Let's talk about doctors behaving badly. Specifically, licensed physicians who promote misinformation about COVID-19.

And let's start with one in particular: Simone Gold. I've spent much of the past few weeks listening to what she has to say...🧵

Gold describes herself as an emergency physician or, sometimes "a board-certified emergency physician..." That's half-true...
She is a licensed physician in California, but her American Board of Emergency Medicine certification expired in December of 2020.
Her real specialty is misinformation. She inflates the dangers of vaccines by saying they are causing excessive deaths (they’re not: npr.org/sections/healt… )

Or, for example, that they can cause fertility problems (they don’t:
npr.org/sections/healt… )
Gold also pushes alternative therapies that have not been proven effective against COVID0-19. At public talks she promotes $90 telehealth appointments with her group, America’s Frontline Doctors.
I’m not going to go too deep into THAT business model, because @VeraMBergen already hit-it-out-of-the-park with an investigation showing just how problematic those telehealth appointments have been:
Gold has also been arrested for participating in the January 6th insurrection. She’s currently awaiting trial.

She declined through her lawyer to be interviewed for my story, but has pleaded not guilty.
And yet, if you check with the California Medical Board, Gold has an apparently clean bill of health. There’s no record of disciplinary action or malpractice complaints on her record. How is this possible?
It all comes down to the fragmented system in the U.S. for licensing doctors. Each state has its own medical board. And those boards are a mix of doctors, attorneys and members of the general public. They’re really set up for malpractice, not misinformation.
"People assume that licensing boards are on the lookout, they're on the internet," says @DrHankChaudhry, president of the Federation of State Medical Boards. "They actually don't have the resources — neither the money nor the manpower — to monitor what happens on the internet."
Investigations can also take time. The California Medical Board, for example, has to conduct a full investigation and submit it to the state’s Attorney General before action can be taken. Until action is taken, every aspect of the investigation remains confidential.
NPR examined the licenses of 16 doctors. We found that 15 still had active medical licenses more-or-less in good standing. (The exception, whose license has lapsed, still appears as an MD on this platform BTW).
These MDs have a big influence. They appear on conservative talk radio and outlets like Newsmax. They downplay the benefits of vaccination, despite hard data showing an 11-fold drop in COVID mortality amongst the vaccinated.
The @TheFSMB has called on medical boards to get tougher with doctors who distort the risks of vaccination. So far, not much has happened.

For her part, Gold is now awaiting trial. While she does, she continues to give talks as a fully licensed MD.
Finally, if you're interested in more on Gold's rise and personal journey, check out @smencimer’s fantastic investigation for Mother Jones:


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More from @gbrumfiel

20 Jul
Today on @MorningEdition, I walked through the life cycle of a vaccine lie.

It starts with a kernel of truth: After vax, many women anecdotally reported heavy periods. That's plausible, says @aliceluculligan, because immune cells aid in menstruation.

But the clinical trials never asked women about their experiences with menstruation, so there's no data.

That created an opportunity for misinformation, says @MelanieFSmith (then at @Graphika_NYC).

For misinfo to thrive "there is always that gap of knowledge," she says.
@MelanieFSmith @Graphika_NYC There was plenty of chatter around the question of periods in groups and message boards. But one Facebook group turned out to be particularly influential. It was frequented by anti-vaccine activists who quickly picked up on the idea and ran with it...
Read 10 tweets
19 Jul
NEW: A key scientist who signed the letter calling for investigation into the lab leak theory now says a natural origin "is the most likely scenario by a long shot."

It's based on his own analysis of where the first cases were found. (by @FoodieScience)
@FoodieScience Evolutionary biologist Michael Worobey, who's studied the origins of the 1918 flu and the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in America. He initially signed the letter because he hadn't seen anything that differentiated whether it came from the markets or the lab.
@FoodieScience But two things have swayed him that the market is (again) the most likely origin.

1. Initial cases clearly radiate out away from the markets, not the lab.

2. A newly published paper shows numerous live animals were being sold in the market...

Read 6 tweets
1 Jul
🚨🚨SCOOPLET!🚨🚨 China is expanding its mysterious, giant airfield in the middle of the desert. New (28 June) imagery from @Maxar shows a dozen or so buildings under construction at the site.

This may be China's Area 51 under construction.

Full Story: npr.org/2021/07/01/101…
This airstrip is huge at 5km (3 mi). It's weird in several ways:

✅Its in the middle of nowhere, on the edge of an abandoned nuclear test site at Lop Nur.

✅It doesn't have normal aistrip stuff, like taxiways, aprons or control towers.

✅Did I mention it's GINORMOUSLY LONG?
Last year its believed that China landed a classified "space plane" at the site. That's in part because the runway JUST HAPPENED to align perfectly with the space plane's orbital path.

Read 13 tweets
14 Jun
Short 🧵: Data from the Chinese National Nuclear Safety Administration does seem to indicate a *slightly* elevated level of gamma radiation around the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant. These are the two monitoring stations closest (one on the left is at the plant).
The full list of monitoring at Chinese NPPs is here:

As of yesterday, Taishan is at 153 nGy/h (153 nanograys per hour). That's above the level of other plants in the country.
The levels at both sites near Taishan NPP also seem to have been elevated since at least late May. This may be an indication that this has been going on for awhile, and is not an immediate emergency.
Read 19 tweets
26 Mar
And now @MAXAR's worldview satellite has supplied high-resolution imaging from earlier this very day, showing that there is still a ship stuck in the Suez Canal. #OSINTatWork
I would just like to point out that we now have confirmation of a ship stuck in the Suez Canal using multiple space-based sensors.
We also have imagery at different resolutions... And different nadir angles at different times of day... (credit: @Maxar @Airbus @planetlabs and @capellaspace for that previous tweet)
Read 10 tweets
17 Nov 20
OMG, @rebeccalramirez just put me on to the CDC's "coping with COVID" coloring book for kids, and it's an exercise in anxiety.

Not sure I'll sleep tonight.
I'm the grown-up and I feel ALL OF THESE THINGS!
It's not your fault Timmy. It's happening. You're powerless to stop it. It is affecting every aspect of your life, and your loved ones may be in danger.

... says Rover, the friendly dog.

(Also CDC guidance indicates pets can carry COVID. BACK OFF ROVER cdc.gov/coronavirus/20…)
Read 5 tweets

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