We didn’t think you could find a way to both-sides the whole “stop sending death threats to health care workers” problem that’s facing Alaska, but extreme-right Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson found a way to do just that on Tuesday.
“People should not be afraid that their doctors, hospitals, or healthcare providers might treat them differently because of their politics or personal choices, in particular their COVID vaccination status,” Bronson said in a prepared statement on Tuesday afternoon. “On the other hand, health care providers – who have been on the front line of this pandemic since it began – deserve our respect and need our support.”
With reports of rising harassment, threats and physical attacks on health care workers fueled by the very conspiracy theories Bronson has repeated and legitimized with his office in recent weeks, he now claims there’s some very fine people on both sides.
The statement followed reports by The Blue Alaskan and The Alaska Landmine about extreme-right Anchorage Assemblymember Jamie Allard’s attempts to harass and threaten health care workers at Providence over their refusal to treat Anchorage conservative and opponent of public health measures William Topel, who’s apparently in a “near-comatose state” after contracting covid-19, with ivermectin and other treatments unsupported by research.
The Landmine reported that several individuals, including Bronson’s legislative affairs director Terrance Shanigan, have attempted to sneak into Providence to visit Topel. Per the Landmine:
According to the Landmine’s source at Providence, on October 9, a small group including Dustin Darden and Terrence Shanigan, who serves as Legislative Affairs Director for Mayor Dave Bronson, were caught attempting to sneak into Providence. The group initially attempted to gain access to the building from main entrances in order to visit “a friend,” the source said. After being turned away, they attempted to enter the hospital through a back door in the garden area.
After these attempts were rebuffed, the source said, the group approached the ER ambulance bay. There, they were confronted by security and told to leave the premises. APD were contacted but a police report was not filed.
While Bronson claims to now support health care workers, he’s been a leading voice in stoking anti-health care worker resentment. At a pep rally to boost opposition against the Anchorage Assembly’s masking mandate—which passed in an emergency order on Tuesday night—his administration doubled down on the wicked claim that hospitals were lying about being over-burdened or that if they were, it was because of their still yet-to-be enacted vaccine mandates.
Bronson has personally refused to get vaccinated.
Opponents of the masking mandate, who’ve been seemingly closely coordinating with the mayor and Allard (removing their yellow stars likening the mask mandate to the Holocaust at the request of Bronson and staying home on Tuesday at the request of Allard), had frequently shouted at and disrupted testimony given by the handful of health care workers who’ve testified in support of the measure in person.
Support for ivermectin and alternative “treatments” to covid-19 have reached fever pitch in fringe-y, conspiratorial circles. A handful of far-right Republican legislators have been lobbying Gov. Mike Dunleavy and the state pharmacy board to require pharmacies fill prescriptions for ivermectin.
Sen. Lora Reinbold, the Eagle River Republican who is currently banned from flying on Alaska Airlines after a dust-up over masking, posted a list of home remedies for covid-19 on Facebook Monday that included suggestions like the “magic sock” treatment and buying a vibrator to help reduce congestion. On Tuesday, Reinbold—who had attended the Anchorage Assembly meeting last week in order to protest the mask mandate—announced that she had tested positive for covid-19.
Several members of Bronson’s administration have also tested positive for covid-19.
While the state’s hands-off approach to curbing the spread of covid-19—a product of Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s refusal to issue mandates—has frustrated many, state public health officials have been unequivocal about the best way to combat the pandemic. And, no, it’s not about using ivermectin, magic socks or vibrators.
“Anyone who claims to be creating medical guidance and they don’t have vaccine as their No. 1 recommended tool are pushing misinformation,” Coleman Cutchins, a state pharmacist, told Alaska Public Media. “Vaccine is our No. 1 drug for the prevention of severe disease from this virus.”