• Dr. Stella Immanuel, who promoted an unproven COVID-19 treatment in a video shared by President Donald Trump this week, is a member of a controversial Tea Party-backed group of medics.
  • The group, America’s Frontline Doctors, has called for the lifting of lockdown restrictions and criticized measures to slow the spread of the disease.
  • Its founder, Dr. Simone Gold, told the AP in May that there was “no scientific basis that the average American should be concerned” about COVID-19.
  • The group is backed by Tea Party Patriots, a conservative group that has supported protests against lockdown measures.

Dr. Stella Immanuel, who appeared in a controversial video promoting an unproven COVID-19 treatment, is a member of a group of pro-Trump medics who have for months been pushing misinformation about the virus.

In the video, clips of which were shared this week by President Donald Trump, Immanuel appears at a news conference outside the Supreme Court with other members of the group, America’s Frontline Doctors, and GOP Rep. Ralph Norman. The members promote the drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventive treatment and a cure for COVID-19.

The Food and Drug Administration has said that hydroxychloroquine is not an effective COVID-19 treatment and that it should not be used for coronavirus patients because of a risk of dangerous heart problems.

The founder of America’s Frontline Doctors, who also appears in the video, has been a vocal critic of measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 and said in May that most Americans need not worry about it. Immanuel has also questioned the effectiveness of wearing masks to stop the spread of the disease — despite mounting evidence that it is one of the best protective measures people can take.

The Daily Beast reported on Tuesday on Immanuel’s other outlandish claims, including that sex dreams involving demons cause illnesses and that alien DNA is used in medications.

The hydroxychloroquine video was shared widely on social media, and the right-wing site Breitbart promoted it. The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., had his Twitter account temporarily limited for sharing it; the site said it violated its rules against promoting coronavirus misinformation. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube also removed the video.

The press conference that the medics spoke at was hosted by Tea Party Patriots, a right-wing nonprofit group that backed protests against lockdown measures in several US states earlier this year. The group has raised $24 million in the past six years to support Republican candidates and causes, NBC News reported.

America’s Frontline Doctors was started by Dr. Simone Gold, whose Twitter profile describes her as a “doctor-lawyer-writer-mom” in Los Angeles. On social media she has argued against lockdown measures.

The Associated Press reported in May that Republican operatives were recruiting medics to argue in favor of reopening the US economy as soon as possible — while public-health experts called for phased, gradual reopenings to prevent a resurgence of the virus — and that Gold was the first signatory of 400 on a letter calling for an economic reopening.

She told the AP that there was “no scientific basis that the average American should be concerned” about COVID-19. She denied that she working in coordination with the Trump campaign.

She did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

As of Wednesday, the US had reported nearly 150,000 COVID-19 deaths.


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