Beware of Misinformation on COVID-19: 4 Things the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons Wants You to Know About Coronvirus by Jane M. Orient, M.D.

Family Health
4 years ago

Beware of Misinformation on COVID-19: 4 Things the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons Wants You to Know About Coronvirus

Government agencies are warning about misinformation, and big tech is patrolling the internet to protect us all. But how do they know what is misinformation? What is the gold standard?

  • Testing: In many places, testing is still unavailable. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that home test kits are “unauthorized.” How accurate are any of the tests? There are many false positives, and also false negatives. Patients with a negative test may convert to positive only after becoming severely ill. Was that terrible episode of “influenza” you had in December or January, when Chinese students at your university were freely traveling back and forth to their home, really COVID-19? To answer that question, we need to measure acute and convalescent antibodies. Finally, an antibody test is available, which has been widely used in China, and the FDA is permitting its use in a Public Heath Emergency.
  • The Expert-in-Chief: The point person who is always on television is Dr. Anthony Fauci, the 79-year-old head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). He has spent his career at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In September 2009, he was relaxed and unalarmed after millions had become infected with the H1N1 influenza and thousands had died, some of whom were young people and children. He told an interviewer that people just needed “to use good judgment.” In 1984, he shifted the emphasis of the NIH to HIV/AIDS. The alarming statements of experts like him led Oprah Winfrey to predict in 1987 that “one in five heterosexuals could be dead from AIDS in the next three years.” Bars and restaurants, however, were not closed in either instance.
  • Preventives and Remedies: There are NO FDA-approved preventives or remedies. If claims are made for a product, the manufacturer can expect to get a threatening warning letter from FDA. Many claims have been criticized, including simple home measures like inhaling hot air, which some physicians use nonetheless. People should “use good judgment,” and of course should not drink industrial bleach (chlorine dioxide).

There are many unknowns. The established experts could be mistaken. Use good judgment. Help your neighbor, and don’t panic.

The information on is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information provided through this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider.

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Elisa Schmitz
So true about misinformation. It's hard to know what to believe, and the scary thing is that there is so much unknown about this virus. Thank you for being a calm voice of information in this storm, Jane M. Orient, M.D. . We appreciate all the insights you share with us!
Julie Rose
Oh no, so much to worry about.

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