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'Public health experts are just that, experts': U of C professor rejects Stephan's claim that COVID-19 is 'a hoax'
David Stephan claims the coronavirus pandemic is "a hoax." (File)
CALGARY -- An Alberta father, who was charged with the death of his toddler son for failing to seek professional medical care, says the coronavirus pandemic is a hoax, meant to bring on "fancy new vaccines."
David Stephan posted about his views on COVID-19 on social media, claiming facts and figures about the illness are 'falsely inflated.'
"I can't help but state it as I see it… a HOAX!!! A hoax that is being used to usher in a one-world government, with a digital currency and some fancy new vaccines that you will have the chance to experience, whether you like it or not," he wrote.
The World Health Organization declared novel coronavirus a global pandemic on March 12. So far, the virus has killed more than 105,000 people and sickened another 1.7 million around the world. There is no known cure or vaccine to help stop the spread of the virus.
University of Calgary associate professor of medicine Dr. Juliet Guichon refuted Stephan's remarks, sayng, in an emailed response, "when his son Ezekiel became ill with a vaccine-preventable illness, Mr. Stephan sought medical care only once the toddler stopped breathing.
"Public health experts are just that, experts, whereas Mr. Stephan has no qualifications in public health and preventitive medicine.
"Most people see Mr. Stephan's latest vaccine pronouncements as more conspiracy theory on his part."
Still, Stephan justifies his argument with claims of how rights are being removed at an "unprecedented rate," how quickly jobs are being lost and how the "economy is intentionally being nose-dived right into the ground."
Stephan says he came to the realization after he conducted his own research into what would lead governments and health officials to take "such injurious actions" against Albertans and Canadians as a whole.
David Stephan, along with his wife Collet, who lived at a rural property in the Lethbridge area, were charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life to their 19-month-old son Ezekiel after the boy died in a Calgary hospital in 2012. They had treated their toddler with horseradish and garlic before calling an ambulance. Ezekiel was stiff as a board and wasn’t breathing. He died of bacterial meningitis, according to experts who testified in court at the first trial.
They were originally convicted and sentenced, but those convictions were overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada and a new trial was ordered.
The Stephans were found not guilty at their second trial when another set of medical experts found Ezekiel's meningitis was caused by a virus.
The Crown’s appeal of that decision is expected to take place in June.
"People who support Mr. Stephan's beliefs might think that they can care for themselves and their families without expert advice and don't appreciate people with qualifications telling them what to do," Guichon said. "They might resent the restrictions on their freedom so much that they seek to discredit those who are telling them why the shelter-in-place orders exist.
"Public health officers who address the media are exceedingly respectful," she added, "but some listeners might dislike the message so much that they choose to believe that the experts are misstating the truth. Sometimes, hard truths are unwelcome."
In Alberta, 46 people have died from complications related to COVID-19 while 38 Albertans have died from influenza.
This article has been corrected from a previous version that referred to David Stephan as a naturopath.