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This Week in “Corona Scams” and Wrong (COVID-19) Medicine

We warned you not to drink bleach. If you’re reading this now, perhaps you really took that warning to heart. But in light of President Donald Trump actually recommending bleach, other disinfectants, and UV rays as potential COVID-19 “cures”, we need to re-up that awful bit of “advice”.

Also, we’re taking a closer look at a new batch of “corona scams”, from the two doctors who’ve become Fox News stars to the “free speech warriors” peddling out-of-this-world conspiracy theories.

Yes, Donald Trump actually said that.

Nearly a month ago, I warned that sunlight doesn’t wash away the coronavirus… And I begged you not to drink bleach to “cure” yourself of COVID-19. Yet while you and many other Americans wisely stayed away from the bleach peddlers promising the “miracle cure”, a certain resident of a certain White House just can’t stop promising “miracles”.

Last Thursday, Donald Trump actually said, “I see disinfectant, where it knocks [the novel coronavirus] out in a minute — one minute — and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning. Because, you see, it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that.”

Since then, Governors Gretchen Whitmer (D-Michigan) and Larry Hogan (R-Maryland) have reported that their respective states have responded to a spike in poison control calls asking about Trump’s endorsement of injecting bleach and other disinfectants to cure COVID-19. In addition, local health agencies in New York and Illinois have also reported a spike in bleach inquiry calls. 

Yes, Cardi B, this s–t is real.

Since Thursday, Trump has backtracked and pretended that his bleach injection endorsement was just “off the cuff” sarcasm. Also since Thursday, scientists have had to get blunter and louder in explaining why ingesting such highly concentrated cleaning products is dangerous and can be life threatening. Still, this isn’t stopping other celebrities from promoting reckless endangerment.

For one, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo’s spouse Cristina Cuomo continues to insist that adding bleach to her bath water “combat[s] the radiation and metals in my system and oxygenate[s] it”. Meanwhile back in Trump-land, YouTube stars Diamond and Silk decided to one-up Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman by not only endorsing “herd immunity”, but actually encouraging their fans to specifically expose themselves to the novel coronavirus!

As long as people in positions of power and influence continue to encourage dangerous actions (as in, why the hell did Cardi B have someone give her a bikini wax after presciently warning us about COVID-19??!!), we’re going to have to continue calling them out and debunking their “LIBERATE!”, “HOAX!” and/or “CURE!” hype.

No, David Icke and Brian Rose are not being “silenced for telling the truth ‘they’ don’t want you to know!”

Once upon a time (as in, 1991), former BBC sports commentator David Icke shocked the U.K. by proclaiming himself the “Son of the Godhead” on a T.V. talk show. Some seven years later, Icke shocked the world with his book The Biggest Secret, where he claimed that a host of celebrities, from the British royal family to Henry Kissinger and Bob Hope, are not humans, but rather shape-shifting reptilian aliens who have conquered Earth (a la V). 

Spoiler alert: Both the original 1983-84 V series and the 2009-11 V reboot are works of fiction. Also, there is zero actual evidence to confirm or corroborate this or any of David Icke’s other otherworldly conspiracy theories, from his claim that the virulently anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a true story (though he swaps out Jews for reptilian aliens as the villainous ruler class) to his attacks on “Big Pharma” for keeping us away from his preferred pseudo-scientific “alternative medicine”.

Flash forward to March 2020: David Icke scored perhaps his biggest press hit ever with an interview with London Real’s Brian Rose, where Icke endorsed the already debunked “5G will kill us all” conspiracy theory, then falsely claimed that COVID-19 is not even a real disease. To make this even worse, Icke pushed all this and even more misinformation with very little pushback from Brian Rose. British TV network London Live aired much of the interview earlier this month, and the full London Real interview went viral online before YouTube and Facebook pulled the video for violating their respective misinformation rules.

Icke and Rose have since rebranded themselves as “free speech warriors” and decried “Big Tech censorship”, even though both of them have benefitted immensely from Google (which owns YouTube) and Facebook allowing the full spread of this video and additional misinforming content until these two “Big Tech” conglomerates were essentially shamed into pulling the one Icke-Rose interview (and so far, only that one video). Also, it’s rather rich for Brian Rose to complain about “censorship” when Rose is now fundraising off his new fame/infamy, and when Rose himself got YouTube to pull a video that included a clip of Rose’s interview with one Elena Cardone.

No, Grant Cardone probably won’t make you rich. (I mean, how rich is Grant Cardone, really?)

Elena Cardone is married to one Grant Cardone, an American “real estate mogul” who scored major social media followings last decade with his signature “Flash That Cash!” swagger, and he eventually drew greater scrutiny over his very close ties to the Church of Scientology. In a very Trumpian move, Cardone combined his Southern swagger with “populist, anti-establishment” messaging to claim that he does what the “elite banks” won’t do in making people rich through his lucrative property portfolio.

In another incredibly Trumpian move, Cardone’s “$750 million real estate portfolio” has been built on a toxic twist of the time-honored principle of “Other People’s Money”. In Cardone’s case, it’s a combination of investors signing away at least $15,000 each for Cardone to invest how he sees fit (as in, the investors have virtually no say over their own money) for ten years, Cardone skimping his investors on returns that wouldn’t have been possible without their money, and Cardone’s company loading up on good ol’-fashioned debt. Last August, none other than infamous “Wolf of Wall Street” scammer Jordan Belfort called out Cardone’s fragile financial house of cards.

Flash forward to March 2020: Cardone laid off 80 of his 180 employees without notice, begged his tenants to pre-pay as much as a year’s worth of rent to try to offset his company’s (at least) $300 million loss, and resorted to what sounds like deceptive advertising to fill vacancies at his company’s rental properties. Yet despite the exposure of Cardone’s fallen financial house of cards (or maybe because of this exposure?), Cardone has since taken another cue from Trump by claiming that states’ and municipal authorities’ business shutdown emergency orders are more dangerous than COVID-19.

As Vox’s Matt Yglesias explained last week, and as a slew of medical and economic experts have been explaining for some time, the only way to achieve sustainable economic recovery is by securing a broad recovery of people’s health and sustainably sound health care infrastructure. Should we really toss aside sound medical science and economics, and instead take advice from someone who’s begging renters for a bailout?

No, those two doctors are not looking out for you! (And Elon Musk can GTFO out of here!)

Speaking of sound medical science, far-right “LIBERATE!” activists are not just pointing to expert billionaire crank-ologist Elon Musk as proof that we must “FREE AMERICA NOW”, but they’re also praising Bakersfield, California, Drs. Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi as proof that they somehow also have science on their side. Spoiler alert: They still don’t. Here’s why.

Yes, Erickson and Massihi are urgent care physicians, but they’re not epidemiologists or virologists who have developed expertise in viral diseases like COVID-19. Also, they erroneously extrapolated onto the entire population the limited testing data they have only collected from their own urgent care clinic. And even worse, they misuse their very limited testing data to demand the very kind of rapid and en masse societal reopening that actual epidemiologists and virologists have broadly advised against.

Yes, it’s interesting to dive deep into the conspira-sea. However, there’s another and far more important reason why I’m talking about all of this. Sadly, many Americans are actually trying these fraudulent “cures” and hurting themselves. And they’re mostly hurting themselves not because they’re terribly unethical or stupid, but because they’re hoping for a way out of this pandemic. 

No, the terribly unethical and truly dangerous people are the ones we’ve been highlighting in this series. These scammers are out to make some fast money from this crisis, and they’re eyeing us as their marks. Please, do some real research and just say no to these and other “corona scams”.

If you’re in need of medical treatment, contact your primary health care provider first. If you fear you can’t afford treatment from a hospital or doctor’s office, check with the Southern Nevada Health DistrictWashoe County Health DistrictCarson City Health and Human Services, or the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services for resources in your area. For additional aid, check the Nevada Current’s and Battle Born Progress’ resource guides. If you can afford proper treatment and you are fortunate enough to help others in need, please donate to larger operations like Direct Relief and Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, and to local groups like Three Square.

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