The latest viral video promoting COVID-19 misinformation features a newly formed group called America’s Frontline Doctors. Nearly a dozen physicians dressed in white coats with an embroidered logo, spoke for 45 minutes in front of the Supreme Court on on a range of COVID-19 talking points, from hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) being curative to the mental health effects of lockdown outweighing the toll of the virus itself. However:
None of them have practices that place them on the actual front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic — and some don’t currently practice at all.
Stella Immanuel, MD is a pediatrician and minister in Texas. She has challenged Dr. Anthony Fauci and CNN correspondents to share urine samples to prove they were not secretly taking HCQ. She claims to have treated 350 COVID-19 patients with HCQ and none have died, and that people do not need to wear masks. She has also reportedly claimed that alien DNA is being experimented with and that gynecological problems are caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches. Not long before her ministry’s Web site was shut down, a link to a GoFundMe campaign was removed.
James Todaro, MD, an ophthalmologist is no longer practicing has not practiced medicine since 2018: his medical license, which was classified as “educational limited” in Michigan, expired in 2019. Previously, Todaro wrote a “white paper” chloroquine as prophylaxis and treatment for COVID-19, based on published information and linked in a Twitter post that was eventually labeled as “potentially spammy or unsafe.”
Dan Erickson, DO is the co-owner of Accelerated Urgent Care in California. He is a former emergency physician who claimed data his center had collected showed that COVID was more widespread and less harmful than reported in medical journals. The American College of Emergency Physicians and American Academy of Emergency Medicine issued a joint statement condemning Erickson’s claims as “reckless and untested musings” that are “inconsistent with current science and epidemiology regarding COVID-19.”
Richard Urso, MD is an ophthalmologist at Houston Eye Associates in Texas, who has been touting HCQ for COVID-19. He told Fox News that he has been working with the drug for 30 years and has never had a patient with a heart issue. He also said during that interview that HCQ was “safer than Tylenol, aspirin, Motrin.” In 2003, he paid a $1,500 fine to resolve allegations that he didn’t provide a narrative of medical records to an attorney for a patient’s personal injury lawsuit.
The America’s Frontline Doctors website, which according to internet records was created on July 16, was de-activated on July 29. Major social media platforms have been flagging or removing the video of their July 27 press conference.