“When Stephanie caught Covid-19 just before Thanksgiving of last year, her daughter Laurie suggested that she get help,” Geoff Brumfiel writes over at NPR. “‘She was really not feeling well, and I was like, “Just go to the doctor,”‘ Laurie recalls. But Stephanie, who was 75 at the time, didn’t go. A few years before, she had been sucked into a world of online conspiracy theories —- far-fetched ideas like one claiming John F. Kennedy Jr. is still alive. With the pandemic, it got worse. She became deeply distrustful of the medical system. Laurie remembers what her mother used to tell her about the COVID vaccines: ‘Everybody who got vaccinated is going to die.’ (NPR is only using family members’ first names to protect them from online harassment.) Covid cases and hospitalizations are once again on the rise, thanks to a new omicron subvariant. Vaccines and certain proven treatments can help prevent the worst outcomes. But for Americans like Stephanie who don’t trust the medical establishment, there’s a network of fringe medical doctors, natural healers and internet personalities ready to push unproven cures for Covid. And a shady black market where you can buy them. Stephanie was plugged into that alternative medical network, and doctors say it ultimately cost her life. The array of alternative Covid treatments is vast. Some offer kosher multivitamins, others suggest more radical interventions, such as drinking your own urine. But one drug in particular has become the center of many alternative therapies: ivermectin. Originally used to treat parasitic worms, ivermectin has developed an enormous following over the course of the pandemic —- especially in politically conservative circles. That’s, in part, because of a small cadre of licensed doctors who promote it as an alternative to vaccination against Covid. Among the most prominent is Dr. Pierre Kory, whose group, the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance, has become a major force promoting ivermectin.” Geoff Brumfiel, < “Covid patients find dangerous advice and pills online,” NPR.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.