Vegan medical leaders denounce COVID-19 conspiracy theories
Three leading vegan medical experts have hit out at COVID-19 conspiracy theories that have exploded this week on social media.
A video released by Breitbart on Monday promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for COVID-19.
The video featured a group called "America's Frontline Doctors" and was led by Dr. Stella Immanuel, who believes (among other things) that medical conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, and cysts can be linked to “spirit husbands” or demons that have sex with women while they sleep and alleged that alien DNA was being used in medical treatments.
The video has since been banned by social media, having been shared by President Trump and his son Donald Trump, Jr.
Vegans have not been immune to the conspiracy theories, but now three vegan doctors have spoken out about false information, which they believe may put lives at risk.
Dr. Priyumvada Mohan Naik is a triple board-certified physician in pulmonary medicine, critical care medicine, and lifestyle medicine. She raised concerns about political figures promoting the use of hydroxychloroquine.
Dr. Naik wrote a full statement refuting specific claims made in the video:
The study that this latest group of doctors (who don’t have the research experience to know how to read a study) are hanging their hats on is deeply, deeply flawed.
It’s not randomized, without randomization it’s possible we see different results in each group due to selection bias.
Another important part of randomization is making sure each group, though random, is similar in characteristics. Meaning similar numbers of men and women, age ranges, comorbid conditions.
As you can imagine if one group had many more people with lung disease than the other, the group with more lung disease would likely do worse. If that’s the control group, the study might show benefit from intervention where there was none. If that’s the intervention group, the study might falsely show no benefit to the intervention.
This matching of groups is an area where this study fails quite a bit.
HCQ recipients tended to get steroids (80% in the HCQ group vs ~ 36% in the non HCQ group), for which there is evidence of significant benefit. So it’s entirely possible benefit was seen in HCQ group due to the steroids they received and not due to the HCQ.
The HCQ group was more likely to be slightly younger, and female (males in some studies tend to have worse outcomes with ICU hospitalizations). Current data also points to male sex as a risk for worse outcome with COVID. So they might already have been more likely to do better in the HCQ group.
The n values for each group differed wildly. This is always an issue when it comes to making reasonable conclusions because the differences in results could be related to the differences in number in each group.
Dr. Naik's opinion was supported by fellow doctor Milton Mills, who practices urgent care medicine in the Washington DC and is a member of the National Advisory Board for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).
Dr. Mills said that people should believe what experts are telling them:
For those of you who are convinced that Dr. Fauci and all the other reputable physicians are lying to you about the best way to prevent and treat COVID; and that the "cure" for Coronavirus is just a "prescription" away, let's do the following; if you will sign a waiver acknowledging that you were told HCQ doesn't work and will likely kill and NOT "cure" you and you'll ensure the signed waiver releases the prescribing doctor from ALL liability — I HAVE A COLLEAGUE WHO WILL WRITE YOU A PRESCRIPTION FOR HCQ!
Clearly science, logic and the testimony of hard working healthcare workers who have put their lives on the line (and even died) treating this virus do not mean ANYTHING to you people.
So I challenge you to put your lives where your computer keyboards are. If you "truly" believe this lunatic internet drivel you're helping to spread, you should be willing to risk dying for it. Now, let's see who has the courage of their conspiracy convictions.
Protesters in some American cities have claimed that the pandemic was planned or a hoax, but the worst of the conspiracy theories have been spread online.
Dr. Garth Davis, is a medical director at Mission hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, he said he was no longer engaging with conspiracy theorists on his Facebook page calling it "ludicrous nonsense", adding he would hide the comments from himself and any other followers of his page.
Dr. Davis also made a statement:
Seems like the conspiracy theorists who are so anti Pharma now have a new theory: we aren’t giving enough drugs, specifically hydroxychloroquine. An odd pivot for sure. Now they are sending around videos of doctors saying they have been using the drug and curing patients.
The new conspiracy has shifted from no one is dying to doctors are killing patients by not giving hydroxychloroquine.
These doctors are primary care doctors. Being a primary care doctor is a tough job, and they have all my respect BUT they are not infectious disease specialists or scientists. MOST people get better from infection without any treatment.
They are primary care so they are not treating the super sick. Did the patients get better because of the drug or because they would have gotten better anyway?
The only way to know this is using a randomized control trial where you match patients for age and comorbidities and you give one group the drug and one group a placebo. We now have several such studies, one published in the very esteemed New England Journal of Medicine. All have shown that the drug made no difference even when given early AND may be associated with more complications.
A good doctor practices evidenced based medicine which is based on the BEST studies available, not observation.
Do people really think that doctors are now murderers that are purposefully withholding a medication? Seriously? How ridiculous can we get?
However, not all vegan medical professionals are taking a consistent approach. In an extreme departure from his colleagues, Dr. Joel Kahn described the removal of the video from social media platforms as an act of censorship, although he offered no further information to adjudicate the veracity of Immanuel’s claims.
At the time of this writing, the United States is experiencing the second-worst rate of new deaths, with only Brazil ahead.