Cristina Cuomo’s online wellness magazine and lifestyle website The Purist has been found to spread coronavirus misinformation by sharing bleach bath remedies and high dosages of vitamin C.
According to news monitoring site Newsguard’s May Misinformation Monitor, the site has been red-rated and has spread COVID-19 misinformation (Disclosure: Newsweek distributes Newsguard’s misinformation monitor).
Cuomo, who identifies herself as the site’s founder in her Twitter bio, had kept a blog on the site tracking her husband CNN anchor Chris Cuomo’s recovery from the coronavirus. Chris Cuomo’s brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, has been prominent in the state’s work to slow the spread of COVID-19.
In an April post, Cristina Cuomo wrote that Dr. Linda Lancaster, who she explained had put her husband on a path with natural remedies, had “prescribed I take a type of homeopathic bath, a water-and-bleach bath, to combat the radiation and pollutants in my system and oxygenate it,” as a skin treatment.
She also cited a Mayo Clinic solution for a bleach bath used to treat dermatitis. In the blog post, she quoted Lancaster, saying that the treatment is not a cure, but is meant to “aid the body in the detox process of chemicals and environmental pollutants.”
According to CBS News, bleach should not be used to treat the virus. “While us in science do not like to speak in absolutism, I have never heard, ever, of a bleach bath being recommended for the treatment of any disease,” microbiologist Dr. Dean Hart told CBS.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and World Health Organization, Newsguard reported, have recommended bleach to disinfect surfaces, but have not recommended it for humans or personal hygiene.
Cristina Cuomo declined Newsweek‘s request for comment.
Later in the same blog post, Cuomo also wrote about undergoing an IV drip with vitamin C at the recommendation of another doctor from Pretty Healthy NYC. While noting that vitamin C is not a cure for the virus, she did write that doctors suggested that the drip helped treat coronavirus.
“Doctors suggested the drip because ‘New York hospitals and hospitals all over the world are using the vitamin C drip as part of their COVID-19 treatments (not a cure) since vitamin C has anti-viral properties,’ says Dr. Namavar, who shows up in a hazmat outfit and 3M mask because I couldn’t leave the house,” she wrote.
Cuomo also cited uses at Northwell Health employing the vitamin IV’s to treat COVID-19 via a Nutra Ingredients article.
According to Newsguard, while vitamin C treatments have begun clinical trials in China and “was one of many therapies employed at the discretion of physicians in [Northwell Health’s] health system,” according to USA Today, WHO and the CDC both said that there is not a specific treatment for COVID-19 yet. In the USA Today article from May 2, there is no ruling that vitamin C is an effective treatment for the virus.
At the end of the blog post, Cuomo did advise people to speak to their doctors about treatment. “Remember, until there is a vaccine or other proven treatment, we’re all in uncharted waters here, and most treatments are treating symptoms on a trial-and-error basis. Not all of the treatments I talk about here are for everyone, but we can all benefit from eating well and keeping our immunity up,” she wrote.
Early in the post she explains that people should consult a professional before trying the treatments themselves. “Consistent with medical standards of care, none of these natural remedies below should be taken without consulting a doctor or naturopath,” she wrote.
In an interview with People, Cuomo further explained her reasons for trying the other treatments. “There’s a huge opposition against holistic medicine, I get that,” she said. “If there’s a potential for something to work, why not investigate it?”
She further explained why she shared the blog post. “Who knows if it worked or what it did, but I know that in nine days, I got most of that virus out of my system,” Cuomo told People. “This being a virus with no vaccination and no cure, my resolution was to learn as much as I can, go to my same doctor Linda Lancaster and follow her protocol, her prescription. And no way am I saying please try this. It’s just the path that I took and I’m sharing it because there isn’t a lot of anecdotal evidence.”
The Purist does have a disclaimer on the website that advises readers to consult medical professionals on health matters and isn’t meant to replace readers’ physicians or medical professionals.
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s press office did not respond to Newsweek’s emailed request for comment by the time of publication; Chris Cuomo’s agent CAA had also not responded for a comment.
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