Local doctor removing health articles after claims of misinformation

Posted at 6:43 PM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 18:54:17-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website has a host of blogs about health tips, COVID-19 and vaccines. One post claims to treat COVID-19 for less than $1 a day. Wednesday morning he posted he'll remove all of his content in 48 hours.

Mercola stands by his information - but says he will take all of his content down - because of a New York Times article published just days ago.

“So, the course of action I am now forced to take, is to remove my entire archive of articles,” he said.

The article he's referring to points to researchers and regulators who have called Mercola a spreader of misinformation. That allegation is based on his published writings, like one published on his website that references studies from Italy that state previous COVID-19 infection is just as effective as vaccination, saying antibodies from the virus last in your body for at least nine months. The Centers for Disease Control, however says there's no way to know how long antibodies last inside each person.

Lyn Millner, Journalism Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University says spreading misinformation during a pandemic is particularly dangerous, referencing the hundreds of people who are currently battling COVID-19 in Lee Health hospitals as of Wednesday.

“Wherever there is fear, there will be hoaxes. There will be misinformation,” she said.

She suggests when reading Dr. Mercola’s blogs or information from anyone else, ask yourself several questions.

“Who is he? What credentials does he have? Does he have an agenda? And it seems like he might. Certainly, he is selling things on his website,” she said.

But, Dr. Mercola is held in high regard in Cape Coral where his company is headquartered. It’s the first company name that appears on the City of Cape Coral’s headquarters website. When Fox 4 asked the city if they planned to remove it considering the controversy, they said there has been discussion around it, but they haven’t made a decision.

A city spokesperson sent the following statement to Fox 4:

Mercola has invested millions in our community and brought more than 125 good-paying jobs to the city.

In 2019, a jobs creation incentive agreement with the company was approved for jobs paying an average annual salary of $60,000. The local job creation incentive program promotes jobs that pay at or above Lee County’s average salary. The agreement provided a $1,500 incentive for each new job, as well as any jobs, relocated to Cape Coral, with a maximum incentive of $132,000.

The business is featured on the City’s website due to the number of jobs created in Cape Coral and the job creation incentive that was awarded in 2019. There has been some internal discussion about making changes to the webpage you are referring to due to the recent news article, which is being challenged by the company.