Pro-Trump coronavirus truthers try to invade Utah hospital overrun with COVID-19 patients: report

Pro-Trump coronavirus truthers try to invade Utah hospital overrun with COVID-19 patients: report
Army Maj. Feliciano Salgado puts on personal protection equipment before meeting with a soldier with symptoms similar to COVID-19, at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Sebastian Nemec)

When President Donald Trump was voted out of office in the 2020 election, one of the top reasons why millions of U.S. residents voted to replace him with former Vice President Joe Biden was his woefully inadequate response to the coronavirus pandemic. Regardless, so-called "coronavirus truthers" on the far right continue to insist that the pandemic is merely a hoax that President-elect Biden and other Democrats used to harm Trump's presidency. And at a Utah hospital that is being overrun with COVID-19 patients, the Daily Beast reports, health care workers are having to cope with extremists who don't even believe that the patients are sick.

"Conspiracy theorists," journalist Michael Daly reports in the Beast, have made "repeated visits" to Utah Valley Hospital in recent weeks. According to Daly, Utah's coronavirus truthers "decided that the small number of cars outside the Provo facility was evidence that the pandemic is a hoax" and "entered the hospital with video cameras seeking to film what they believed would be an equally empty ICU."

Kyle Hansen, an administrator at Utah Valley Hospital, told the Provo City Council, "It's conspiracy theorists that believe what they're being told is not accurate. They're determined to videotape and capture the proof of that by accessing our facilities. We've had some people get really creative in how they've lied about coming in for an appointment or other things."

Of course, the intensive care unit at Utah Valley Hospital — like many other ICUs around the United States — has been anything but empty at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is going from bad to worse. According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 1.3 million people worldwide and over 248,700 in the United States. And some medical experts believe that the worst is yet to come this winter.

"None of the intruders seem to have gained entry to the ICU (at Utah Valley Hospital)," Daly explains. "But had they succeeded, they would have only been able to document it was, in fact, at full capacity, with a brave and dedicated staff under great physical and emotional strain. Had the intruders been less deluded, they might have understood that the small number (of) cars in the parking lot is explained by posted restrictions on visitors that are standard at hospitals during the pandemic. COVID-19 is not some minor illness where you might drive yourself to the hospital and leave your car outside for a few hours."

Nonetheless, coronavirus truthers continue to harass Utah Valley Hospital employees. Hansen told the Provo City Council, "We have an inordinate amount of phone calls that we're receiving every day from the community wanting to know: 'Is your ICU really full?'"

Patricia Grossman, a neonatal intensive care nurse at Utah Valley Hospital, died from COVID-19 on October 30 — and her widower, Bryan Grossman is understandably fed up with coronavirus truthers. Bryan Grossman told the Daily Beast, "They're idiots. The hospital is filled with COVID people — COVID patients who don't have cars.… I just don't understand people sometimes…. The big thing I think is so silly about all this is: how could this possibly be fake? The whole world would have to be faking it."

The truthers, Bryan Grossman added, believe they are standing up for the outgoing President Trump.

"They're trying to protect the president," Grossman explained. "They want to make this all fake. It's not fake. Talk to your nearest nurse or doctor. They'll tell you this is real."

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