We all need comforting in times of distress, but while in a pandemic I beg you to stay informed on news from the medical community and ignore “gurus” telling you otherwise.
For reasons beyond my comprehension, the blog Medellin Guru advises against reading Colombia Reports, one of the few news websites informing foreigners on the precarious state of Colombia’s healthcare system.
I asked the owner not to do this and gave him the healthcare-related information that should demonstrate how irresponsible he was being in the middle of a pandemic.
Unfortunately, the self-proclaimed guru insists on putting the health of you and your family at risk.
The vast majority of you know better than to take advice from quacks and gurus, but some are now echoing the blog’s ill advice in Facebook groups. This is dangerous.
I understand that in disturbing times like this you need comforting, I do too. Pandemics like the coronavirus are extremely distressful. Pretending they aren’t real or not that bad is a normal, human reaction.
Quacks and gurus have exploited this by offering a fake sense of security with every pestilence, they are a recurring phenomenon that have cost lives every time there is a pandemic.
However, the only way to increase your chances to stay healthy or prevent infecting others is by staying informed on what the medical community says, vital information Medellin Guru omits and tells you not to read.
Instead, the guru who is telling you not to read Colombia Reports copy-pastes statistics even the health minister admits aren’t accurate due to a dramatic lack of testing.
On top of that, there is evidence of fraud in test labs and the Colombian Medical federation claims notoriously corrupt health intermediaries are refusing to take tests from people with symptoms of COVID-19.
Much of my reporting, which is far from perfect, has been based on reports by the Colombian Medical Federation, the hospital association, the Bogota Medical College, the Colombian Medical College and epidemiologists.
Their message is eerily consistent: Colombia’s healthcare system is not prepared to deal with the coronavirus. If you find this discomforting that makes two of us.
To make sure you are informed on an extremely precarious situation that will affect you as much as Colombians, I regularly talk to your embassies about their efforts to keep you safe and sound.
After talking to embassies, I called on English-speaking psychologists to volunteer as many foreigners in Colombia do not have access to mental healthcare in their native language.
Telling people not to read Colombia Reports is beyond irresponsible, because it seeks to deprive you of information you need to take informed decisions regarding your health in the middle of a pandemic.
I know this is extremely disturbing and I also wish things were different, but they aren’t. Being the journalist informing you on Colombia’s healthcare system is as much fun as being a doctor telling you you have cancer.
When you notice people in Facebook groups denying reality or telling people not to read news websites like Colombia Reports, please report them to the admins of those groups so they can take action.
Meanwhile, please use as many news sources as possible to stay informed on the situation, and be aware of gurus and quacks.
Medellin Guru was so kind to remove the comments discrediting Colombia Reports. Both websites have agreed to work together to make sure you have access to the information and plurality in perspectives that will allow you to take informed decisions and form informed opinions.