Stanly commissioners vote 6-1 to sign resolution supporting medical freedom

Published 6:45 pm Tuesday, March 7, 2023

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With a 6-1 vote Monday night, the Stanly County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution which lays out support for “individual freedom” regarding COVID-19 vaccinations.

Commissioner Peter Ascuitto was the only board member who did not vote for the resolution, which the Stanly County Consolidated Health and Human Services Board members voted 7-4 to not add their own names (

Patty Crump, who read the resolution to the public, said House Bill 98 “will prohibit public and state agencies, local governments and political subdivisions from discriminating against persons based on their refusal to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.”

Crump said the bill would further “prohibit public schools and universities, states and local agencies and local governments from requiring any person to submit to this vaccine.” She said the bill would also protect citizens from “mandated face coverings” and “protect healthy unvaccinated North Carolinians from quarantines due to COVID-19 exposure.”

Crump introduced Dr. Amir Koohestani of Medicatrix, a clinic in Albemarle, to speak about COVID-19.

Koohestani, Crump said, has practiced medicine for more than 20 years and is certified in osteopathic, family and functional medicine. She added Koohestani is an associate professor of medicine for Campbell University.

Koohestani said he wanted to address myths about the COVID vaccine, asking commissioners to raise their hands if they had heard of the Great Barrington Declaration. Two commissioners, Crump and Trent Hatley, raised their hands.

The GBD is a letter published in October 2020 written by three individuals: Sunetra Gupta, an epidemiologist from Oxford University; Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford; and Martin Kulldorff, a biostatistician from Harvard.

The GBD did not mention many of the strategies used in the pandemic to combat spread of COVID, including physical distancing, masks or contract tracing. Many groups like the World Health Organization and the American Public Health Association have stated opposition to the GBD.

Koohestani said there is no consensus on treatment, including hydroxychloroquine, which has been used for many years to treat malaria. He said treatments for COVID were not put through proper testing, adding he has not lost a single patient to death from COVID.

Medications like hydroxychloroquine, he said, “are old and effective, and by the way, without side effects.”

Koohestani said there is no consensus about the use of masks, noting a recent Oxford study saying COVID virus particles are extremely small and “cross through most masks.”

He said children’s suicide rates have risen over the past two years because of psychological damage from having to wear a mask.

Koohestani also spoke of risks from the vaccine to pregnant women and a risk of ovarian dysfunction in younger women.

When the doctor asked the board if they had family members who had the shot and got an infection, Ascuitto said, “I’ve never heard anybody say, ‘If you take the vaccine, you’re not going to get COVID.’ ”

Citizens in the audience reacted to the comment, several of which said President Joe Biden made such a statement, though an Associated Press article from a 2021 CNN town hall meeting includes a mention of it. (

Asciutto said, “There is a risk to everything.”

“We should all take a step back. We should take a deep breath,” Koohestani said. “We should sit down and look at the data.”

Asciutto asked the doctor how airborne viruses are spread. Koohestani said they are spread by droplet transmission and that the virus is admitted to the air through sneezing. He said the pores in masks do not stop the droplets.

Asciutto, during discussion on the motion, stated that of the 238 COVID deaths the county has had through Jan. 20 only nine of those patients were vaccinated.

“The overwhelming amount of people in the hospitals were unvaccinated in ICU. They are local facts put out by the hospital,” Asciutto said.

He said COVID forced the entire Albemarle Fire Department to be out due to illness. “It shows you how fast it can spread,” he said.

Asciutto said he respects a person’s right to choose to vaccinate themselves or their children. However, he added, “when you don’t want to wear a mask and you don’t want to quarantine when you are exposed, that I don’t get.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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