Commissioner for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Robert Califf, in an appearance on CNN, said there would be almost zero deaths from Covid were it not for “misinformation” online.
In the US, as of this week, 998,000 people had allegedly died from Covid since the beginning of the pandemic, according to official statistics.
“With COVID, the situation is we know that if you’re vaccinated and up to date with your vaccinations, you have a 90% reduction in the risk of death,” he said. “If you are unlucky enough to get infected … another 90% reduction would be antivirals, which are now available,” he added.
“Almost no one in this country should be dying from COVID if we were up to date on our vaccinations and got appropriate antiviral treatment,” he continued.
Califf said it was difficult to quantify his belief that online misinformation is not the leading cause of death in the country, but noted that there has been “an erosion of life expectancy.”
Even before the pandemic, Califf said he was concerned with the “reduction of life expectancy from common diseases like heart disease,” yet there is a lot of information about how to prevent critical outcomes.
“But somehow … the reliable, truthful messages are not getting across,” he said. “And it’s being washed down by a lot of misinformation, which is leading people to make bad choices that are unfortunate for their health.”
It was not the first time Califf talked about health misinformation. According to the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ), at a health conference in Texas last month, Califf said that he believes misinformation was “now our leading cause of death.”