Anti-Mask Doctor Condemned For Flashing Gun During Live Interview

A sign showing a face with a protective face mask is seen in a pedestrian zone in Munich, Germany.
Lennart Preiss / Getty Images

Orange County officials and hospital leaders are seeking to distance themselves from Dr. Jeff Barke, a Newport Beach family medicine physician, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday.

Barke, known for his opposition to face coverings meant to protect against the novel coronavirus, generated controversy during a live interview earlier this month when he waved a gun.

Now, local institutions and officials are condemning the controversial physician’s actions.

Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel, who appointed Barke to serve on the Emergency Medical Care Committee, said that Barke “exercised poor judgment in showing a weapon.”

“I don’t agree with Dr. Barke’s comments about wearing masks — this board doesn’t agree with those comments,” she said.

Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian described his opinions as “radical,” noting that they do not represent the views of the institution.

“We are deeply disturbed that his views could mistakenly be associated with ours, because they are so diametrically opposite.”

The incident in question took place on September 16.

During a conversation with Peggy Hall, a “devout” anti-masker and founder of The Health American, Barke said that he would rather see Americans carrying weapons than face coverings.

“I live in Orange County, so I carry this wherever I go,” he told Hall, waving his SIG Sauer P365.

“This is what I carry when I’m out in public to protect others and protect the public. I’d rather see somebody carrying a concealed [weapon] than masking up. I think that’s better for the public than anything.”

During the 38-minute broadcast, Barke and Hall shared their opinions on the Black Lives Matter protests and concluded that a “spiritual battle” is being waged in the United States.

During the broadcast, Barke also said that he has been treating his patients with the controversial antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which has been touted by President Donald Trump and his allies as a potential cure for COVID-19.

Following the backlash, the video was removed from YouTube and Barke’s website Rx For Liberty, but snippets have been recorded and posted to social media.

Studies have shown that wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways of preventing coronavirus transmission.

As cited by Bloomberg, a paper from the Institute of Labor Economics in Bonn, Germany, suggested that masks can reduce the growth rate of coronavirus infections by as much as 40 percent.

A sign in a restaurant window reads 'A mask or face covering must be worn to ever this restaurant. Thank you!' during the coronavirus pandemic in New York City.
  Cindy Ord / Getty Images

According to the non-profit medical center Cleveland Clinic, medical-grade N95 masks are thought to be the most effective but simply wearing a homemade face covering is helpful in terms of fighting the spread of COVID-19.