NBC News reports "some people in anti-vaccine and pro-ivermectin Facebook groups" are pushing conspiracy theories claiming doctors are preventing unvaccination patients "from receiving miracle cures or are even killing them on purpose" after observing posts from the groups during the past few weeks.
The groups are also telling their members with COVID-19 to avoid going to the hospital and instead try unproven at-home treatments in the recent posts amid a continued surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations nationwide.
The messages are the latest example of issues medical professionals face as COVID misinformation continues to be shared on social media platforms as the high number of cases and hospitalizations continues to rise.
“We were down to four Covid patients two months ago. In this surge, we’ve had 40 to 50 patients with Covid on four different ICU services, 97 percent of them unvaccinated,” said Wes Ely, an ICU doctor and professor of medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, via NBC News. “We were making headway, and now we’re just losing really, really badly. There’s something that’s happening on the internet, and it’s dramatically increasing steam.”
Ely's comments echo various local reports of growing threats and violence directed at medicl professionals nationwide, including a Branson, Missouri medical center's recent decision to introduce panic buttons on employee badges amid an increase in assults, as well as incidents taking place in Massachusetts, Texas, Georgia and Idaho, NBC News reports.
On Tuesday (September 21), data from Johns Hopkins University revealed nearly 9,500 individuals died of complications from the coronavirus last week, and 1 in 3 resided in Texas, Georgia and Alabama, ABC News reported.
Additionally, about 90,000 Americans are currently hospitalized in relation to COVID-19 -- though down from the 100,000 patients reported three weeks ago -- as at least 10 states -- Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia -- have reported record hospitalizations recently.
Federal data showed the following states lead all others in COVID-19 cases:
- West Virginia
- North Dakota
More than 678,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 among the 4.7 million worldwide since the pandemic began in March 2020, according to data released by Johns Hopkins University via ABC News.
Last week, the average number of daily deaths in the U.S. rose to about 20%, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services via ABC News.