Could Revamping the Hundred Year Old BCG Tuberculosis Vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 Be a Deadly Mistake? CNN’s Irresponsible Approach to Science Leaves Me Shook.

William Keckler
4 min readApr 9, 2020

CNN has been touting the potential of a century-old vaccine designed for use against tuberculosis to be used as a defense against the novel coronavirus. The network has run this story repeatedly.

I really wish CNN would employ more or better science editors for its COVID-19 coverage. I’ve heard unscientific and blatantly wrong things stated as fact on the network lately, and some of those errors came out of the mouth of their resident expert, their house doc, Sanjay Gupta. I think Gupta is always well-intentioned but he said on air a few weeks ago that eighty percent of people going on ventilators were surviving. This is completely inaccurate. The number varies from hospital to hospital, region to region, but the number of those coming off the ventilators is almost always a minority and sometimes as low as twenty percent. This is just one example of the sort of misinformation I have been hearing peddled on the network. I watch copious amounts of CNN and it’s certainly not to gather information to discredit the network. But I’ve seen so many YouTube videos that have been more informative and better-sourced than CNN’s light-on-facts coverage. How sad is that?

Unfortunately, CNN has become so politicized, so Trump-centric, that they will do kneejerk oppositional reactions against any position Trump or the right wing media adopts. For example, their coverage of the possible benefits of hydroxychloroquine (and chloroquine) is skewed almost wholly negative, despite the fact that there is strong evidence that at least some COVID-19 patients are benefiting from these medications. Twice I have seen doctors on CNN who had been in the ICU, having trouble breathing and despairing of losing their lives, who made amazing turnarounds in two days. In both cases, the doctors cited use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine (with azithromycin) within two days of their recovery.

The anchors interviewing them glossed right over these revelations and didn’t even ask the recovered physicians what part they thought the drugs might have played in their turnaround in health. CNN, viewers like me want to know the answer to that question! I happen to believe there are much better drugs than hydroxychloroquine to bring people back from double pneumonia and the brink of death. Immunomodulators like Actemra…

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William Keckler

Writer, visual artist. Books include Sanskrit of the Body, which won in the U.S. National Poetry Series (Penguin). https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/532348.