“Misinformation about a deadly virus has become political fodder, which was then spread by many individuals who are trusted by their constituencies,”
Lisa Kaplan, founder of Alethea Group
(CMR) A fake viral video was remoted from various social media platforms after it was posted on Monday by a group of persons calling themselves “America's Frontline Doctors”. Despite this, it still managed to reach millions of persons and was tweeted by US President Donald Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr.
Trump has 84.2 million followers.
The video shows the power of social media – shared by the right-wing news site Breitbart Facebook groups dedicated to anti-vaccination movements and conspiracy theories such as QAnon, it racked up tens of millions of views.
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube worked feverishly to remove it but it had already been extracted and shared locally by many in the Cayman Islands. The video is said to be designed specifically to appear to internet conspiracists and people eager to see the economy re-open with no restrictions despite numerous inaccuracies in it.
In the video, a woman who claims to be “Dr. Stella” Immanuel makes statement like “you don't need masks” to prevent the spread of coronavirus. She claimed she has treated hundreds of patients infected with coronavirus with hydroxychloroquine, and asserted that it was an effective treatment. The claims have been repeatedly disputed by the medical establishment.
The doctor's credentials are questionable but she has previously claimed certain gynecological issues are caused by sexual encounters with demons in dreams, along with other dubious medical claims. She also believes in Alien DNA.
Immanuel is a licensed pediatrician in the State of Texas, according to the Texas Medical Board.
Her practice address is listed as 6278 Highway 6 South in Houston, which Google Maps data shows is also the location of Fire Power Ministries Christian Resource Center, a ministry that is headed by Immanuel. She has shared that Jesus will destroy Facebook if her COVID video is not placed back on their social media platform.
A lengthy bio on Immanuel’s Details section on Facebook calls the doctor a “prophet of God to the nations.” One sentence in the profile reads, “Her attitude toward demonic forces has been described as cut-throat, a warrior to the core.” Immanuel is also a “wealth transfer coach.” Immanuel believes “you can be saved anointed, fire brand and wealthy too.” The Fire Power Ministry website indicates that Immanuel is a “true daughter of Dr D.K. Olukoya of Mountain of Fire and Miracles ministries.”
At one point Trump also claimed hydroxychloroquine was a miracle drug and even threatened India over gaining access to it. He later backtracked on that position. The Food and Drug Administration revoked emergency authorization of the drug for Covid-19 patients stating that it was “unlikely to be effective” and carried potential serious risks. The National Institutes of Health halted clinical trials of the drug as well.
Whilst sharing the video Monday Trump also claims that much of the U.S. is “corona free”. On Tuesday morning Twitter took action against Donald Trump Jr. He was ordered to remove the tween and his account was restricted for 12 hours. They also took the same action against Kelli Ward, the Arizona Republican Party chairwoman.