Gabriel Cousens, an Arizona-based author with a verified Facebook page that has over 64,000 followers, is peddling various supplements through his online store as part of a “coronavirus prevention protocol.” Cousens has claimed that the supplements, which includes colloidal silver, can “kill” and “destroy the virus.”
Cousens heads the Tree of Life Center US, an Arizona company that offers programs and sells supplements. His biography states that he “weaves his comprehensive, unique background into his holistic healing and writing approach to support and inspire people into the sacred joy of being free and fully alive.” He frequently appears on podcasts to discuss health issues and uses his Facebook page to livestream videos.
The Phoenix New Times wrote a 2008 article that laid out Cousens’ troubling history practicing medicine, writing that he injected a “patient with either cow hormones or sheep DNA (the doctor's given two versions of the story), which caused an infection. The patient died.” The publication added, “Cousens is not eligible for an M.D. license in Arizona because his license was once taken away (but reinstated) in California and remains censured in New York” (a search of the Arizona Medical Board did not return any results for him).
Cousens is an anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist and has falsely claimed that there’s a link between vaccines and autism (for more information about the safety of vaccines, go here). He has also falsely claimed that “5G may amplify the toxic effect of COVID-19 coronavirus.”
He has been trying to profit off of the coronavirus pandemic by pushing supplements sold through his online store run through the Tree of Life Center US. He has developed a supposed “Coronavirus Prevention Protocol,” which includes steps such as taking Illumodine (his version of iodine), nano-silver, red algae, and Zinc.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that “there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.” The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission have been sending warning letters to companies that promote their products as being able to treat, cure, or prevent COVID-19.
Media Matters previously reported that Cousens promoted his coronavirus protocol on his Facebook page. Promoting false coronavirus treatments or cures is a violation of the platform’s rules, and two of the posts were removed following the article’s publication. His page later complained that “Cousens' posts are being removed from Facebook” and stated that “exclusive, uncensored content from Dr. Cousens can be found at treeoflife.mn.co and in his newsletter (subscribe @ DrCousens.com).”
Here are eight examples of Cousens touting his protocol and store-sold supplements as a way to prevent and treat the coronavirus:
- Shoppers who currently visit Cousens’ online store and click on the navigation bar header “anti-viral & 5G” are sent to an information page which promotes his “prevention protocol” supplements. His store also touts a “Tachyon Essential Virus & Coronavirus Protection Kit,” which includes various other supplements.
- Cousens wrote a newsletter, which he shared on Facebook (since removed) and Twitter on February 20, that promoted his “Wuhan COVID-19 Protection Supplement Protocol” and linked to his store.
- Cousens wrote a February 24 newsletter in which he stated, “Our best defense against this is to care for ourselves preventably the best we can. This is why I've created this prevention and treatment protocol for optimal protection and treatment. Since it is highly likely we will all be exposed, this protocol is the key to dealing with this.” He later promoted the supplements that are sold in his store.
- Cousens appeared on the February 27 edition of the One Radio Network podcast that was billed as him giving “a 50 year experiential opinion on the coronavirus causes and protection.” During the one-hour show, Cousens falsely claimed that colloidal silver “is a preventative but also a treatment” against the coronavirus. He later said that he has given the listeners “three things that actually kills the virus. You know, the silver and obviously illumodine and the red algae. They kill the virus. They penetrate the glycoprotein shell and destroy the virus.”
- Cousens wrote a March 10 newsletter telling readers, “It would be a major mistake not to take the proper hygiene and anti-viral nutritional protocol precautions and start the immune system building protocol as outlined in my Coronavirus Protection Protocol.” He later promoted his supplements and linked to his store.
- Cousens released a March 19 podcast which promoted his supplements as a way to protect people from the virus.
- Cousens wrote a newsletter -- shared on Twitter on March 30 -- which again promoted his “protection protocol” and linked to his store.
- On April 29, Cousens released a “19-page update on COVID-19” which promoted his store supplements as protection against the coronavirus. He wrote on Facebook that his “protocol, as listed in my newsletter, has a high level of preventative effectiveness and symptom amelioration for those infected. … At any age, if you follow the lifestyle and protection protocol and maintain your general health, your chances of becoming infected or dying are significantly minimized.”