'It's causing so many injuries:' COVID-19 misinformation leads Nashville ICU doctor to TikTok

Dr. Wes Ely gets thousands of views on videos
Dr. Wes Ely
Posted at 4:42 PM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 19:59:34-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Even after all this time, there is still so much misinformation online about COVID-19.

A doctor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who believes people continue to get the virus because of misinformation, decided to pick up TikTok to debunk what's out there.

"I've had too many patients and families who really, clearly were victims of misinformation, and their victimness brought out to me an immense amount of sadness," said Dr. Wes Ely.

Mostly from his office at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the doctor posts two to three-minute videos about the latest misinformation going around about COVID-19. The busy ICU doctor already has hundreds of thousands of combined views on the straightforward TikTok profile he created in January.

"I'm not trying to rehash old information, and a lot of things — let's face it: in this pandemic, things have been said about 1,000 times, so I don't want to just be an add-on to that stuff. I do kind of dig down into what is current and new," Dr. Ely said.

Dr. Ely says more misinformation exists about COVID-19 than any other illness he's encountered.

"I was part of the AIDS epidemic when I was first a med student. Even then, there was a little misinformation about transfer via toilet seats and stuff like that — which isn't happening — but that was a 0.2 on a 1 to 10 scale, and this is getting at a level of 9 to 11," he said.

The doctor's goal isn't to make it big on TikTok. Dr. Ely wants to make a difference.

"I'm just trying to get out truthful, factual information to the public, and I hope it helps people," he said.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 cases are highest in Middle Tennessee in Cannon County and Davidson County. For every 100,000 residents, more than 200 are infected. These results don't take into account positive at-home tests.