What We're Reading: Study Finds HCQ Does Not Prevent COVID-19; In-Person Voting Concerns Mount; Suicide Among Handgun Owners

June 4, 2020
AJMC Staff
AJMC Staff

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) does not prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to a new study, and The Lancet retracted a previous paper examining the drug's safety; voters are mainly split along party lines when it comes to in-person voting in a pandemic; ownership of a handgun is associated with a significantly greater risk of suicide by firearm.

The first story about hydroxychloroquine has been updated.

Malaria Drug Does Not Prevent COVID-19; The Lancet Retracts Previous Study

Voters Express Concern Over In-Person Voting

Handgun Ownership Associated with Greater Suicide by Firearm Risk

A new study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that after high-risk or moderate-risk exposure to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) does not prevent infection. The news comes after weeks of speculation the malaria drug may be effective in preventing the illness, as President Donald Trump revealed he was taking the medication as a precaution. A separate study previously found use of HCQ was linked to increased mortality rates; however, that study has now been retracted. The majority of Americans (53%) say they would be somewhat or very comfortable voting in person amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Hill-HarrisX poll. However, 47% reported they would be uncomfortable doing so. Respondents tended to be divided along party lines as Republicans were more inclined to be comfortable with in-person voting. In comparison, 58% of Democrats and 53% of Independents expressed concern with the idea of in-person voting in a pandemic. The poll included 961 registered voters and was conducted online between May 27 and 28. The margin of error was 3.16 percentage points.Owning a handgun is associated with a greatly elevated and enduring risk of suicide by firearm, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers in California identified handgun acquisitions and deaths in a cohort of over 26 million individuals with no history of acquiring handguns. After following up with individuals for an average of 12 years and 2 months, researchers found a total of 676,425 acquired 1 or more handgun while 17,894 died by suicide. Of the total suicide deaths, 6691 were suicides by firearm. In addition, rates of suicide by any method were higher among owners of handguns, and 52% of all suicides by firearm among handgun owners occurred after 1 year of acquisition.