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Doctor brandishes a GUN during an anti-mask video

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A controversial California physician displayed a 9mm pistol during an anti-mask video in which he claimed a firearm offered more protection against COVID-19 than face masks. 

The comments made by Dr. Jeff Barke on camera last Thursday have shocked the Orange County community.  

And Hoag Hospital Newport Beach, where Barke has businesses affiliations, said officials were ‘deeply disturbed’ by his ‘radical’ views on the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Barke, of PersonalCare Physicians, has continued to rail against ‘tyrannical’  CDC public health recommendations and mask mandates. 

In a clip posted to Facebook, Barke shares a screen with Peggy Hall, a fellow anti-masker who has received backlash for her comments.

‘What I do, Peggy, to protect you and to protect others when I’m in public – I think better than a mask – this is what I do,’ Barke says. 

He suddenly pulls out the firearm and waves it before the camera as Hall laughs.

‘You know, I live in Orange County so I carry this wherever I go,’ Barke says. ‘I’m trained to use it. 

He adds that he works with ‘a local sheriff’s department agency as a reserve deputy.”

Dr. Jeff Barke (left), speaking with Peggy Hall (right), brought out a pistol on camera, while discussing COVID-19 health protections

Barke (left): ‘So, I’d rather see somebody carrying a concealed [firearm] than masking up. I think that’s better for the public than anything with [COVID] 19’

‘So, I’d rather see somebody carrying a concealed [firearm] than masking up. I think that’s better for the public than anything with [COVID] 19,’ Barke says,

The next day, Hoag Health released a statement pushing back at Barke’s claims and noted that they were ‘inconsistent’ with recognized medical and scientific organizations.

‘Yesterday, Orange County physician Dr. Jefferey Barke participated in a social media interview and post espousing his personal and radical views on COVID, masking and hydroxychloroquine.’

‘Members of the community mistakenly associated him with [Hoag Hospital Newport Beach.] To be clear, he is not an employee and does not hold admitting privileges to Hoag Hospital. 

‘His personal views in no way represent the views of Hoag or Hoag Medical Staff, and are inconsistent with those all recognized medical and scientific organizations. We are deeply disturbed that his views could mistakenly be associated with ours, because they are so diametrically opposite.’

Hoag Hospital added that it has actively promoted CDC guidelines and will continue to do so. Barke’s family medical practice sits on Hoag Hospital’s campus. 

Hoag Health released a statement that explained Dr. Barke was not a staff member and his ‘radical’ views are not indicative of Hoag Hospital

The story was first reported by The Orange County Register.  

The CDC and public health experts have repeatedly said that face coverings slow the spread of COVID-19, which has amassed 6.9 million confirmed cases and 201,00 deaths in the United States.

‘Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain,’ a CDC guideline reads.

In July, CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield called on Americans to wear face masks as a number of states saw concerning upticks during that time.

‘We are not defenseless against COVID-19,’ Redfield said in a statement. ‘Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. 

‘All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.’ 

But according to The OCR, Barke has pushed back against these recommendations in recent months as his outspoken, and controversial, opinions have garnered some media attention.

Dr. Jeff Barke (left and right) of Newport, California, previously sought to have opposing views on climate change added to the local AP environmental science class

He wore blue scrubs to led Orange County residents in calls to reopen schools amid the pandemic in August, and criticized the stay-at-home orders that sparked a swatch of anti-lockdown protests this year. 

He is reportedly  among a group of anti-maskers that believe the pandemic was politicized to make President Trump lose the November 3 election.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department confirmed with The OCR that Bake is a level 3 volunteer reserve deputy, meaning he deals with limited duties that are ‘not likely to result in physical arrests.’

The OCSD also confirmed that Barke had a concealed weapons permit to carry and that his behavior in the video was not criminal.

‘We are reviewing the video to determine if policy violations occurred,’ a spokesperson told The OCR in an email.

After the clip was shared to social media, Saddleback College in Mission Viejo revealed that Peggy Hall no longer worked at the institution.

‘Peggy Hall is no longer employed at Saddleback College,’ wrote in a now-deleted tweet. The school was replying to community members who were upset with Hall’s remarks regarding COVID-19 and the pandemic.

As of Thursday afternoon, Barke is still listed on Hoag Hospital’s website as a physician hosting ‘outpatient-based privileges only’. 

The OCR reports that the working relationship between Barke and Hoag Hospital began fragmenting before the his latest video.

On September 10, Hoag Hospital launched a lawsuit against Barke and his partner, Kenneth Cheng, and PersonalCare Physicians of Newport Beach.

The lawsuit reportedly alleged that the doctors owed $517,452 in management fees to Hoag Hospital.

‘Hoag reserves all rights to pursue and obtain an order of eviction,’ the lawsuit read, OCR reports. 

The lawsuit claimed that the men struggled with their business from the very beginning, citing a 2014 communication in which the doctors said, ‘We did not hit positive cash flow during 2013 as we had hoped.’

Barke has made controversial and disputed claims years before this latest video as a vocal, well known community member in Orange County.

Barke, a representative for the 72nd Assembly District in Orange County’s Republicans, received media attention in 2011 for advocating for a mandate that would offer opposing views on climate change in the district’s AP environmental science class. 

He is a trustee on the Los Alamitos Unified School Board and an elected official in Rossmoor community.

Hoag Hospital launched a lawsuit against Barke (pictured) and his partner, Kenneth Cheng, and PersonalCare Physicians of Newport Beach

His wife, Mari Barke, is on the Orange County Board of Education and he reportedly attends the meetings often. The board voted to reopen school without face masks or social distancing this year. 

The OCR reports that Barke is board chairman and founder of a new charter school, The Orange County Classical Academy, which has its own sex education curriculum.

Barke previously said California’s current sex education creates ‘a gender identity/sexual orientation ideology upon little kids.’ 

The school was approved for charter last December, but a trustee who opposed the vote noted that the curriculum was drawn up by a Christian college and will have ‘religious and cultural bias,’ that will exclude other cultures.

Barke is part of a physician group called America’s Frontline Doctors,’ which has advocated for the use of hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 treatment and implored Americans to ‘stop living in fear.’

A video he shared to Twitter in July was removed for spreading misinformation about the virus.  

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