Freedom March video littered with false claims about Covid-19 cures

20 May 2021
What was claimed

Vitamin D, Ivermectin, zinc and hydroxychloroquine are safe and effective treatments for Covid-19.

Our verdict

There is no robust evidence yet that any of these can treat or prevent Covid-19.

A video posted on Facebook of anti-lockdown influencer and professor at University College Dublin Dolores Cahill at the 15 May “Freedom March” has been viewed more than 220,000 times. It includes claims about a number of disputed treatments that are all untrue.

“...why are you not informing people and why are you not making safe and effective treatments available such as vitamin D, hydroxychloroquine and zinc and Ivermectin.”

Dolores Cahill, 15 May.

We have written throughout the pandemic about the lack of strong evidence to support the claim that vitamin D can treat or prevent Covid-19. The link between vitamin D and Covid-19 is complex, and there is ongoing debate about the role of vitamin D in treating Covid-19. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence concluded in December 2020 that there was insufficient evidence to recommend vitamin D as a treatment for Covid-19, or to alter guidance around vitamin D supplementation because of Covid-19, but commented that its guidance will be updated as new evidence becomes available. 

We have previously debunked the claim that hydroxychloroquine and zinc have cured Covid-19. There is no evidence that hydroxychloroquine alone or combined with zinc showed any effect as a treatment or preventative measure. A study published this year in the Journal of the Medical Association also found no evidence that zinc, either alone or in combination with other supplements, significantly decreased Covid-19 symptoms compared with standard care.

Ivermectin is an anti-parasite medication, and there has been much debate about its use to treat Covid-19. Studies have shown it can effectively reduce replication of SARS-CoV-2 but only at doses higher than would be used in humans. While Ivermectin has been used by some nations to treat Covid-19, the evidence currently available is inconsistent.

The Department of Health and Social Care has also said there is currently insufficient evidence to show that it is a safe and effective treatment for Covid-19.  

Ms Cahill also says that “there is no need for the lockdown, no need for masks, no need for social distancing.”

Whether there is a need for any of these measures is a matter of opinion, but there is evidence that they are all effective ways to reduce the spread of Covid-19. 

We have debunked claims that masks don’t work and lockdowns do not slow transmission. Evidence from a number of studies show masks reduce the transmission of viral particles. The evidence for the effectiveness of lockdowns in stopping the spread of Covid-19 is also well established.

Like other coronaviruses, Covid-19 spreads via respiratory droplets from person to person. Social distancing has been shown to slow the spread.

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