A video clip claims to show a Florida county commissioner advising uninsured people to kill the coronavirus by inhaling hot air from a blow dryer.
A Facebook post shows a video clip that purports to be a county commissioner in Florida espousing a widely debunked theory that the coronavirus can be killed by inhaling hot air.
Bad advice at an Okeechobee commissioners meeting
About a half-hour into the March 20 emergency meeting to address the COVID-19 pandemic, Okeechobee County Commissioner Bryant Culpepper launched into a discussion of how to kill the deadly virus using a blow dryer up the nose.
Culpepper said that because the nasal passages and nasal membranes were “the coolest part of the body,” the virus settled there before going to the lungs. Heating up those nasal passages will kill COVID-19, he said. And to do that, you could take a blow dryer, hold it up to your face and inhale.
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This wasn't something from social media, Culpepper said, because “there’s a lot of baloney out there on social media."
Culpepper then went on to cite what he said was the source of the information, one of the “foremost doctors that has studied the coronavirus,” appearing on a One America News Network news program.
It turns out that Culpepper got that wrong too, according to One America News Network.
"One America News has done a thorough review of all on-air, social media, and website content. We have also asked staff to track down any possible association between the statements made by the official and One America News Network. We are unable to find any association between the statements made by the municipal official and One America News Network," the company wrote in a press release.
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The company said it did post a story on its website on March 18 "that debunks a number of false methods to kill the Coronavirus, including the use of a hand dryer."
Despite his statement that social media has "a lot of baloney," that's where Culpepper went to praise a Lake Okeechobee News article about his claims. “Great article for those that don’t have medical insurance,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
A day later, Culpepper was back on social media, apologizing, kind of.
He didn't back off the blower-dryer-up-the-nose prophylactic but said he was sorry for responding to comments he should have ignored.
“I was only trying to give comfort to those in Okeechobee who have no insurance to treat there (sic) families,” he wrote. “I will not offer anymore (sic) suggestions unless they are tried and proven. I ask for All of your forgiveness for anything offensive that I uttered during these exchanges. God Bless and soften your hearts.”
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Our rating: True post, false information
The part about the commissioner is true. It's a video clip from the nearly hour-long meeting, and the commissioner's statements are accurately recorded. The falsity is in what the commissioner said about killing the virus with hot air up your nose.
The World Health Organization on its "myth buster" web page states that hand dryers will not kill the coronavirus. If hot air can't kill the virus on your hands, why would it work any better up your nose?
Moreover, doctors from a variety of specialties have pointed out that using a dryer up your nose will not kill coronavirus and could lead to burns and other damage.
If you want to know about other crazy cures that should be avoided, go to social media and check out Dr. Faheem Younus, chief quality officer and chief of infectious diseases, University of Maryland UCH, and his thread on Twitter (@FaheemYounus) addressing COVID-19 myths.
Our fact-check sources:
Video of Okeechobee County Commission Meeting
Commissioner Bryant Culpepper's Facebook page
Lake Okeechobee News
World Health Organization
One America Network News
This story originally published to news-press.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the USA TODAY Network - Florida.