Anti-vaccine Facebook groups in the United States have a new message for their community members: Don’t go to the emergency room, and get your loved ones out of intensive care units.
Consumed by conspiracy theories claiming that doctors are preventing unvaccinated patients from receiving miracle cures or are even killing them on purpose, some people in anti-vaccine and pro-ivermectin Facebook groups are telling those with COVID-19 to stay away from hospitals and instead try increasingly dangerous at-home treatments, according to posts seen by NBC News over the past few weeks.
Some people in groups that formed recently to promote the false cure ivermectin, an anti-parasite treatment, have claimed extracting Covid patients from hospitals is pivotal so that they can self-medicate at home with ivermectin. But as the patients begin to realize that ivermectin by itself is not effective, the groups have begun recommending a series of increasingly hazardous at-home treatments, such as gargling with iodine, and nebulizing and inhaling hydrogen peroxide, calling it part of a “protocol.”
The messages represent an escalation in the mistrust of medical professionals in groups that have sprung up in recent months on social media platforms, which have tried to crack down on Covid misinformation. And it’s something that some doctors say they’re seeing manifest in their hospitals as they have filled up because of the most recent delta variant wave.
Those concerns echo various local reports about growing threats and violence directed toward medical professionals in the US. In Branson, Missouri, a medical center recently introduced panic buttons on employee badges because of a spike in assaults. Violence and threats against medical professionals have recently been reported in Massachusetts, Texas, Georgia and Idaho.
Source: NBC News, 24 September 2021