Since Idaho hospitals are dealing with so many coronavirus patients that they now have the opportunity to ration the health care system, the newest member of the state’s largest public health council, a doctor who has called COVID-19 vaccines “fake” and ” needle rape “, is settling down.
Ryan Cole, a pathologist in Boise, has replaced Dr. Ted Epperly of the Central District Board of Health. Epperly sat on the board for 15 years but was ousted because he supports taking public health measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. Cole, backed by the Ada County Republican Party, was elected by Republican county commissioners who said they liked his “outsider” perspective and how he “questioned” medical guidance. Washington Post reports. The only Democratic commissioner objected to Cole’s appointment.
Cole has used much of the pandemic on the right-wing media circuit to downplay the virus and carry out unproven treatments for it, like the antiparasitic drug ivermectin. During an event this summer in San Antonio, he called the coronavirus vaccine “fake” and “needle rape,” and later told KTVB it was a “tongue-in-cheek” comment.
Idaho has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the United States, where only 40 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, and the state is experiencing an increase in new infections and hospitalizations. The Idaho Medical Association issued a statement last week saying that by choosing Cole, “politicians favored public health” and Cole’s claims about coronavirus and the vaccine “do not conform to Idaho’s standards of care.” Epperly told Post that seeing “my state implode over political decisions that have negative consequences for health is appalling to me … It’s the tragedy I see unfolding.”
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