What they absolutely cannot do is cure COVID-19.
So when famous yogi and homeopathic business tycoon Baba Ramdev suggested that coronavirus patients were “fools” for seeking medical assistance, doctors were quick to criticize the beloved guru.
“For over a year, healthcare workers like me have been in a situation of war. We have saved tens of thousands of lives, ”said Dr A. Fathahudeen, pulmonologist and frontline pandemic worker in India, according to the BBC. “It is such a shame, insulting and hurtful to read such statements.”
The BBC also reported that doctors called Ramdev’s comments “irresponsible and demoralizing.”
Controversy erupted after Ramdev’s comments surfaced in the media, citing the yoga practitioner criticizing coronavirus patients for researching conventional healthcare methods, also known as allopathy.
“God gave us free oxygen – why don’t we breathe this?” he would have said. “How can there be a shortage when God has filled the atmosphere with oxygen? Fools are looking for oxygen cylinders. Just breathe in the free oxygen. Why do you complain about the lack of oxygen, beds and crematoriums? “
One of the main ways COVID-19 causes death is by devastating the respiratory system – a condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The virus causes suffocation of the alveoli in the lungs, where oxygen from the air is distributed into the bloodstream, by excess mucus, white blood cells and necrotic tissue, breathing alone becomes more and more difficult and ultimately impossible.
Indian Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has since asked Ramdev to apologize for his uninformed comments.
“Allopathy and the doctors attached to it have given new life to millions of people. It’s very unfortunate for you to say that people have died from using allopathic medicines, ”a statement from Vardhan reads, according to the BBC.
“We must not forget that this battle can only be won through united efforts,” he added.
Ramdev reportedly withdrew his statement. But he then goaded the Indian Medical Association, asking why modern medicine hadn’t caught up with some of the more common illnesses, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
“We follow an evidence-based practice,” Fathahudeen told the BBC. “At any given moment, thousands of researchers are working to find cures,” adding, “It is difficult to trust a branch of medicine that offers an absolute cure for every disease.”
Ramdev launched the ubiquitous herbal brand Patanjali Ayurveda after gaining fame through his televised yoga classes. Last year, the company introduced Coronil, an herbal treatment Ramdev touted as a cure for COVID-19. However, their launch campaign was quickly thwarted by lawmakers who accused the brand of fake ads. Coronil remains available and is now sold as an “immunity booster”. In addition, earlier this year, the World Health Organization published a statement that they had not “reviewed or certified the effectiveness of a traditional medicine for treatment”.