News and Commentary

Video Of Frontline Doctors Challenging Lockdown Removed From YouTube
Coronavirus around blood cells
Radoslav Zilinsky via Getty Images

On Monday, YouTube removed a video of two frontline California doctors challenging lockdown from an ABC News affiliate’s page, citing a violation of the platform’s “community guidelines.”

The two doctors, Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi of Accelerated Urgent Care, told reporters last week in a taped press conference that nationwide lockdown policies are not an appropriate reaction to what current data indicates about the China-originated novel coronavirus, but are instead causing measurable public health issues, like spikes in domestic violence, sexual abuse, depression, and spreading fear to non-COVID-19 related would-be patients that are skipping out on vital health care.

Erickson compared COVID-19 to the season flu by using extrapolated data from both nonrandomized testing done at Accelerated Urgent Care and antibody testing across the nation, which are randomized. (Note: extrapolation of nonrandomized data would likely skew the fatality rate down, since the people getting tested typically believe they might have the virus, thus making them more likely to test positive for the virus than the general public.)

YouTube told The Daily Wire on Tuesday that the first part of the presser was removed from the platform for containing “content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of local healthy authority recommended guidance on social distancing that may lead others to act against that guidance.” If the content was included with additional “context,” the platform added, the video would be allowed.

“We quickly remove flagged content that violate our Community Guidelines, including content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of local healthy authority recommended guidance on social distancing that may lead others to act against that guidance,” YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi told The Daily Wire in an emailed statement Tuesday. “However, content that provides sufficient educational, documentary, scientific or artistic (EDSA) context is allowed — for example, news coverage of this interview with additional context. From the very beginning of the pandemic, we’ve had clear policies against COVID-19 misinformation and are committed to continue providing timely and helpful information at this critical time.”

Erickson told 23 ABC News Bakersfield of the video pull, “Anytime you push against the grain, you are going to have people who don’t like it.”

During the video presser, the doctors said the virus is not what we planned for, coming nowhere near the 2.2 million deaths projected without intervention or the hundreds of thousands projected considering lockdown measures.

“If you study the numbers in 2017 and 2018, we had 50 to 60 million with the flu,” Erickson said during the press conference, The Blaze noted. “And we had a similar death rate in the deaths the United States were 43,545 — similar to the flu of 2017-2018. We always have between 37,000 and 60,000 deaths in the United States, every single year. No pandemic talk. No shelter in place. No shutting down businesses.”

The doctors argued lockdown was fomenting fear which in turn has created non-COVID-related patients skipping out on lifesaving care at hospitals and emergency rooms.

“When I talk to E.R. physicians around the country, what’s happening?” he said. “Well, because COVID has become the focus, people with heart disease, people with cancer, hypertension, and various things that are critical are choosing not to come in based on fear. So what that’s doing is forcing the health care system to focus on COVID and not focus on a myriad of other things that are critical because we don’t have the staff there and the major complaint is fear.”

A doctor on the frontlines of COVID-19 hotspot New York City similarly said in an op-ed posted Monday at The New York Post that the extended lockdowns were creating more harm than good, especially past the initial surge.

The significant drop in 911 ambulance runs, which is currently “significantly below the average,” suggests “a large share of those staying home surely have emergency medical and surgical conditions not related to the novel coronavirus. The growing numbers ­dying at home during this crisis must include fatal myocardial infarctions, asthma exacerbations, bacterial infections and stroke,” argued Daniel G. Murphy, MD, the chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

Pediatric volume in the ER “has practically disappeared,” he added. “Visits to primary-care pediatricians are also down, with vaccine schedules falling behind. Everyone seems to be avoiding the health system — an important and unfortunate consequence of the stay-at-home strategy.”

Before the video of Erickson and Massihi was removed, it received nearly 5.5 million views.

23 ABC News Bakersfield has appealed YouTube’s decision to removed the video.

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