Panel of doctors addresses COVID-19 misinformation in San Diego County

Posted at 3:59 PM, Oct 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-06 18:59:33-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — An independent panel of local doctors Wednesday participated in a virtual event intended to address what the doctors said was COVID-19 misinformation brought up at Tuesday's San Diego County Board of Supervisors meeting.

During the 70-minute session, which was open to the public for viewing, the doctors dispelled misleading claims about COVID-19, vaccine efficacy and approval, as well as misinformation about side effects and alternative treatments for the virus.

The panel, moderated by Dr. Eric McDonald, county chief medical officer, included Dr. Omid Bakhtar from Sharp Healthcare, Dr. Cynthia Gyamfi- Bannerman from UC San Diego Health, Dr. Christian Ramers from Family Health Centers of San Diego, and Dr. Mark Sawyer from Rady Children's Hospital.

Their discussion included the accuracy of COVID-19 tests, the safety of the vaccines, the usefulness of masks, the efficacy of treatment options, and other issues that came up at board meetings.

County Health and Human Services Agency staff are tracking COVID-19 misinformation shared during public comment following coronavirus presentations to the board.

Efforts to specifically target COVID-19 misinformation began after the board adopted a policy, at Chair Nathan Fletcher's request, declaring misinformation a public health crisis.

In August, San Diego County became the first jurisdiction in the United States to declare health misinformation a public health crisis, and others have since followed.

The county also has launched a new website -- logy/dc/2019-nCoV/EvaluatingInformation.html -- to debunk common false claims about COVID-19 and educate people on where to find credible medical information sources

A video of the virtual event is available on the website. More virtual panels are expected to take place after future Board of Supervisors meetings where a COVID-19 update is provided by county staff.