aug 2020.

“Clive Palmer says hydroxychloroquine contributed to Australia’s low COVID-19 death rate. Is he correct?” ABC News. 21 May 2020.

“Coronavirus – Uganda: Update on Face Mask Distribution in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono Districts.” Africanews.com. 8 May 2020.

Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. Coronavirus Resource Center. Accessed 12 Oct 2020.

Mbewa, David. “Uganda records 146 new COVID-19 cases, two new deaths.” CGTN Africa. 4 Oct 2020.

McDonald, Jessica. “Trump’s Faulty Malaria-Coronavirus Connection.” FactCheck.org. 9 Apr 2020.

Muhumuza, Rodney and Patrick Onen. “Uganda reports blood shortages amid coronavirus pandemic.” Associated Press. 5 Oct 2020.

Republic of Uganda Ministry of Health. National Guidelines for Management of COVID-19. Jun 2020.

Spencer, Saranac Hale and Angelo Fichera. “In Viral Video, Doctor Falsely Touts Hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 ‘Cure.’” FactCheck.org. 28 Jul 2020.

“Uganda.” Worldometer. Accessed 12 Oct 2020.

“Uganda enforces mandatory wearing of face masks.” Xinhuanet. 6 May 2020.

Dr. William Worodria. Executive member, Pan African Thoracic Society.

Yussuf, Ahmed. “Clive Palmer has bought 30 million doses of an anti-malarial drug to fight COVID-19. But experts warn this may not be the cure-all.” The Feed. 29 Apr 2020.



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