The social media event of the week has to be that 40-minute video of several doctors outside the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming emphatically that a cure for the coronavirus already exists but is being ignored by medical leaders.
The video from a group called America’s Frontline Doctors got viewed millions of times before various social media outlets began blocking it. Facebook said it removed the video “for sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19.” You Tube and Twitter also removed it.
The video still can be seen at the Breitbart website and several other places. While there are significant questions about the claims made by the speakers, one certain thing is that the video is a good example of how medicine and politics have become intertwined by the coronavirus over the last few months.
The NBC News website reported that the event was paid for by the Tea Party Patriots, “a right-wing political nonprofit group” that raises money for Republican candidates and causes. The group has been critical of measures put in place to slow the spread of the virus.
The people who spoke in the video said masks, social distancing, business shutdowns and school closures are not necessary. Instead, the country should be distributing hydroxychloroquine, which at least one speaker claimed can both prevent and cure the virus.
A sizable number of viewers agree with the content of this video. And while everyone is entitled to their opinion, to believe that a virus cure is being withheld intentionally means you also must believe there is a gigantic conspiracy in the medical and business communities.
For example, there have been some successful treatments using hydroxychloroquine. A doctor from Houston who spoke in the video said she has cured 350 patients with the drug.
But that claim must be compared with guidance from the Food and Drug Administration, which says the medication is not fit for every virus patient. The FDA says there can be serious side effects from taking hydroxychloroquine and that random trials have shown little benefit from using it.
Is the public seriously to think that the FDA is just making this up? Or that it’s tweaking its recommendations to oppose President Trump, who has spoken several times about the benefits of hydroxychloroquine? Or that the medical specialists in charge of the FDA are willing to let people die in order to get their way?
The continued spread of the virus over the last few weeks have made it obvious that whatever we’ve been doing hasn’t worked, so some people may answer “yes” to all three questions.
But the video is too slick to be seen as much more than a public-relations ploy. For example, why did the doctors hold their press conference in front of the Supreme Court? And why were they all wearing their lab coats?
The doctors at the FDA have lab coats, too. Questioning the agency’s medical reports is fine. Implying a grand conspiracy is not.