A Provo, Utah hospital increased its security after conspiracy theorists tried to sneak into the intensive care unit to see if it was full.
Kyle Hansen, administrator of Utah Valley Hospital, told Provo City Council on Thursday that five people, including some with video cameras, tried to get into intensive care because they wanted to see if reports they were full were true are.
“We have individuals trying to sneak into the hospital to visualize and video for themselves,” Hansen told the council, according to NBC subsidiary KLS in Salt Lake City.
Mr. Hansen added that no one has yet managed to breach the security of the hospital. Even so, the hospital changed its security patrols and asked staff to keep an eye on the entrances.
“You can really only get in if you are here for an appointment yourself or need to be listed on a log that we are following as a designated visitor for a patient,” said Hansen. “But we got some people to get pretty creative about how they lied to make an appointment or other things.”
Hansen said the hospital is also dealing with an excessive number of daily phone calls from people asking, “Is your intensive care unit really full?”, Which is a burden on staff, according to the KLS report.
The fifth floor of the hospital is shared by intensive care patients and patients with Covid-19. As of Thursday, Utah Valley Hospital had 45 Covid-19 patients, KLS reported.
Intermountain Healthcare, based in Salt Lake City, the Utah Valley parent company, released a statement stating that attempts by conspiracy theorists to get into intensive care are unusual but affect the care of those who need them.
The Utah Valley Hospital, a school, is a 395 bed tertiary hospital (highly technical and specialized care).
Questions about the who and why of conspiracy theorists have been of great interest to psychologists and neuroscientists alike. Political psychologist Joanne Miller, PhD, published a paper earlier this year that analyzed the reactions of 3,019 conspiracy theorists to statements related to the start of the pandemic. The allowed answers were definite, likely, likely not, and definitely not.
The statements included statements such as: “The coronavirus is not real,” “Democratic governors are not handing out coronavirus tests to make President Trump look bad,” “The virus is a biological weapon that was intentionally (or unintentionally) released by China “and” The media are exaggerating the seriousness of making President Trump look bad. “Most respondents, 20%, believed the latter statement. Statements involving the Chinese came second at 19%. Most Respondents believed that there was more than one conspiracy involved, with 30% believing at least six.
Motives that advance a conspiracy theorist’s belief include: refusing to officially explain an event; the desire to protect how he or she sees the world; and the theorist’s lack of security and power. It is the lack of uncertainty that defines the glue, she wrote.
In short, the more insecure a person feels, the more sophisticated the belief system is.
Earlier this month Bruce Miller, MD, Memory and Aging Center, Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, discussed conspiracy theories from a different angle. In JAMA, he wrote that conspiracy theories are born because those who join such beliefs do not have a basic understanding of science. He cited a study of 9,654 adults in the United States. In this study, 48% of those polled who had higher education or less believed “that the conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was planned has some truth”. For those unable to interpret data, they can look to others whose feelings are similar. “Conspiracy theories can bring security and calm,” he wrote.