The COVID-19 pandemic has been wrought with many challenges, from unpreparedness to the lack of hospital capacities to house patients. But perhaps the leading issue that has plagued the world and caused the slow response to the virus is misinformation.
False news on the legitimacy of COVID-19, the effectiveness of face masks, the safety of vaccines, and more have been challenges that health authorities have been struggling to keep at bay. Truth be told, without this unverifiable and fake information, we could have moved on from the COVID-19 pandemic a long time ago.
Yet health authorities are encountering another hurdle of misinformation: unproven COVID-19 treatments. There are many drugs surfacing as effective treatments for COVID-19 but are not backed by research, clinical trials, or authorization from the U.S. FDA.
Some physicians are aiming to shed light on false information on unproven COVID-19 treatments and stop their use in healthcare settings.
No License for Disinformation vs. The White Coat Summit
The White Coat Summit is a movement spearheaded by a group of physicians with the goal of promoting hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, zinc, and Zithromax as treatments for COVID-19. At the same time, they have denounced the use of face masks, getting vaccines, and the implementation of state-wide lockdowns.
Recognizing that the promoted treatments, hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, were unproven to be effective in healing COVID-19 patients, another group of physicians started a movement against the White Coat Summit. Called No License for Disinformation, the movement aims to combat misinformation and call on medical boards to take disciplinary measures against doctors spreading and promoting false COVID-19 treatments.
A look at the studies on hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin shows that most research efforts have been retracted because of fabricated or flawed data. Others that have conducted randomized trials show no benefits. Small studies that have suggested the positive effects of ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment have not been tested in clinical trials. According to the medical community, there is not enough data to prove and recommend ivermectin for the safe and effective treatment of COVID-19.
The Dangers of Unproven COVID-19 Treatments
For falsely informing the public that it’s safe to move forward without masks, lockdowns, and other public health measures, No License for Disinformation says that the White Coat Summit is spreading misinformation and causing new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths to rise.
This has been reflected in various emergency rooms, where patients who have been taking hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin come in very sick with severe COVID-19 symptoms. Hospitals are also suffering the consequences of misinformation, with patients aggressively demanding the aforementioned unproven medications to be a part of their treatment plans.
The real danger is in the promotion of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin as more effective and safer than a COVID-19 vaccine — all while there are no studies or research backing the claim. This belief is causing vaccine hesitancy, hindering the U.S. from protecting a bulk of its citizens and ultimately achieving herd immunity.
Because of these risks, Dr. Nick Sawyer, founder of the No License for Disinformation movement, urges people with authority, such as legislators and medical boards, to protect the public by stopping misinformation on COVID-19 treatments.
According to medical experts, the guidelines set to protect us, including mask-wearing, vaccines, and lockdowns, are proven to be effective in curbing the spread of COVID-19 and reducing the risk of transmission. It is these safety measures that will help the pandemic transition to endemicity and put us on the right path back to normalcy.