A Houston doctor who praises hydroxychloroquine and says that face masks aren’t necessary to stop transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus has become a star on the right-wing internet, garnering tens of millions of views on Facebook on Monday alone. Donald Trump Jr. declared the video of Stella Immanuel a “must watch,” while Donald Trump himself retweeted the video.
Before Trump and his supporters embrace Immanuel’s medical expertise, though, they should consider other medical claims Immanuel has made—including those about alien DNA and the physical effects of having sex with witches and demons in your dreams.
Immanuel, a pediatrician and a religious minister, has a history of making bizarre claims about medical topics and other issues. She has often claimed that gynecological problems like cysts and endometriosis are in fact caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches.
She alleges alien DNA is currently used in medical treatments, and that scientists are cooking up a vaccine to prevent people from being religious. And, despite appearing in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on Monday, she has said that the government is run in part not by humans but by “reptilians” and other aliens.
Immanuel gave her viral speech on the steps of the Supreme Court at the “White Coat Summit,” a gathering of a handful of doctors who call themselves America’s Frontline Doctors and dispute the medical consensus on the novel coronavirus. The event was organized by the right-wing group Tea Party Patriots, which is backed by wealthy Republican donors.
In her speech, Immanuel alleges that she has successfully treated hundreds of patients with hydroxychloroquine, a controversial treatment Trump has promoted and says he has taken himself. Studies have failed to find proof that the drug has any benefit in treating COVID-19, and the Food and Drug Administration in June revoked its emergency authorization to use it to treat the deadly virus, saying it hadn’t demonstrated any effect on patients’ mortality prospects.
“Nobody needs to get sick,” Immanuel said. “This virus has a cure.”
Immanuel said in her speech that the supposed potency of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment means that protective face masks aren’t necessary, claiming that she and her staff had avoided contracting COVID-19 despite wearing medical masks instead of the more secure N95 masks.
“Hello, you don’t need a mask. There is a cure,” Immanuel said.
Toward the end of Immanuel’s speech, the event’s organizer and other participants can be seen trying to get her away from the microphone. But footage of the speech captured by Breitbart was a hit online, becoming a top video on Facebook and amassing roughly 13 million views—significantly more than “Plandemic,” another coronavirus disinformation video that became a viral hit online in May, when it amassed roughly 8 million Facebook views.
“Hydroxychloroquine” trended on Twitter, as Immanuel’s video was embraced by the Trumps, conservative student group Turning Point USA, and pro-Trump personalities like Diamond & Silk. But both Facebook and Twitter eventually deleted videos of Immanuel’s speech from their sites, citing rules against COVID-19 disinformation. The deletions set off yet another round of complaints by conservatives of bias at the social-media platforms.
Immanuel responded in her own way, declaring that Jesus Christ would destroy Facebook’s servers if her videos weren’t restored to the platform.