Hydroxychloroquine? What would Dilbert do? by Roger Hewins

Another eventful day. I have to admit I reached for my phone at zero dark thirty to see how the overseas markets were doing and found little comfort. The S&P 500 futures market had also traded to the limit and received a “time out” for the transgression. Sleep proved to be elusive.

I also saw that Congress, working until the wee hours, had failed to pass a Coronavirus stimulus bill. Just when we thought our legislators were finally taking responsibility in a crisis, we suffered another self-inflicted wound.

The day see-sawed back and forth, something we have seen a lot of lately. Down a lot, up a lot, then down “only” about 3% after all the excitement, as the Fed made some big promises and the Senate flailed helplessly in the grip of partisan politics. Rome is not burning, but it is smoking a little bit. Tomorrow is another day; we can only hope for better results. They promise they are working on it.

Tuesday morning quick update: still hoping for the bill to pass, stocks up abroad and early in the U.S.

Not to make light of this serious situation. Scott Adams, the cartoonist, is actually an intelligent and interesting guy who provides some insight. His recent podcast was pretty good-if you want to hear it, you will find it here.

The executive summary is that we are likely to learn a lot in the next week or two. Are there drugs, like Hydroxychloroquine, already in use that can be efficacious in the treatment of COVID-19? How is China reporting no new infections (i.e., hiding new infections successfully because deaths are being minimized)? How is South Korea managing to avoid deaths among doctors and front-line healthcare workers?

The tell, according to Scott: if we see no (or very few) deaths among U.S. doctors and healthcare people in the next week or two, and similar outcomes among the “rich and famous,” it is likely that there is an effective treatment at work, coming soon to your neighborhood. We can only hope.

Seriously, there are reasons why these things cannot be widely publicized before they are confirmed and before supplies are sufficient for mass distribution. Sometimes we have to look for clues. But we will come through this and find an answer; it is the when and how that are the questions.

Good Wall Street Journal article on the same topic, great “anecdotal” evidence for this drug, especially in combination with azithromycin, a drug used to treat upper respiratory infections.

Bottom line in my mind, being the “can do” Marine I will always be, is a message of hope summed up nicely in the movie Apollo 13.

When this resolves we will recover, probably quickly. No one can time it, although many will certainly try.


Roger Hewins

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Originally published at https://teamhewins.com on March 24, 2020.