San Diego County Supervisor Fletcher: 'There's a pandemic of misinformation'

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Posted at 4:28 PM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-30 20:52:32-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher says it's time to fight back on misinformation that is keeping people from getting the COVID vaccine. His message, however, could find a tough audience.

"I care about your life, I care about your family," Fletcher said at a news conference Monday.

Fletcher met with the media to explain an ordinance he'd introduce at Tuesday's board meeting aimed at combating misinformation that dissuades people from getting inoculated. The measure calls COVID misinformation a public health crisis. Fletcher noted 98 percent of the people hospitalized in the county with coronavirus are not fully vaccinated, and that the Pfizer vaccine is now approved by the FDA.

"This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated and there's a pandemic of misinformation that is driving people to be fearful of what can save their life," Fletcher said.

Fletcher is bringing the ordinance forward in response to a public comment period at the board meeting two weeks ago that went viral with people railing against vaccine mandates and mask wearing.

Fletcher's ordinance would invest in training workers on on how to combat misinformation, while also building web resources specific to counter claims on the internet that health officials have deemed incorrect. He gave an example of horse de-wormer Ivermectin being touted as a COVID treatment, which the FDA says can be dangerous and has not approved.

Fletcher said he understands that there are people who are beyond convincing, but if the effort gets one person to get the shot, it would be worth it.

Amy Reichert, who heads the group Reopen San Diego and is unvaccinated, said she was weary of the effort.

"Whenever I hear that the government wants to combat misinformation, I think of George Orwell and 1984, and it kind of gives me the creeps," she said.

Reichert's group, which participated in the public comment period two weesk ago, will rally against mandates outside Tuesday's board meeting. Reichert said the decision on whether to get the vaccine is private, and that she is taking a wait and see approach.

"There's things that we just don't know," she said.

What Reichert does know is that 98 percent of those in the hospital with COVID are not fully vaccinated, but she said the county has not been transparent enough with patient information, such as any underlying health conditions.