MAGA registered nurse running for NC superintendent pushed Trump COVID “cure” that may have killed 17,000 in 2020

Michele Morrow, the far-right Republican candidate to lead North Carolina’s k-12 public education system, erroneously claimed the anti-malarial medication hydroxychloroquine cured COVID-19 in 2020. A study released earlier this year estimated that nearly 17,000 people died that year after taking the drug.

Since Morrow’s unexpected upset of current Republican superintendent Catherine Truitt in the March primary, she has gained national attention for her history of calling for prominent Democrats to be executed, her support of bizarre QAnon theories, her presence at the January 6 Capitol insurrection, her distaste for people who speak languages other than English, and her claims that Islam is “evil.”

But little has been made about Morrow’s advocacy work relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morrow is a registered nurse by trade, although her LinkedIn profile gives no indication how she was trained or when she last worked in the nursing field. It’s possible she’s a little rusty on the Nursing Code of Ethics. Among other things, that code holds that a nurse takes actions “consistent with the obligation to promote health” and “advances the profession through research and scholarly inquiry.”

Presumably that research would require a higher standard than Fox News or the medical advice of Stable Genius Donald Trump.

Beginning in March 2020, Fox News host Laura Ingraham promoted the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as “a game changer,” bringing guests on her show to talk about how it miraculously cured their COVID. Unsurprisingly, as he got nearly all of his information from Fox News, President Donald Trump started saying it, too.

In May 2020 Michele Morrow posted a Facebook live video discussing the COVID pandemic. On the video she began reading a letter by the president of the Rockefeller Foundation about the importance of COVID testing in reining in the pandemic. The video quickly devolved into ranting and extolling the virtues of hydroxychloroquine as a cure for the virus:

The problem? Hydroxychloroquine didn’t cure COVID at all. The FDA did allow emergency use of the drug in very limited circumstances in March 2020. However, as early as April 2020 the FDA warned against the use of the drug as data indicated it led to serious heart problems, saying it was “being used inappropriately to treat non-hospitalized patients for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or to prevent that disease.” In June that year the FDA revoked emergency use of the medication entirely.

Former White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci recently offered an insider view of Donald Trump’s inclination toward snake oil cures for COVID:

I believe he wanted so badly for this to go away the way influenza goes away, and when he saw it was not going away, then he was hoping for some magical solution, and he even used those words, “It’s going to go away like magic.” And then when that didn’t work, then we had to have these miracle cures like hydroxychloroquine, which he got from Laura Ingraham on Fox News.

The problem with advocating for Fox News miracle cures instead of treating illnesses through “research and scholarly inquiry” is there are life or death consequences.

Earlier this year a team of French researchers analyzed hospitalization data for six countries and estimated 16,990 may have died as a result of taking the drug. Furthermore, the actual number of deaths could be much higher given the study included only six countries (France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the U.S.) and only from March to July of 2020. Authors of the study concluded that their findings “illustrate the hazard of drug repurposing with low-level evidence.”

In other words, don’t take drugs recommended by Fox News and Donald Trump.

Back to MAGA candidate for superintendent Michele Morrow. It’s highly irresponsible for a registered nurse to publicly advocate use of a drug based primarily on her adoration for Donald Trump, and this lack of judgment should be a red flag for anyone considering voting for Morrow in November.

But you also need to remember that Morrow is even more qualified to dispense medical advice than she is to lead North Carolina’s public schools. Michele Morrow has never held a job in any educational institution nor even had her own children attend schools in our state.

In fact, Morrow’s understanding of education comes from the same sources that told her taking hydroxychloroquine was a miracle cure for COVID: Fox News and Facebook.

The good news is North Carolina has a highly qualified education leader with no history of hawking harmful snake oil on the opposite side of the November general election ballot. Mo Green led the third largest school district in the state (Guilford County) as superintendent and is going to do a great job leading the Department of Public Instruction.

You can learn more about Green’s resume and values here and here.

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