Televangelist Gets NY Cease-and-Desist Over Misleading COVID-19 Cure Claim

Health officials say the best thing you can do to help prevent the illness is to wash your hands and avoid contact with anyone who's sick

NBC News 4, New York/March 6, 2020

By Kiki Intarasuwan

"The Jim Bakker Show" could be in trouble after it promoted a product with misleading claims that it could possibly help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The New York Office of Attorney General on Tuesday sent a cease-and-desist letter to televangelist James Bakker, asking the TV program to immediately stop promotion and "false advertising" of its Silver Solution products, which contain silver particles.

The letter came after Bakker invited Naturopathic Doctor Sherrill Sellman on the show to talk about the benefits of Silver Solution. For years, Sellman has been promoting claims that colloidal silver can help with a variety of illnesses including E. coli, fungal infections, STDs, malaria and even the plague.

When asked about whether Silver Solution, sold on the Jim Bakker Show's website, is effective against the novel coronavirus, Sellman responded: "Let's say it hasn't been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it's been tested on another strain of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours."

On its website, Silver Solution says its products "could promote a stronger immune system, quicker healing, and help support overall wellness."

The claims are completely false, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

"Silver has no known function or benefits in the body when taken by mouth," the NCCIH said on its website. "Silver is not a nutritionally essential mineral or a useful dietary supplement."

In the New York Office of Attorney General's letter, Health Care Bureau Chief Lisa Landau ordered Bakker to add a disclaimer that the silver products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and that the products aren't intended to prevent or cure any disease.

Requests for comments from the Jim Bakker Show and Sellman weren't immediately returned.

The World Health Organization has previously noted that there is not yet a cure or vaccine for the coronavirus. The best thing you can do to help prevent the illness is to wash your hands and avoid contact with anyone who's sick, health officials said.

The risk of contracting COVID-19 remains low for the majority of people in New York state and the country.

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