Heinrich Himmler, head of the Nazi gestapo. This is how chiropractor Koren sees the CDC.

Heinrich Himmler, head of the Nazi gestapo. This is how chiropractor Koren sees the CDC.

An email was recently circulated among chiropractors warning them about a proposed rulemaking by the CDC, saying that it will establish a public health gestapo. It originated from Ted Koren Seminars. A chiropractor who received the email brought it to my attention. He describes Koren as “a chiropractor who is a “leader” in the chiropractic community, lecturer, antivaxxer (he refers to the CDC as the “Centers for Disinformation Control” and states that the CDC “continues to spend taxpayers’ money spewing forth poorly written, biased, “junk science” studies that, through their connections, are placed in well-read medical journals for maximum media attention”. He is also the inventor of Koren Specific Technique, which he describes as a “system akin to muscle testing (applied kinesiology or AK) wherein a muscle will become weak when confronted with a negative impulse.” (Note: Applied kinesiology is bogus.)

The circulated email is a prime example of misinformation, conspiracy theory, and fear-mongering.

Koren’s claims

He says:

The CDC’s new proposed rulemaking will deny our health freedoms and establish a public health gestapo in the USA, forcing mandatory health treatments (including vaccinations, quarantines) and fines up to $500,000.

The U.S. CDC is giving itself unconstitutional powers to round up and detain citizens en masses [sic] anytime.”

“Oh, if you’re all for totalitarianism and fascism… just ignore this email J”

“it would give the CDC totalitarian, unconstitutional, unchecked, unprecedented powers, self-described as “police powers.”

The CDC, like many other agencies now, has been corrupted by corporate interests and is not working – at least at the top levels – in the best interests of the public.

The new “rule” will allow health officials to treat people– without an examination — with a medical treatment (vaccination or otherwise) that carries with it the risk of serious injury and death.

The new “rule” would give CDC unfettered power to add or delete any diseases that fit their criteria.

Giving the CDC military-like of powers is exactly what was done by the government in Nazi Germany. Any forced medical treatments, on any pretext, is a violation of human rights and the Nuremburg Code.

The CDC is attempting to radically change their definition of what constitutes an “ill” person by including a wide range of vague symptoms such as an ill appearance that may be assessed by officials without medical training. I oppose this nebulous definition.

Simply being identified as “at risk” of exposure makes one classifiable as having a “pre-communicable disease,” which can thereby resulting [sic] one’s forced apprehension, quarantine and vaccination.

The reality

Because of incidents like the recent Disneyland measles outbreak and the Ebola crisis, the CDC and the HHS filed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The government already has the power and the duty to institute measures to safeguard public health, including quarantine when necessary. Quarantine regulations already exist, and the proposed new rules would only clarify the language of the regulations and the reporting requirements. Clarification is needed. For instance, the “Do Not Board” list that was developed in conjunction with Homeland Security only applied to commercial aircraft and did not extend to vessels, trains or buses. A proposed change requires conveyance operators to not “knowingly” transport individuals under a Federal Order. That sounds like a good idea to me!

The proposal states:

if facts or circumstances are discovered that give rise to a reasonable belief that the individual is infected, as defined under this NPRM, with a quarantinable communicable disease in its qualifying stage, CDC may authorize the quarantine, isolation, or conditional release of the individual. Similarly, an individual’s refusal to be screened may result in quarantine, isolation, or conditional release, but only if sufficient facts and circumstances otherwise exist giving rise to a reasonable belief that the individual is infected with a quarantinable communicable disease in its qualifying stage.

It does not give the CDC any new powers. It is consistent with constitutional principles and requirements. It would ensure due process. Criminal penalties for violation of quarantine would not change.

History of quarantine

Quarantine was practiced in Biblical times. “If the shiny spot on the skin is white but does not appear to be more than skin deep and the hair in it has not turned white, the priest is to isolate the affected person for seven days. On the seventh day the priest is to examine them, and if he sees that the sore is unchanged and has not spread in the skin, he is to isolate them for another seven days.” Leviticus 13:4-5. Lepers were considered unclean and were kept isolated from the rest of society. Leprosy was believed to be highly contagious and was often falsely diagnosed in patients with other skin conditions. With modern knowledge, accurate diagnostic tests, and effective treatments, patients with leprosy are no longer isolated.

The name quarantine comes from the Italian word for forty, the number of days ships and people were isolated before entering the city of Dubrovnik during the Black Plague.

The practice of quarantine has sometimes been accused of interfering with human rights, as in the case of Typhoid Mary. The history of quarantine, international conventions, and the laws of various countries are covered well in the Wikipedia entry. In Australia, quarantine violators face fines of up to 100,000 Australian dollars and up to 10 years in prison.

Conclusion: a ridiculous over-reaction to a reasonable proposal

In my opinion, Koren’s rant only exposes his ignorance. He believes vaccines do more harm than good and cause serious injuries and deaths; they demonstrably don’t. He appears not to understand the government’s responsibility to protect public health. He appears to be ignorant of history. He seems not to understand the rationale and effectiveness of quarantine measures. He misrepresents what the proposal actually says. He apparently doesn’t know that the Nuremburg Code applies only to medical experiments, not public health measures. The comparison to Nazi totalitarianism is false and despicable. The appeal to “health freedom” is a deceptive libertarian theme that has been covered on SBM before. I shudder to think what might have happened if personal freedom had been prioritized over public health to let people exposed to Zika (or even already showing symptoms of Zika) enter the US with no restrictions.

The good news is that it was another chiropractor who realized how wrong this message was and forwarded it to me. He readily recognized it as irresponsible fearmongering, conspiracy theory, and misinformation. I hope the majority of chiropractors who received the message were also able to recognize it for what it was. Somehow, I am not optimistic.

Posted by Harriet Hall

Harriet Hall, MD also known as The SkepDoc, is a retired family physician who writes about pseudoscience and questionable medical practices. She received her BA and MD from the University of Washington, did her internship in the Air Force (the second female ever to do so),  and was the first female graduate of the Air Force family practice residency at Eglin Air Force Base. During a long career as an Air Force physician, she held various positions from flight surgeon to DBMS (Director of Base Medical Services) and did everything from delivering babies to taking the controls of a B-52. She retired with the rank of Colonel.  In 2008 she published her memoirs, Women Aren't Supposed to Fly.