- Clip claiming benefits of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus was removed by social media companies over false information
Donald Trump has praised as “spectacular” a doctor who wrongly dismissed the use of face masks to combat the coronavirus as well as reportedly claiming that alien DNA is used in medical treatments and some gynecological problems are caused by people dreaming about having sex with demons.
A group of lab coat-wearing doctors posted an online video on Monday to make a string of inaccurate assertions about the coronavirus that contradicted official government guidelines. Among them was a woman who identified herself as Dr Stella Immanuel and said: “You don’t need masks. There is a cure.”
The US president tweeted a version of the video, which rapidly gained tens of thousands of views on Facebook and YouTube before both companies took it down for containing false public health information. The president’s son Donald Trump Jr had his Twitter account restricted by the company for 12 hours after calling the video a “must watch”.
At a White House press conference on Tuesday, Trump expressed puzzlement over why the so-called “America’s Frontline Doctors” video had been removed, noting that Immanuel claimed to be treating hundreds of Covid-19 patients with the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which he has long championed despite federal public health advice that it is ineffective against coronavirus.
“I don’t know why,” he told reporters. “I think they’re very respected doctors. There was a woman who was spectacular in her statements about it and she’s had tremendous success with it.”
But Kaitlan Collins, White House correspondent for CNN, challenged the president. “The woman that you said was a ‘great doctor’ in that video that you retweeted last night said that masks don’t work and there is a cure for Covid-19, both of which health experts say is not true,” she said.