This is about right: the COVID vaccines have been proven effective and safe, are now readily available, and are cheap. But there are still people adamantly opposed to the best treatment.
Part of the problem is that quacks get away with it. You can disseminate criminally dangerous misinformation as an MD, you can kill patients with bad advice and ineffective, even deadly treatments, and get away with it.
A Wisconsin doctor in 2021 prescribed ivermectin, typically used to treat parasitic infections, to two covid-19 patients who later died of the disease. He was fined less than $4,000 — and was free to continue practicing.
A Massachusetts doctor has continued practicing without restriction despite being under investigation for more than a year over allegations of “disseminating misinformation” and prescribing unapproved covid treatments, including ivermectin, to a patient who died in 2022, according to medical board records.
And in Idaho, a pathologist who falsely promoted the effectiveness of ivermectin over coronavirus vaccines on social media has not been disciplined despite complaints from fellow physicians that his “dangerous and troubling” statements and actions “significantly threatened the public health.”
Across the country, doctors who jeopardized patients’ lives by pushing medical misinformation during the pandemic and its aftermath have faced few repercussions, according to a Washington Post analysis of disciplinary records from medical boards in all 50 states.
State medical boards charged with protecting the American public often failed to stop doctors who went against medical consensus and prescribed unapproved treatments for covid or misled patients about vaccines and masks, the Post investigation found.
Another part of the problem is gross politicization. It is currently the policy of the Republican party to encourage the early death of their electorate, and hopefully snipe off a few Democrats with terrible medical advice.
“State boards can only do limited things,” said Humayun Chaudhry, president of the Federation of State Medical Boards, a nonprofit that represents the licensing agencies. “The most common refrain I hear from state licensing boards is they would like to have more resources — meaning more individuals who can investigate complaints, more attorneys, more people who can process these complaints sooner — to do their job better.”
Instead, the opposite is happening: The boards face new efforts, largely by Republican state legislators and attorneys general, to rein in their authority in ways that are “potentially dangerous and harmful to patient care,” Chaudhry said.
Florida legislators passed a law in May that effectively prevents professional boards from punishing doctors accused of spreading covid misinformation online.
Six other states have limited the power of medical boards to discipline physicians for prescribing ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine.
Yeah, Florida. It’s never good news when the words “Florida” or “Texas” are in the article.
At least now we know how humans will respond to an apocalypse: with doubt, cynicism, and lies.