A 56-minute video in which a doctor claims to tell “the truth about CV19 vaccine” contains various misleading claims, including that vaccines will make people test positive for COVID-19, thereby artificially increasing the number of new cases; that the disease was renamed as part of a cover-up; and that there are proven effective treatments for COVID-19 that the media is ignoring. There are numerous other claims in the video that are outside the scope of this fact check.
The video features a speech by Dr Simone Gold at an event called “The Stand,” which describes itself as a series of “Open Air Mass Healing & Miracle Services.” Gold is the founder of America’s Frontline Doctors (here), an organisation that has previously been criticised for sharing misinformation (USA Today: here and here, AP: here, BBC: www.bbc.com/news/53559938, Politifact: here). The American Academy of Family Physicians has described the organisation's claims as “outrageous” and said that it was “in no way affiliated with this group” (here).
America’s Frontline Doctors and Simone Gold did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.
In the video (here timestamp 32.00), Gold says: “You may have started to see some news stories now: people taking the vaccine and now they’re testing positive for COVID-19. It’s kind of funny. Are they going to test positive forever, like, what does that mean? You know, they’ve been selling us this bill of goods that there’s this asymptomatic transmission, and that seems to be moot. But If you’re going to have tens or hundreds of millions running around, just kind of positive low-level, like, what does that mean? Like, why are we doing that? Another problem with doing that is, I think they’re going to game the numbers, right? All these people, let’s say you give this vaccine to a hundred million people, and now all hundred million people are ‘testing positive for COVID-19.’ They’re going to tell us that the cases have risen and, you know, we can never relax. It’s unbelievable.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and academic institutes say COVID-19 vaccines do not cause people to test positive on the tests used to measure the number of COVID-19 cases in the community (here and here).
A Moderna vaccine trial which gave RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 to asymptomatic participants before a second dose found that fewer people who had received one dose of the vaccine tested positive for the disease, compared with the control group (here). If everyone who received the vaccine became an asymptomatic carrier, this would have been detected in the trial and would have resulted in dramatically different results.
At another point in the video, Gold claims the name of COVID-19 was changed from “The Wuhan Virus” for political reasons. (here timestamp 3.19).
She said: “The disinformation was apparent since the beginning. We call this illness COVID-19, but its real name should be after the location from where it arose, which is Wuhan, China. And if you remember: It was called the Wuhan Virus for a while, I don’t know, a month or so. Before we discovered that the Chinese Communist Party didn’t like that name. They set about putting a lot of pressure on media and other — politicians, let’s say, to change it, and they started calling it the Coronavirus.”
The World Health Organization (WHO), which named the disease COVID-19 (here), has avoided the use of cities, countries, regions and continents in disease names in guidelines published since 2015 (here). Dr Keiji Fukuda, the WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Security, said of the guidelines in an online statement released by the WHO in 2015: “We’ve seen certain disease names provoke a backlash against members of particular religious or ethnic communities, create unjustified barriers to travel, commerce and trade, and trigger needless slaughtering of food animals.” (here). The WHO told Reuters by email that it had never referred to the illness as the “Wuhan virus”. Further details on its naming can be seen here .
Throughout the video, Gold also regularly endorses unproven treatments for COVID-19. At one point (here timestamp 1.38), she says: “The National Institute of Health right now has as its policy recommendation for patients with COVID-19, stating that unless you’re in the hospital requiring oxygen, there’s no actual treatment available for you. That is a complete falsehood, completely false. In most of the world, non-First World countries, there’s plenty of treatment easily available: Hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin. Here in America, if you can get a doctor to prescribe it, you get these medicines.”
The National Institute of Health COVID-19 treatment guidelines can be seen here . Figure 1 on this page shows recommendations by the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel for patients with varying levels of disease severity. For those not hospitalized, it says: "There are insufficient data to recommend either for or against any specific antiviral or antibody therapy". For patients hospitalized but not requiring supplemental oxygen, it says: "There are insufficient data to recommend either for or against the routine use of remdesivir. For patients at high risk of disease progression, the use of remdesivir may be appropriate."
Reuters has already addressed claims about Ivermectin (here). While there are theoretical reasons (here) to believe that Ivermectin may treat COVID-19, and there have been some promising results (here and here), these papers advise that more studies are needed before it can be recommended as a treatment, or are based on incomplete trials (here). There are more ongoing trials that might prove or disprove the efficacy of Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 (here, here, here, here, here). Proof that it is effective as a treatment has not been published.
The National Institute of Health COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel has published a statement on the use of Ivermectin, stating that: “most of the studies reported to date had incomplete information and significant methodological limitations” and that “there are insufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19. Results from adequately powered, well-designed, and well-conducted clinical trials are needed” (here).
Gold praises Hydroxychloroquine as a treatment against COVID-19 numerous times, insisting that it is safe (timestamp 4.55), giving an anecdote about a patient who quickly recovered from COVID-19 on the treatment (timestamp 7.03), and ascribing low death rates from COVID-19 in sub-saharan Africa due to the drug being widely-available (timestamp 46.50).
She also tells the story (timestamp 20.50) of how the Lancet published a study that found Hydroxychloroquine wasn’t safe, leading to treatment being stopped and trials on the drug being halted, only for the paper to later be retracted. She repeatedly describes the publishing of the paper as “fraud” (timestamp 22.06).
Gold is correct in saying that the Lancet retracted an article on Hydroxychloroquine in June , 2020 (here), however trials for the drug continued and the Lancet later published papers which found that “no difference was seen in non-COVID-19 mortality associated with hydroxychloroquine use” (here) and that the drug had no “preventive effect” against the disease (here).
The National Institute of Health COVID-19 treatment guidelines say: “Compared to placebo, hydroxychloroquine was associated with an increased risk of mostly mild adverse events” and recommend against its use (here).
Gold accuses the media of lying about the paper on Hydroxychloroquine, saying: “when it was retracted, they buried the story of it being retracted. You have to really struggle to find that information. That’s very dishonest.” (timestamp 22.32). The retraction of the Lancet article in June was extensively covered in the media. Stories on the retraction were published by Reuters (here), The New York Times (here and here Washington Post (here), Bloomberg (here) CNN (here here), Voice of America (here), The Economist (here) and The Guardian (here).
This long video contains various claims which are false or misleading, along with expressions of opinion which are not in the scope of this check.Vaccines against COVID-19 do not cause recipients to test positive for the disease. The World Health Organization named the disease COVID-19, did not refer to the “Wuhan virus” and has recommended against naming diseases after places since 2015. There is no proof that Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine are effective treatments against COVID-19.
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