California hospital rebukes physician who pulled out gun during anti-mask video

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Newport Beach, Calif.-based Hoag Health is distancing itself from Jeffrey Barke, MD, after the physician said a gun offers more protection against COVID-19 than a facemask, according to The Orange County Register

Dr. Barke made the controversial comments in a video posted online Sept. 17. He appeared in split screen with Peggy Hall, who the OCR describes as an "anti-masking media star."

"What I do, Peggy, to protect you and to protect others when I'm in public — I think better than a mask — this is what I do," Dr. Barke said while pulling out a 9-millimeter handgun, according to the OCR. "You know, I live in Orange County so I carry this wherever I go." 

As of Sept. 25, Dr. Barke was listed on Hoag's website as a provider with "outpatient-based privileges only." The hospital released a statement on Twitter Sept. 18 publicly distancing itself from the physician. 

"Yesterday, Orange County physician Dr. Jeffrey Barke participated in a social media interview and post espousing his personal and radical views on COVID, masking and hydroxychloroquine. Members of the community mistakenly associated him with [Hoag Health]," the statement reads. "To be clear, he is not an employee and does not hold admitting privileges at Hoag Hospital. His personal views in no way represent the views of Hoag or Hoag Medical Staff, and are inconsistent with those of all recognized medical and scientific organizations. We are deeply disturbed that his views could mistakenly be associated with ours, because they are so diametrically opposite. Hoag has actively promoted masking and other CDC recommendations, and will continue to do so as we care for our patients and the community." 

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