On April 22, 2020, two doctors from Bakersfield, CA posted a video on YouTube. Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi own and run an urgent care facility in Kern County.
I appreciate what they are trying to communicate. They want to lift the stay-at-home orders for California. I think most people wish we could do that right now. And I don’t think anyone is disregarding the economy and other health and societal factors right now.
They state they are making this call based on “data and science.” However, they are unable to support their stance with the data they present. There has since been plenty of debunking and backlash (short list below):
- Carl T. Bergstrom Twitter @CT_Bergstrom – Professor of Biology at the University of Washington (April 26, 2020)
- ACEP-AAEM Joint Statement on Physician Misinformation (April 27, 2020)
- Cue the debunking: Two Bakersfield doctors go viral with dubious COVID test conclusions (April 27, 2020)
The videos (there were two parts) were removed from YouTube. “In response to the video being taken down, Dr. Erickson said, “Anytime you push against the grain, you are going to have people who don’t like it.”” (23 ABC News, Bakersfield)
Unfortunately, these doctors do not appear to understand that it’s not about people not liking what they say, it is about backing up their claims with erroneously interpreted data, presented anecdotal “evidence”, and just plain bad science misleading the public. It is hard to fight misinformation at any time, but especially during a pandemic, misinformation can lead to real and significant consequences.
Here is a highly entertaining and educational blog post that I found today with a great summary of the video and what’s wrong with just about every point these doctors bring up: