Dissension over COVID-19, the COVID vaccine and treatments broke out at the Otter Tail County Commission meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 12.

Commissioner Betty Murphy joined the meeting virtually, and though she didn't explicitly say she has COVID, she did say she has ordered ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine for her family, both medicines discredited by mainstream healthcare as treatment for COVID. She also says she is following advice from Dr. Peter McCullough, a Houston cardiologist who was fired from Baylor University Medical Center in February for spreading COVID disinformation.

She said she had to make contacts with multiple pharmacies before finding one that would provide those drugs for her. She suggested she is also receiving monoclonal antibodies, which is has become a standard treatment for COVID, especially if caught early.

“In my household right now, if I were to have done what was recommended, to stay home and isolate, my household right now would be in a world of hurt and would not have the outcome we have right now, which is very positive,” she said.

Murphy's comments came following Otter Tail County Public Health Director Jody Lien's presentation to commissioners showing that COVID continues to threaten Otter Tail County residents, and that clinics including Lake Region Healthcare are increasingly stressed by demand for COVID testing and for the monoclonal antibody treatments, that hospitalizations and deaths are rising and that people in their 30s, 40s and 50s are increasingly hospitalized.

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At commission meetings, Murphy has frequently questioned Lien's COVID presentations, but her comments on Tuesday represented a sharp escalation of her previous comments about COVID.

Lien stood her ground and said she had to use her platform to promote accurate information.

“Much of what you’re referencing is the misinformation we’re struggling with day in and day out,” she told Murphy. “With as much respect, I want to share concern about the misinformation that’s being referenced.”

For instance, Murphy claimed that the Pfizer vaccine had not been approved by the FDA; that, instead, a drug called Comirnaty had been approved.

Lien said that Comirnaty and the Pfizer vaccine are the same thing, and that the Pfizer vaccine had been approved by the FDA.

Commissioner Wayne Johnson weighed in, too, saying that McCullough's comments were meant as entertainment and not to be taken seriously.

Chairman Lee Rogness also commented, saying that the public lacks clear information about the difference between the three vaccines.