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San Diego County calls medical misinformation a health crisis after 15-hour debate

08/31/21

After a 15-hour-long, sometimes rancorous meeting, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a measure declaring medical misinformation a public health crisis.

The board voted 3-2 after more than 250 people signed up and most spoke against the motion, saying it would lead to restrictions on free speech and other violations of personal freedoms.

The Board of Supervisors considered the new designation in an effort to turn up the spotlight on accurate medical information and discourage people from heeding inaccurate or misleading information, especially as the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to surge and some people continue to push back against pandemic restrictions and vaccination efforts, officials said.

Supervisors Jim Desmond and Joel Anderson, both Republicans, voted no on the measure, while Fletcher and Supervisors Nora Vargas and Tera Lawson-Remer, all Democrats, voted in favor.

“We’re in the unfortunate position of taking action against an issue we wished didn’t exist,” said Fletcher, who said the measure would not curb free speech or impose any sanctions or punishments against anyone spreading misinformation, even though that misinformation “has led people to decline vaccines and use unproven treatments.”

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