An Oregon doctor dismissed Covid-19 as a "common cold" in a recently surfaced video and said the staff members at his clinic have not worn masks during the coronavirus pandemic.
The doctor, Steven LaTulippe, made the comments Nov. 7 during a "Stop the Steal" rally in support of President Donald Trump to a group gathered outside the State Capitol in Salem.
"I want you to know that I never shut down during the entire Covid season. ... I hate to tell you this, I might scare you, but I and my staff, none of us once wore a mask in my clinic," he continued as the crowd cheered. "And how many problems did we have in our clinic from that? Zero. Absolutely none."
LaTulippe, who owns South View Medical Arts in Dallas, southwest of Portland, said he has treated nearly 80 Covid-19 patients. Before he took the microphone, he was introduced as a doctor who was going to talk about the "myths of Covid."
"We have been utterly duped, and I want you to know that this is insanity and the purpose was only to shut down the American people. This is a threat to your freedom, a threat to our Constitution. I petition all of you, take off the mask of shame," LaTulippe said.
"It is a mask that is just designed to control you and to shut you down," he said, calling the virus, which has killed more than 271,000 people in the United States, "a common cold virus."
In a phone interview Wednesday, LaTulippe doubled down on his anti-mask stance, saying he does not agree with requiring masks because he believes "there's bad science behind it."
"I have absolutely zero problems with infectivity, and I have completely successful treatments, so I ask, 'What is the problem?' Why would I be demonized if I know what I'm doing?" he said.
"I have a very rigid virus and flu-season protocol at my clinic, and it has worked very well for me for years," he continued. "I've never had any of my staff or myself get sick."
In a Nov. 20 report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said seven studies conducted in various settings "confirmed the benefit of universal masking in community level analyses."
"Each analysis demonstrated that, following directives from organizational and political leadership for universal masking, new infections fell significantly," the CDC said.
Although LaTulippe refuses to wear a mask, he said he does ask patients who believe they have Covid-19 or who are showing symptoms of the virus to wear them.
He sees them at the end of the day after all of his other patients leave and treats them in a back room that is disinfected before and after they leave.
"I'm very interested in sound medical practice, and I'm interested in good science," he said. "And when science and medicine become perverted with corrupt politics, then I'm up for a fight, and that's what made me go to that rally and say what I said."
His comments contradict an executive order Gov. Kate Brown enacted that requires health care professionals to wear face coverings at all times while in health care offices, with limited exceptions, according to KGW.
The CDC and the Federation of State Medical Boards have also said health care staff members should wear masks to help prevent the spread of the virus.
The Oregon Medical Board said it could not comment on specific cases, but it said in a statement Wednesday that noncompliance with executive orders and state guidelines may result in disciplinary action.
The board's website showed no actions against LaTulippe.
"Unprofessional conduct includes, but is not limited to, conduct that does or might endanger the health or safety of the public. This includes failure to comply with an Executive Order issued by the Governor or failure to comply with state agency guidance applicable to the time and location where the licensee practices medicine," the board said in its statement.