|Live, reproduce, die|
|Life as we know it|
|Divide and multiply|
“”Put your hand on that television set. Hallelujah. Thank you, Lord Jesus. He received your healing. Now say it: "I take it. I have it. It's mine. I thank you and praise you for it. [...] I consider not symptoms in my own body, but only that which God has promised. Only that what the Word has said. And by His stripes, I was healed. And by His stripes, I am healed now. I am not the sick trying to get healed. I am the healed, and the Devil is trying to give me the flu!
The COVID-19 pandemic was a pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 (formerly 2019-nCoV) coronavirus, which causes the disease called COVID-19.
It lasted from January 2020 until May 2023, when the World Health Organization declared that COVID was no longer a health emergency.[note 1]
The virus was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019 by most official accounts, but a leaked Chinese government document indicates that the first known patient was as early as November based on retrospective analyses. The first cluster of cases, of what was initially thought to be a mysterious case of pneumonia, were reported to the China National Health Commission on December 30, 2019. Chaolin Wang et al. were the first to report on the clinical features of the first 41 patients admitted to Wuhan’s Jin Yin-Tan Hospital, who were later confirmed on Jan 2, 2020 as being infected with COVID-19. It was quickly identified as a new disease in January 2020.
Since then, SARS-CoV-2 has spread from a relatively small initial-infection to over 691,770,965 cases (and 6,901,646 deaths) as of July 21, 2023. On May 15, 2021, The Economist unveiled a model to estimate excess deaths worldwide during the pandemic. As of September 2021, this model estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic caused an estimated 9.5 to 18.6 million excess deaths in total (compared with the official death count on Sep 14, 2021 of 4.6 million deaths). The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that some studies put the mortality rate at 0.6%, (there is substantial uncertainty about this estimate) which is higher than influenza but significantly lower than other coronavirus[note 2] infections such as SARS.
Mortality is not the sole cause of concern with COVID-19, as there is also the possibility of lasting health-effects following infection. However, scientists have not researched these “lasting health-effects” in depth, as the vast majority of people who test positive (up to 80%) experienced no symptoms whatsoever, leading scientists to prioritise the more severe cases that require hospitalization. There have been isolated reports of reinfection, which raise questions regarding long-term immunity.
Deaths from COVID-19 mostly occur among older people — the median age of COVID-19 death ranges between 79 (USA) and 86 years old (Canada). In Sweden, which adopted a "herd immunity" strategy, out of 5837 deaths, only 73 were of people younger than 50 years old. COVID-19’s infection rate, somewhat paradoxically, makes it far more dangerous to society at large. More lethal diseases tend to burn out: they kill their hosts too quickly and too effectively to spread, and consequently the virus dies out in the absence of any hosts. Nevertheless, COVID-19 has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization. The pandemic started out as an epidemic in China where it caused severe disruptions and lockdowns before spreading to multiple nations around the globe and becoming a pandemic in the process; at one point a third of the global population were in lockdown. On 6 May, 2023, the WHO announced COVID emergency is over but the coronavirus is still affecting thousands of lives every week.
Social media, unfortunately, has promulgated: panic, misinformation, racism, and quackery related to COVID-19 far faster than the virus itself. To add insult to injury, the actions of the 45th president of the United States — Donald Trump — during the pandemic, have led to what University of Chicago economics professor Austan Goolsbee called the "pathological irony of crisis":
“”If you lose credibility, your statements begin to mean the opposite of what you say. In other words: entreaties to "remain calm" instead get interpreted as reasons to panic, even when calm might be justified.
- Dry cough
- Loss of smell or taste
- Shortness of breath
Other symptoms with varying frequency include:
- Muscle or joint pain
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure, but it's important to note that many infections are completely asymptomatic. The CDC now estimates that up to 35% of cases present no symptoms. Symptoms are highly variable.
Severe complications known to be caused by COVID-19 infection include pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), multiple organ failure, and strokes (to name a few). People in higher-risk categories are more likely to experience these problems. Children who contract COVID-19 can also experience multisystem inflammatory syndrome.
Evidence is emerging that people who have had COVID can go on to develop a variety of health problems. This includes cardiovascular and lung issues, acute kidney injuries, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, depression, and anxiety.
What science says
As of 2020, due to COVID-19’s novelty and its rapid spread in China, COVID-19 is dubbed “a health emergency” and is being evaluated by all major health organizations around the world. SARS-CoV-2, the cause of the disease, is a betacoronavirus, which mainly infects bats. Although the details are still unclear, it is suspected that this virus underwent zoonosis — i.e. it crossed over from an animal—a natural reservoir—(almost certainly a bat) to humans.
SARS-CoV-2 spreads via respiratory droplets or aerosols (i.e. suspensions of these droplets in the air) produced when an infected person coughs, talks or sneezes. Airborne transmission can occur indoors, particularly in more crowded and less ventilated settings. In 2019 a Chinese CDC study demonstrates that SARS-CoV-2 is more contagious than some coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS,, and they found that under certain conditions SARS-CoV-2 behaves more like influenza[note 4] viruses. Unfortunately, once someone is infected, the full clinical picture of COVID-19 is not fully understood yet. While many people have had only mild symptoms, the disease has been deadly for some. Thus, the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, in part because of the current uncertainty. COVID-19 is more lethal among the elderly, smokers, and people with chronic health conditions (such as heart disease, diabetes or COPD).
Antiviral medications have been used on COVID-19 patients, but it's not yet clear whether, or how much, they help. Antibiotics can treat secondary infections such as pneumonia. Coagulase negative staphylococci (CoNS), such as Staphylococcus aureus, are notable causes of acute infective endocarditis (acute IE) after Cardiac surgery, and according to one study—of secondary infections in patients hospitalised with COVID-19–the majority of bloodstream infections are caused by CoNS.:452 S. epidermis and S. aureus—both CoNs—are common causes of acute IE in prosthetic heart valves and in native valves.:356 Fortunately patients with native valve IE can be treated with antibiotics: a combination of gentamicin with either β-lactams or vancomycin, and this has been shown in most studies to be superior to treatment with monoclonal antibodies.:ibid. On the other hand, the CoNS that infect patients with prosthetic valve endocarditis tend to be resistant to β-lactams, but respond better to other antibiotics such as gentamicin.:ibid.
Preventing COVID-19 is a challenge because infected people may not realize they are infected, so they may unwittingly spread the disease instead of staying home or contacting a doctor. The CDC has begun testing patients with flu-like symptoms for the virus in order to help contain it.
- Wash your hands regularly using soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Never spit in public
- Avoid touching your face
- Stay at least 2 meters (6 feet) away from people who are sick
- Call a doctor if you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing
- Stay home and avoid other people if you're sick
- Wear a mask or other face-covering when you leave home
Due to the frequency of asymptomatic infections and mild COVID-19 cases being mistaken for cold or flu, you must assume that everyone is potentially infected, including yourself, and treat them as such in order to effectively mitigate the virus. Hence the need for masks and social distancing in any public space.
On December 2, 2020, Tozinameran, an mRNA vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech, was approved for usage starting in the United Kingdom, followed by the United States on December 11.
Moderna's mRNA-1273 vaccine received emergency use authorization in the US on December 18, 2020.
AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford developed AZD1222b (an adenovirus vaccine), and the UK and Argentina approved AZD1222b on December 30, 2020. The vaccine, which was almost entirely publicly funded, was supposed to be available to any manufacturer without the need of paying royalties until the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation intervened and gave pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca an exclusive license, which had huge implications on the accessibility of the vaccine in poorer countries.
Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceutical—in collaboration with the Beth Deaconess Israel Medical Center—develop Ad26.COV2.S (an adenovirus vaccine) in Feb 2021 (WHO Background document Janssen Ad26. COV2. S, see §.“Context” p. 3). On February 4, 2021 Janssen Biotech, Inc. (the Sponsor) submit an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) [cf. this addendum] request to the FDA for an “investigational vaccine intended to prevent COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2”, and clinical trials of Ad26.COV2.S begin (Phase III). Unlike Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines, which require two doses over a period of several weeks, the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine requires only one dose.
The Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology develop Sputnik V[note 5] (a double adenovirus vector vaccine) and Russia approve Sputnik V in August 2020. However, data is not made publicly available (in the Lancet) until February 2, 2021. Trial results of Sputnik V show a 91.6% efficacy rate, and many countries subsequently approve it for emergency use, including the UAE, Turkey, Israel, India, and Mexico. The application by the EMA is currently pending.
Summary of vaccine candidates
|Comirnaty (tozinameran)||mRNA||2 (3-12 weeks apart depending on country) with boosters approved for the immunocompromised||Pfizer/BioNtech
||66% (against delta)||88% (against delta)|
|Spikevax (elasomeran)||mRNA||2 (4 weeks apart) with boosters approved for the immunocompromised||Moderna
|Covishield, Vaxzevria (ChAdOx1-S [recombinant])||Viral vector||2 (4 weeks-12 weeks apart)||Oxford-AstraZeneca
||60% (against delta)||93% (against delta)|
|Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine||Viral vector||1 with no booster suggested yet||Johnson & Johnson
||64% (against mutations)||82% (against mutations)|
|Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac)||Viral vector||2 (3 weeks apart)||Gamaleya Research Institute
||83% against delta (previously reported as ~90%)|
|Covaxin||Inactivated virus||2 (4 weeks apart)||Bharat Biotech
|BBIBP-CorV||Inactivated virus||2 (3-4 weeks apart)||Sinopharm
|CoronaVac (PiCoVacc)||Inactivated virus||2 (2-4 weeks apart) with a booster possible/required||Sinovac Biotech
|Covovax||Protein||2 (4 weeks apart)||Novavax
Which vaccine should you take?
The simple answer is whatever vaccine is available. While it's easy to get caught up with the headlining efficacy numbers, the fact is that it's virtually impossible to compare the vaccines in an apples-to-apples sense, given that the clinical trials were not identical. For example, the definition of "mild" vs "severe" disease can vary, and some trials required regular blood draws to test for asymptomatic infections, while others only looked for symptoms. Furthermore, some vaccines were tested against emerging variants of the virus, while others were tested only against the "classic" version. Demographics varied wildly as well, with South African testing having to deal with the country's high HIV+ rate. While all the approved vaccines are effective, don't get too hung up on the efficacy numbers.
Given all that, however, there is one comparison that can be made. In all cases, the vaccines were 100% effective against death, and anywhere from 85%-100% effective against disease requiring hospitalization. All these vaccines meet established standards for efficacy against infection, and all of them virtually eliminate the chance of hospitalization or death. Even if you do get infected, you will be protected from the worst outcomes. If nothing else, that alone can turn COVID-19 from a public health crisis into just another bug. Do not hesitate to get any vaccine available to you, as soon as it is available.
Most people whom SARS-CoV-2 infects survive. On Aug 4, 2020, the WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said that several studies estimate COVID-19’s mortality rate at 0.6%, with other estimates ranging from 0.16% to 4.9%. The variability in death rates has been attributed to the availability of care facilities, which in Wuhan, with a death rate of 4.9%, were particularly overtaxed. This compares with the seasonal-flu death-rate of 0.1%. Whilst the mortality rates of COVID-19 are less than those of the 14th-century Black Death and the 1918 influenza, they may still make COVID-19 the most devastating pandemic of the 21st century. Because the virus is highly infectious, the total number of deaths is likely to be quite high
The fatality risk is higher in senior citizens, people who don’t have access to quality healthcare, and amongst people with certain comorbidities (e.g. cardiovascular disease, immunocompromised conditions like AIDS; diabetes, respiratory illnesses, hypertension, and cancer). While these people still have at least a 75% chance of survival if infected, they and their loved ones should take extra care to reduce the risk of infection. Hospital systems become overwhelmed when certain groups don't take the virus seriously. Access for other medical emergencies and quality of care suffer. Despite the disease SARS (c. 2002)—caused by the virus SARS-CoV-1–having a much higher mortality rate, COVID-19 has killed significantly more people, and since it does not kill as many of its (sometimes asymptomatic) hosts enables it to spread further.
Those who do die undergo a bleak journey, where the virus eats away one's ability to breathe in stages that care staff are increasingly powerless to treat—if one does get to a hospital. The vaccinated who are hospitalised tend to only reach the first stage. Beyond that stage, one's prospects grow ever dimmer.
Unscientific 5G fears
“”Harmless radiation has a large wavelength, too gentle to harm your molecular structure. (Think of it like the difference between gently rocking a baby to sleep versus shaking a baby at high speeds: one is safe and the other is definitely not.)
|—Luna Rose at wikiHow|
Only some forms of radiation are dangerous. "Ionizing" radiation, the dangerous kind, is high-energy with a wavelength so short it can disrupt electrons and break molecular bonds. Exposure to this radiation is bad for you because it can break apart your molecules and DNA. "Non-ionizing" radiation has a long wavelength, and unlike base-station radios or microwave ovens, cell phones have a very low transmission power of less than 1 watt, so it can't disrupt anything. And 5G is non-ionizing, with a wavelength comparable to microwaves and radio stations.
Needless to say, there's no scientific backing for these 5G fears. Areas with high infection rates aren't clustered in areas that have 5G, and people on cruises without 5G have also fallen ill. Germs, not waves, are the problem. Germs don't propagate via radiation. In fact, with certain forms of radiation — intense UVC-spectrum ultraviolet light, a form of the ionizing radiation mentioned above — you actually can destroy all viruses exposed to the radiation and achieve sterility.[note 6]
Setting fire to 5G towers (as apparently has happened in at least 50 cases as of April 21, 2020) isn't going to cure anything. Instead, it might get you arrested for arson and sent to prison where you could breathe the same air as infected inmates. Harassing poor telecom technicians won't help stop COVID-19 either. The celebrities spreading anti-5G nonsense don't know what they're talking about, either.
In January 2020, a viral video showing a young Chinese woman eating a whole bat with chopsticks spread rapidly across social media. In reporting on this video, the Daily Mail (of course) called it "revolting footage" while winking and nudging that "scientists link the deadly coronavirus to the flying mammals". The problem is, the video in question (filmed in 2016, several years before the virus outbreak began) was regarding travel blogger Wang Mengyun eating a bat in Palau, a Pacific Island nation where bat-oriented cuisine is common. Unfortunately, Wang received racist hate mail and even death threats. The Daily Mail and their culinarily stunted audience will do well to pay no attention to their own abusive and filthy food industry that requires pumping drugs to treat animals sickened by the industry.
Scientists haven't yet produced sufficient evidence that eating bats caused the bat-to-human jump of coronavirus. There are many ways for zoonotic transmission to occur – transmission is complex with lots of variables. The virus may have an intermediate host between bat and human, but scientists aren't so sure.
Claims that the virus was engineered
The scientific consensus "overwhelmingly conclude(s) that this coronavirus originated in wildlife." Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 shows that it shares about 96% of its RNA with a RaTG13 coronavirus strain found in a bat,[note 7] and has mutations that are less likely to be have been the byproduct of artificial selection; the scientific consensus continues to be that an animal is the most likely source of SARS-CoV-2. The death rate of SARS-CoV-2 is 2%, and is estimated that an average infected human can infect two and a half humans, this reality runs contrary to the conspiracy as the whole point of a bioweapon is to kill people. Why the hell would the Chinese government want to piss off other governments by infecting their citizens and government officials? At least with this conspiracy, it is somewhat realistic and would operate within the laws of physics, unlike the other conspiracies.
Of course, when conspiracy theorists are confronted on these contradictions, they say that yes, these government officials are being assassinated in the most attention-grabbing way possible, that would attract the imagination and alarm of the panicking public. It didn't help matters that Nobel-Prize-winner-turned-crank Luc Montagnier claimed that the virus was semi-synthetic based on genetic data analysis of the study. The claim was quickly refuted by another analysis. One study explicitly refuted the plausibility of laboratory origin due to similarities to recently evolved zoological versions of coronavirus.
Yet a minority view is that of taking an accidental lab leak seriously. In this view, the virus was not a terrifying weapon, likely not engineered at all but just stored, though it could possibly have been of interest to research and development of weapons. For example, one author of the "Proximal Origins" paper, Kristian Andersen, has claimed that a lab leak origin is "highly likely." While "highly likely" is at odds with the general consensus, it's also true that the evidence does not allow conclusively ruling out a lab origin. However, as other researchers behind the paper point out, neither is there evidence anywhere near strong enough to base accusations on. But that hasn't stopped conspiracy theorists from making wilder claims and pointing fingers in a variety of directions.
Blaming Chinese scientists
Early indications during the pandemic showed that the first cluster of the viruses may have originated from a "wet market" in Wuhan. In a pre-print paper that was quickly withdrawn after appearing on ResearchGate, Chinese scientists Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao proposed that the virus might have actually come from one of two research laboratories near the wet market: the Wuhan Center for Disease Control & Prevention, and the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Always keen to spread bullshit on anything health related, this was picked up by the Daily Mail with an appropriate panicky headline. Even the Daily Mirror, the yin to the Daily Mail's yang, couldn't help JAQing off on the subject as well. On the American side, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) repeated this bullshit on Fox News and subsequently accused the Chinese government of lying about COVID-19.
Zero Hedge went even further. Claiming that the virus was spreading because it was a "weaponized version of the coronavirus" originally from Canada, Zero Hedge sought to seek out who was responsible for this coronavirus. So they cobbled some criteria for narrowing down who "created" the virus from a job posting on the Wuhan Institution of Virology's website. Using these rather random criteria, they zeroed in on one Chinese scientist in particular who was focused on bat virus infections and immunity and claimed that he created SARS-CoV-2. At that point, they decided to doxx the scientist, because of course, they would. This was enough to get them permanently suspended from Twitter.
Why did Zero Hedge think the virus came from Canada? Because of another rumor: in July 2019, virologist Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, her husband, and some of her students from China were removed from Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg over a "policy breach". Not only did social media rumors link COVID-19 to these individuals, but baseless claims were made that Dr. Qiu and her husband were part of a "spy team" that had sent "pathogens to the Wuhan facility", and that her husband "specialised in coronavirus research".
Memes spread online on how the Wuhan Institute of Virology's logo is similar to that of "Umbrella Corporation", a shady agency responsible for making the virus that starts the zombie apocalypse in the Resident Evil video game series. But the logo that inspired the meme belongs to a different company altogether (namely Shanghai Ruilan Bao Hu San Biotech Limited, located in Shanghai, 500 miles away from Wuhan).
On February 24, 2020, Rush Limbaugh repeated the bullshit that COVID-19 was a weaponized "ChiCom[note 8] laboratory experiment" on his radio program. Unusually for a crank, he actually downplayed the virus risks, actually reporting the correct approximate survival rate right of 98% (the mortality rate of COVID-19 as of February 24, 2020 is around 2.3%). However, he mistakenly said that this was "a far lower death statistic than any form of influenza" (typically the mortality rate of influenza in the United States is 0.1%). More to his style, he declared that "the coronavirus is the common cold" for some reason, and politicized COVID-19 media coverage by complaining that the "Drive-By Media" was "weaponizing" COVID-19 "as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump".[note 9]
Limbaugh's bullshit was repeated by Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, both accusing the media and the Democratic party of "weaponizing fear". This is fairly ironic coming from a cable news network notorious for exploiting fear.
Fox News, in fact, has been spreading so much bullshit from its relatively prominent position in media downplaying the virus to the point where network insiders privately worry about that should a strong connection be made between Fox News disinformation and deaths, they could be sued and held liable.[note 10]
Blaming Bill Gates
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a charity that is dedicated to global philanthropy, using Bill Gates' massive wealth earned during his days as CEO of Microsoft. Much of this philanthropy is dedicated to concerns about world health. As such, the foundation has plenty of experience with past epidemics and pandemics, ranging from long-lasting historical pandemics such as HIV/AIDS to epidemics caused by novel viruses such as the Ebola virus outbreak in Africa. Based on their experience fighting these diseases, the foundation has been warning about the risk of a pandemic disease for years — correctly predicting for instance in a 2015 TED talk (after the Ebola outbreak) that the world would not be ready should a large-scale pandemic occur.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is actively leading efforts to fight COVID-19, and spending
$100 million $250 million $300 million in funding to do this. Unfortunately, it became a major target of the conspiracy crowd over the months that the disease progressed. Gates' strong links with world health programs, as well as his vocal opposition to Trump's policies (such as Trump's relative sluggish response to the virus and cutting funding for the World Health Organization in the middle of the pandemic) have triggered the conspiracy crowd to actually accuse Bill Gates of actually creating the virus that fueled COVID-19. In the past, Gates, due to remarks about vaccines reducing child mortality and therefore naturally reducing the number of children that couples wish to have, has been a target of those who embrace depopulation conspiracy theories, particularly among those who embrace the anti-vaccination movement. Conspiracy theorists have naturally combined the two into the notion that Bill Gates created the virus to cull or survey the global population.
An example of the strange thought process involved here came early during the outbreak from, as one would expect, the depths of QAnon. Prominent QAnon YouTuber Jordan Sather mistakenly thought a patent for an avian IBV vaccine, created by farm animal infectious disease research institution Pirbright Institute, was actually a patent for a COVID-19 vaccine. Because the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded some of the other research of this institute, Sather connected the two, leading to the rumor that Gates created the virus, a theory which soon spread like wildfire across conspiracy blogs.
Naturally, the conspiracy morphed further to the point where Bill Gates completely owned the "patent on coronavirus". In a Natural News article, the chicken coronavirus vaccine patent oddly proved to them that COVID-19 was "just another weaponized viral strain designed to sell more useless, deadly vaccines, while at the same time killing off a few thousand, or perhaps a few million, people." (Of course, this is just another article from Natural News designed to happily sell the paranoid more useless dietary supplements).
Another example came due to Gates' participation in a high-level pandemic exercise called Event 201, which was sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in October 2019. Players in the exercise were presented with a scenario where a fictional coronavirus (i.e., not SARS-CoV-2) started in pig farms in Brazil and then spread around the world, leading to a (fictional) 65 million deaths.
Naturally, this morphed into sites like Infowars putting up alarmist headlines like "BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION & OTHERS PREDICTED UP TO 65 MILLION DEATHS VIA CORONAVIRUS — IN SIMULATION RAN 3 MONTHS AGO!". This of course means, according to Infowars, that Gates is one of the "globalists who own the patent to the virus and predicted its rise". These "globalists", per Infowars, are intentionally spreading the disease "so groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation can step in and become saviors". Of course, Infowars is "wise to the activities of the Gates' and the global elite's depopulation agenda!" (Like Natural News, their article is also designed to happily sell the paranoid additional useless dietary supplements; it is uncertain how wise Infowars readers are to this purpose.)
Since then, Bill Gates-oriented conspiracy theories appear on Infowars frequently. Infowars' unhinged conspiratorial rants include comparing the (untrue) aforementioned population control theory to Nazi eugenics and describing an (untrue) initiative from Gates to "vaccinate and microchip every human being on Earth in the name of combating the coronavirus pandemic". (Of course, Infowars is happy to remind you in the midst of this doom and gloom that they are now accepting pre-orders for their healthy and delicious storable food!)
As a result of all of this disinformation, in a Yahoo News / YouGov survey conducted between May 20 and 21, 2020, 44 percent of Republicans believe that Bill Gates is plotting to use a mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign to implement microchips in billions of people and monitor their movements. Only 26 percent of Republicans were able to identify this story as false. There is concern that this widespread belief in conspiracy theory over science will make any vaccination effort difficult in the United States, and thus hamper abilities to combat the pandemic once a vaccine is available.
The impact of the disinformation is not just limited to the United States. On May 14, Sara Cunial, a politician of the Five Star Movement who had been suspended from the party for likening vaccines to "free genocide", in both an online speech made in the Italian Parliament (much to other members' chagrin) and a Facebook post, called for Gates to be arrested by the International Criminal Court for "crimes against humanity", and claimed that "the real goal of all of (the search for a COVID-19 vaccine) is total control... absolute domination of human beings, transformed into guinea pigs and slaves, violating sovereignty and free will."[note 11] A small protest over Gates happened in Melbourne, Australia in early May. Anti-Gates signs appeared in England, and Gates was the focus of anti-lockdown protests in Germany that occurred in mid-May.
As a curious subtext of its germ theory denialism, Conservapedia has blamed a combination of not following Kosher (Mosaic) dietary laws, and rampant atheism (because of course) and Communism in China:
The Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is an example of a deadly disease arising in animals deemed to be "unclean" by the Mosaic Law for human consumption, such as bats, snakes, cats and camels. In addition, developing countries in which basic needs — including hygiene — are poor, income is scarce, or are run by corrupt and/or atheistic cultures and governments there is often a history of poverty and famine; their societies in turn would develop a culture reflecting a wider variety of foods eaten (see: Atheism and economics). Where people consume such animals in poorly regulated food markets with poor health systems (see: Atheist hospitals in China and Atheism and medicine and Atheist hospitals) — especially if the food item is improperly prepared and cooked - a coronavirus can take hold in the human population and then spread rapidly to other people.
- The article on Conservapedia was written mainly by Conservapedia:RobSmith. The section on Mosaic law and atheophobia was apparently approved by Andrew Schlafly.
In a nutshell
Depending on whichever conspiracy you want to believe in, here are all the ridiculous theories compiled...
- Coronavirus is an American biological weapon
- Coronavirus is a Chinese chemical weapon
- COVID-19 is caused by 5G towers
- It's all planned by Bill Gates to sell you vaccines
- The vaccines are designed by Bill Gates to put microchips in you
- The virus isn’t real
- It's just the flu
- The virus is designed to make the masses obey the government
- The virus is actually good for you – that's why governments try to stop it!
- The virus was made to kill off the elderly and/or the poor
- The virus was made to make the rich richer and the poor poorer
- Doctors have been silenced when trying to tell people that the virus is fake
- There is a New World Order as a result of COVID-19
- It's all a plandemic
Conspiracy theories, paranoia and the blame game
When a new pandemic arises, it's easy for people to collectively start searching for anyone, anything to blame. Sometimes the blame game extends into batshit insane conspiracy theory territory.
In the world of social media, disinformation about the virus proliferated as fast as the virus itself. The disinformation from the usual sources got so bad that stupid stuff like obvious shitpost-style "jokes" about Eminem being the first celebrity with COVID-19 (parodying Eminem lyrics in the process), satirical warnings not to pop bubble wrap, and "realistic" conspiracy-oriented horror fiction about COVID-19 cover-ups posted on Reddit got misrepresented as factual. YouTube, despite ostensibly removing posts with medical misinformation, has seen COVID-19 conspiracy-oriented media flourish and thrive.
Perhaps the most notable piece of COVID-19 misinformation in social media was a video called Plandemic: The Hidden Agenda Behind COVID-19. Produced by Mikki Willis and his production company Elevate (a company whose general aim is to produce "socially conscious media" but has promoted conspiracy-oriented material in the past), the film focuses on former researcher Judy Mikovits. Very similar to the story of the bullshit that happened with autism and vaccines, Mikovits attempted to link a newly discovered retrovirus to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, only to have the paper fully retracted when nobody could replicate the results. Like Andrew Wakefield (who tried and failed to link autism and vaccines), instead of accepting the results and moving on, after some legal shenanigans (such as getting arrested for stealing research from a lab she was terminated from) she hopped on board the profitable conspiracy crank circuit by feeding those susceptible to anti-vaccination bullshit exactly what they want to hear. (It's no surprise that Plandemic doubles as a promotion for a book Mikovits is publishing soon.) Fortunately, the film is literally full of bullshit point after bullshit point, making it easy for publications to thoroughly debunk every claim it attempts to make. (Major debunkings include articles at NPR and The Atlantic among many others.)
Of course, Vladimir Putin's government played a significant role in spreading misinformation (as if the Russians weren't satisfied with simply interfering with politics and funding terrorists in order to carve out pieces of land for itself). In the United States, officials said thousands of Russian-backed social media accounts were coordinating a misinformation campaign to spread coronavirus conspiracy theories. Of course, the Russian government responded to these reports as "fake." This behavior is unsurprising, as Russian bots were previously identified as spreading vaccine hysteria in the United States, and KGB coordinated a misinformation campaign in the 1980s that American scientists were responsible for creating the AIDS virus.
The disinformation was not limited to just social media. For instance, early in February, the World Population Project at the University of Southampton published research predicting where people from Wuhan had traveled to in the two weeks prior to Wuhan being locked down under quarantine. The researchers on this project posted a series of messages about their work on Twitter. One of these messages included a side point, with a map illustrating global air travel traffic (basically, all the flight paths in the world, nothing more) just to show the extent of the global air network. Somehow, tabloids such as the Sun took the global air traffic map to be an actual "HORRIFYING" map showing "the unstoppable spread of the deadly coronavirus across the globe".
Misinformation about the state of China
- In February 2020, a viral video supposedly showing a chaotic scene in Wuhan circulated, where posters claimed that people were "shooting down all the people with the virus in China". This in fact was a mixture of several mislabeled videos, such as a video where firework explosions were being heard in the background, and a scene from a fatal motorcycle accident.
- In late February 2020, Mark Richards (as reported by his admirer Kerry Cassidy) said that 30,000 Chinese had already died, and 40,000 had been "taken off-world by Reptilians assisting China in their drive to eliminate approx. 500 million people." He added that "other governments are using it to facilitate eliminating some of their populations as well." Richards is a convicted murderer serving life without parole in a California prison and has very limited access to sources.
- Hal Turner, of course, also contributed to the misinformation by maintaining a webpage with "news" on the "Coronavirus in China". The page headline ups the ante on the pandemic numbers that cranks are pulling out of their asses, reporting for instance on February 13, 2020 that "2.8 Million (are) Infected" and "112,000 (are) DEAD" from COVID-19 (far exceeding official statistics, which were 60,416 cases and 1,370 deaths at that time.) Other bullshit statements include claims that the dead are "being taken directly to incinerators" to be burned, that the virus is different than SARS because it "causes rapid kidney failure", and an absolute certain prediction that the pandemic will cause Chinese society to collapse and "set in motion a global economic shockwave from which the planet will be unable to recover for decades." For believers of this nonsense, Hal is happy to direct you to vendors for surgical masks and MREs.
- Steve Bannon's front group, the Rule of Law Foundation, shared a bogus study claiming that COVID-19 was created in a lab, which was immediately busted by actual biologists.
Naturally, the worldwide rollout of vaccines have sparked the ire of one of the most common of conspiracy theories: the anti-vaxxers. Arguments put forward against the safety of the vaccines include:
- The overblown increased risk of heart inflammation (or myocarditis) as a side effect. For example, a US DoD study of vaccinated male military service members found 23 cases of myocarditis unattributable to infectious, ischemic, or autoimmune causes, whereas only 8 or less were anticipated. While this may initially seem alarming, the study mentions that this is against the background of roughly 436,000 male service members who have received their second vaccine, meaning the difference in odds of having heart inflammation is 0.0018% to 0.0046%. The study also mentions that for most diagnosed with myocarditis, symptoms generally resolved within a week.
“”I believe in getting immunity the old-fashioned way: By letting a bat virus take control of my lungs and turn my face into a disgusting plague fountain while my immune system desperately Googles 'how to make spike protein antibodies'.
When a new disease sprouts up, scammers are bound to show up and offer you bullshit that will "protect" you from COVID-19, and, in fact, every disease known to man. The only thing these treatments cure is a wallet full of money.
Colloidal silver has long had a history of being promoted for curing every disease known to man (in spite of the fact that the only proven effect of ingesting silver is argyria, e.g. you may look like a Smurf). Not surprisingly, many people started hawking colloidal silver as a bullshit cure for COVID-19 shortly after the pandemic began, in spite of it being a completely ineffective treatment.
Disgraced evangelical preacher Jim Bakker, for instance, has been pushing "Optivida Silver Solution", a colloidal silver formulation, for some time as the cure for every disease known. In February 2020, he started pushing his silver solution as something that "totally eliminated, deactivated" "the coronavirus". In March 2020, Bakker was sued by the state of Missouri for peddling fake Coronavirus cures on his television show. The New York Attorney General followed suit, ordering Bakker to stop peddling this bullshit, and the United States Food and Drug Administration followed up with warnings to Bakker for selling unapproved cures.
Shortly after Bakker got his warning to cease and desist making unproven claims about colloidal silver, Alex Jones' Infowars site also received cease-and-desist letters, as they were also selling colloidal silver products.
Chlorine dioxide bleach
In recent years,
chloride dioxide bleach Miracle Mineral Supplement has emerged (largely thanks to the efforts of Jim Humble) as yet another substance that cures everything known to man. Naturally, some people decided that these quack "cures" extend to COVID-19. (It is true that if you die from bleach poisoning, there will be absolutely nothing to worry about regarding being infected from SARS-CoV-2.)
The first major promotion of MMS came from the depths of QAnon. After Jordan Sather blamed Bill Gates for COVID-19, Sather then said that he was going to "MMS the whole shit out of everything". This led to MMS being touted as a "cure" for COVID-19, with this quackery spreading among those receptive to the conspiracy theory that Gates created SARS-CoV-2. Other prominent supporters of the QAnon movement also tweeted their support.
Sadly, Bolivia's Senate fully embraced this quackery in July 2020, officially endorsing this as a "treatment" for COVID-19, despite medical warnings from Bolivia's own health ministry. Bolivia's lower house of parliament followed this up by approving the "solution" in August 2020. The majority leader of the national Senate threatened to leave the World Health Organization if the WHO continued to warn people that drinking bleach is a really, really bad idea. Meanwhile, in nearby Ecuador, ten Catholic bishops became so pissed off at the country's health minister, Juan Carlos Zevallos, for actually being reasonable and insisting that drinking bleach is a really, really bad idea, that they sent a public letter to President Lenin Moreno demanding his resignation.
Pitching supplements with paranoia
Hucksters who scam money from the paranoid by frightening people into purchasing their supplements and survivalism products naturally jumped into action when the COVID-19 pandemic arose.
Natural News, never one to miss the opportunity to direct the paranoid and conspiratorial towards the arms of the profitable supplements businesses that support them, actually launched a separate site called "Pandemic News" dedicated to spreading bullshit about the virus. Their home page has been changed to add a counter with the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths, with one line for the (according to them) "rigged" official infected and death counts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and another for the (according to them) "realistic" infected and death counts of the COVID-19 pandemic, featuring numbers that they pulled out of their ass. Among their bullshit suggestions are articles that COVID-19 can be treated by "intravenous vitamin C" and "all-natural oxygen therapy".
Infowars, who also are never one to miss the opportunity to direct the paranoid and conspiratorial towards the arms of their profitable supplements businesses, have also stepped up their marketing efforts to aggressively hawk their expensive bulk freeze-dried food packages, while simultaneously spreading wild conspiracy theories about COVID-19... even evoking cannibalism in their sales pitches that evoke total society collapse.
Scams that exploited the paranoid, of course, proliferated as well. One example was a site that was selling a "Pandemic Survival" book. The book naturally mixed conspiracy theories and paranoia with a promotion of a supplement called "BioDefend" (or "BioImmune", depending on whether you looked at the text or the product photograph). This supplement reportedly was "chocked full of Vitamin C and other essential herbs and vitamins" and would "support your body to help fight off harmful germs and viruses". While the PDF file is actually available for free, the people behind "Pandemic Survival" set up several spam emails and malvertising campaigns that all point to scam websites (in many cases, faked to look like mainstream news sources). On these sites, you could pay $37 for the privilege of downloading this free conspiracy theory PDF.
Herbal and traditional medicine
During the pandemic, several countries turned to herbal and traditional medicine to try to cure COVID-19... in spite of there not being any evidence that the products do any good. Some of these medicines have even earned official endorsements from government agencies.
In China, fans of traditional Chinese medicine snapped up a formula called "shuanghuanglian" (invented, as traditionally as you'd expect, in the 1960s) to combat the virus. Made of honeysuckle, Chinese skullcap, and forsythia, the formula sold out rapidly across the country, despite the fact that (in keeping with how most traditional Chinese medicine doesn't really work well) there is no evidence that this formula does a thing for COVID-19. A drug called Kaletra (a.k.a., lopinavir/ritonavir, used to treat HIV/AIDS) was also highly in demand, despite the fact that there is no evidence that this will help treat COVID-19 either.
India went even further and actually issued a government notice detailing approved ayurvedic and homeopathic methods for "prevention of coronavirus infections". There is no evidence that any of this will do anything for COVID-19 beyond placebo.
Madagascar president Andry Rajoelina, meanwhile, has promoted an herbal tea based on sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua) as a cure for COVID-19; there is no evidence that this plant does anything for that. That hasn't stopped other national leaders, such as Tanzania president John Magufuli, from touting this snake oil, though.
In Iran, some prominent clerics promote bullshit quack "cures", like cotton wool drenched in violet oil and inserted into your anus, or the "Prophet's Perfume" — which in a social media video, one cleric (Morteza Kohansal) went around dabbing on various COVID-19 patients, without protective gear, in a hospital he was not authorized to be in. None of this cures COVID-19 either; in fact, some top clerics who have relied on herbal remedies have succumbed to the disease, and one patient in Kohansal's "Prophet's Perfume" video also has died from the disease.
Cannabis and CBD
Various companies and people have been promoting cannabis and CBD for COVID cures or symptoms. The claims are sketchy at best and if based on anything at all, would be based on very weak evidence of in vitro tests of individual cannabis chemicals. Among the many examples:
- "Finest Herbalist", a company that manufactures a CBD product called "Pure Herbal Total Defense Immunity Blend" was ordered by New York Attorney General Letitia James on April 2 to cease marketing its products as effective for COVID-19.
- Peter Jonathan Hanna, a member of a Unification Church schism ("World Peace and Unification Sanctuary Church") and a QAnon promoter/survivalist, has promoted cannabis as a cure for COVID. Hanna also claims that his family has the coronavirus.
- Kyle Turley, ex-football player and cannabis company owner, has claimed that "cannabis will prevent and cure" COVID-19.
- Online, other miscellaneous bullshit prevention methods spread across social media, such as one purported to be sent by "NWLLAB" telling you to "keep your throat moist", "avoid fried or spicy food", and "load up on vitamin C".
- Chiropractors pretend that if you pay them lots of money that they can manipulate your spine and give you supplements to both prevent and cure you of COVID 19.
- In New Zealand, the Destiny Church, a fundamentalist religious cult built around the personality of its leader, self-styled Bishop Brian Tamaki has made a number of irresponsible statements and claims. At a Sunday service he claimed, "Satan has control of atmospheres unless you are born-again Jesus-loving, Bible-believing, Holy Ghost-filled, tithe-paying believer". He has also claimed that he can ignore the New Zealand government's ban on gatherings of more than 500 people and remain open because prayer will protect his congregation, so long as they pay their tithes, of course.
Calling Doctor Howard, Doctor Fine… Doctor Trump
A 2023 study of conservative vs. moderate and liberal physician behavior published of in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that conservative doctors were more likely to reject standard medical care for COVID and also to recommend discredited care such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.
Trump's own chosen expert on COVID, Dr. Anthony Fauci, strongly disagreed with Trump that these drugs should be used by the general public. When asked by a reporter, Fauci said:
|—Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases|
Importantly, taking pharmaceuticals for off-label uses, as Trump recommended, can be lethal. In the case of hydroxychloroquine, the toxic dose is as low as 20 mg/kg body weight, and the lethal dose as low as 30 mg/kg. Also hydroxychloroquine suppresses the immune system, so it could actually make COVID infection worse. "What do you have to lose?", said Trump.
The question should really be, 'What does Trump have to gain?' This is because Trump as well as several of Trump's associates, including Wilbur Ross and Ken Fisher, are directly or indirectly invested in companies that manufacture hydroxychloroquine. In the big scheme of Trump's finances, his own personal investment in hydroxychloroquine manufacture is puny, but would it surprise you if a billionaire helped out a crony or that a billionaire would try to chisel a nickel from the pavement of a busy street sidewalk?
There is an association — although causation has not been established — between both hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine and azithromycin with adverse cardiac events. This is an additional reason not to self-medicate with these drugs.
Only a day after Trump's dangerously stupid recommendation, two cases of chloroquine poisonings from self-medication were reported in Nigeria; health workers in Nigeria (and elsewhere) have had to warn Nigerians against self-medication. On March 23, 2020, it was announced that a US man died and that his wife was in critical condition after both ingested "chloroquine phosphate,[note 12] an additive commonly used at aquariums to clean fish tanks."
Chloroquine, one of the first synthetic anti-malarial drugs, is not as effective at malaria prevention and treatment as it used to be due to parasite resistance. It is however effective in the treatment of a few diseases, including lupus, amebiasis and rheumatic disease. Due to Trump's crank promotion of chloroquine, US stocks of chloroquine were nearly exhausted in less than a week, likely causing severe medical consequences for patients who relied on it. It is a drug which is falling out of use for any treatment, as hydroxychloroquine is generally much better tolerated and more effective. HCQ is generally well-tolerated enough that it can be taken daily for the treatment of diseases such as RA and lupus, and is widely prescribed for such.
The researcher behind this shitshow is Didier Raoult (1952–), who besides publishing a really lousy paper on hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (non-randomized, no true control group, bad ethical practice, confounding factors, missing patients from the analysis, dubious peer review) in the publication International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents (IJAA), has also been caught falsifying data in the past. Raoult has cast doubt on randomized trials generally, as well as on the value of scientific consensus. Incidentally, Raoult has also broadened his 'research' by denying climate change and Darwinian evolution (and its Modern Synthesis).
Two of the co-authors on the IJAA article are Raoult and Jean Marc Rolain. Rolain is the editor-in-chief of IJAA and Rolain is a subordinate of Raoult at the Institut hospitalo-universitaire. Due to the editor-in-chief being a co-editor, the peer review process was passed on to an unnamed associate editor, which did adhere to peer review rules, though the 1-day turnaround time is still suspicious. On April 3, the International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, which publishes IJAA, took the unusual step of issuing a non-retraction notice regarding the paper:
“”ISAC shares the concerns regarding the above article published recently in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents (IJAA). The ISAC Board believes the article does not meet the Society’s expected standard, especially relating to the lack of better explanations of the inclusion criteria and the triage of patients to ensure patient safety.
That said, there is in vitro (in a petri dish, essentially) evidence that chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine is effective at inhibiting SARS-CoV-2, and there are several plausible mechanisms of action that have been discovered. It's believed that HCQ could potentially alter the PH of cells, thereby preventing SARS-CoV-2 from binding, and it could also allow more zinc into the cell, which would change the composition of the cell to an extent it becomes lethal to any entering SARS-CoV-2 viruses. This was the primary rationale for using it along with azithromycin. The anti-inflammatory and immunomodulation effects are another possibility, as this virus generally kills by cytokine storm, in other words, an overactive immune system. In vivo testing has, however, been mostly negative, but the rationale for testing did exist. Raoult, however, despite having a perfect opportunity to do so, did not carry out anything resembling a real test, then declared victory, saying he had cured COVID-19.
Under what was likely intense pressure from the White House, the FDA issued an approval letter for emergency use of chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate (but not azithromycin) on March 28, 2020. Notably, the FDA letter "did not cite specific studies or evidence the FDA used to support the decision."
On the very same day that Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, started touting hydroxychloroquine, Sweden terminated a medical trial for the drug due to severe side effects (seizures and vision impairment).
Trump's fixation on chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine reportedly diverted already scarce expertise into what will likely be a wild goose chase. Trump's fixation was apparently initiated after a phone call with major campaign donor and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.
In April 2020, a (pre-peer reviewed) randomized clinical trial of 368 COVID patients was divided into three groups hydroxychloroquine (HC), HC+azithromycin (HC+AZ) and control group of no HC or AZ. The study found no evidence that HC with or without AZ reduced the risk of need for mechanical ventilation, and the study further found that HC alone increased the risk of death. However, many other tests are still ongoing in various stages all around the world.
On May 19, 2020, Trump surprisingly revealed that due to recent potential exposure to the virus in the White House, he was taking hydroxychloroquine (along with a zinc supplement) in an attempt to ward off the virus (in spite of the above noted health concerns). Even a Fox News host (Neil Cavuto) was stunned by this decision, warning Fox News viewers that there is no evidence that hydroxychloroquine can ward off Covid-19, and "if you are in a risky population here, and you are taking this as a preventative treatment … it will kill you. I cannot stress enough. This will kill you."
In 2022, Dr. Jennings Ryan Staley of California was convicted of, among other things, promoting hydroxychloroquine 'miracle cure' during the height of the pandemic before vaccines were available.
Disinfectants and ultraviolet
“”Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light — and I think you said that hasn’t been checked but you’re going to test it.
And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you're going to test that, too. Sounds interesting.I see disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it'd be interesting to check that. So you're going to have to use medical doctors, but it sounds interesting to me. So, we'll see. But the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in one minute, that's pretty powerful.
|—Trump — Would you run away from this man if you heard this on the street?|
Meanwhile, on April 23, 2020, during a presentation, after learning that surface cleaners such as sodium hypochlorite bleach or isopropyl alcohol might be effective at killing the virus, Trump shared more of the depths of his medical expertise by wondering whether COVID-19 could be killed by injecting these surface disinfectants into the body (most surface disinfectants, including these two, are highly toxic to ingest), or whether you could kill the virus by shining "tremendous" amounts of ultraviolet "light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way." Medical doctors reacted by calling Trump's statements as "irresponsible", "extremely dangerous", and "frightening". Major manufacturers of disinfectants, such as Reckitt Benckiser (manufacturers of Lysol and Dettol) and Zoflora rushed to put out press releases and social media posts, reminding everyone that following this advice from Trump would be a really, really bad idea.
Fringe fans of another type of bleach, Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS), rejoiced, feeling that the president has provided all the evidence they need that ingesting bleach will cure everything. (As chlorine dioxide bleach also is toxic to ingest, following the advice of the MMS quacks is a really, really bad idea as well.) Trump got the dangerously stupid idea of promoting bleach after receiving a letter from Mark Grenon, the leader of the largest group promoting MMS (a "church"/manufacturer called Genesis II); the letter told Trump that MMS is "a wonderful detox that can kill 99% of the pathogens in the body". (This same group had been ordered by the FDA to stop selling the "unproven and potentially harmful treatment for Covid-19" just a few days earlier.)
In August 2020, a few prominent Republicans (such as Housing and Urban Development Secretary and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force Ben Carson, and Mike Lindell, the CEO of My Pillow, a company that has engaged in illegal business practices, and in 2020 was known for providing heavy advertising support for far-right Fox News hosts, such as Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, that have become too toxic for mainstream companies to advertise on) started pitching oleandrin, a toxic chemical found in the oleander plant (Nerium oleander), to Trump as a cure for COVID-19. (Of course, the pitch has an element of self-interest, as Lindell has a stake in a company developing oleandrin extracts called Phoenix Biotechnology.) Oleandrin is a cardiac glycoside, with similar properties and structure to digoxin, which is derived from Foxglove.
There is no solid evidence that oleandrin works to treat COVID-19 in humans. Although there is a preliminary, preprint (non-peer reviewed) study that oleandrin may display some in vitro inhibition of SARS-CoV-2, it is a giant leap to go from saying, preliminarily, that a compound may inhibit a virus in isolation, to saying that not only does this compound cure COVID-19, but it is also safe to use on humans. In addition, two authors of the study are employed by Phoenix Biotechnology, suggesting a potential conflict of interest. In the meantime, because oleander is a common ornamental plant that is also well known to be highly toxic, some in the medical field worry that there is a non-trivial chance that people will get the really, really bad idea to "self-medicate" with the plant. The American Botanical Council (an alternative medicine organization that promotes herbal medicine) actually rushed out a press release urging consumers "not to ingest any parts of the plant, or capsules, tablets, teas, or extract preparations made from leaves or other parts of the oleander plant because it contains chemicals that can cause serious effects to the human heart, including death."
"Vaccine Police" leader Christopher Key actually suggested that urine is a cure for COVID-19, "The antidote that we have seen now, and we have tons and tons of research, is urine therapy". This is despite the fact that urine is actually unhealthy to drink, as it contains bacteria and waste products that the body was trying to dispose of. Key called people who got the vaccine "foolish". To date, there is no actual peer-reviewed study that shows that urine is an effective treatment for COVID-19 — or anything else.
In April 2020, researchers at Monash University discovered in a pre-print paper that a common anti-parasitic drug called ivermectin could kill the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 within 48 hours in a petri dish (in vitro). The press release cautioned that a successful in vitro experiment says nothing about its suitability for treating COVID-19 in humans. As this drug is commonly used to treat common animal diseases such as heartworm, the FDA rushed out a letter expressing concern that people would, in desperation, take ivermectin regardless of whether or not it actually worked, and were particularly concerned that they would take ivermectin intended for animals, which had not been tested in humans, and thus may pose additional dangers. Similar to hydroxychloroquine, by mid 2021, the evidence was not very strong that ivermectin was very effective, with only a few smaller studies showing positive effects and larger, more solid trials tending to produce equivocal evidence at best.
Similarly to hydroxychloroquine, however, this hasn't stopped many people, including political world leaders, from promoting the drug as a cure for COVID-19 to various degrees. Latin American politicians embraced the drug, with the drug being recommended by governments in Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil (albeit with Peru and Bolivia acknowledging that the evidence that the drug worked against COVID-19 was slim). Far from helping out the situation, however, there is evidence that Peru's use of self-medication with ivermectin (along with chlorine dioxide or bleach, anticoagulants, and other snake oil) actually may have increased pandemic deaths. The Indian states of Goa and Uttarakhand, against the advice of the World Health Organization, actually gave the drug to much of its residents in May 2021, despite the lack of scientific evidence. Ivermectin was part of a cocktail of unproven drugs promoted by Jair Bolsonaro to fight COVID-19; his promotion of pseudoscience and disdain for proven pandemic methods (e.g. lockdowns and facial mask use) led to Brazil having among the highest death rates from COVID-19 in the world in early- to mid-2021.
In the United States, Senator Ron Johnson led the charge to promote ivermectin as a cure for COVID-19, calling for a hearing in December 2020 to promote the drug. Johnson continued to promote the drug in 2021, appearing at the Milwaukee Press Club on June 3 to, among other things, promote ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. After uploading the video from the press club event to YouTube, YouTube responded by suspending Johnson's account for 7 days for promoting medical bullshit. Bullshit claims regarding ivermectin were echoed throughout June and July 2021 by some of the more noted anti-vaccination and anti-face mask Fox News personalities (such as Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham), as well as explored in noted broscience promoter Joe Rogan's podcasts. Carlson even went as far to promote on his show a former evolutionary biology professor named Bret Weinstein (brother of Eric Weinstein, and who was also more noteworthy at that time for spreading misinformation about COVID-19 than any accomplishments in biology academia), who bizarrely claimed that ivermectin actually mooted the Emergency Authorization Use for the COVID-19 vaccine for some reason. On social media, Facebook in particular allowed groups dedicated to spreading false bullshit about ivermectin to proliferate, and even allowed ad buyers to directly target the social network's users who bought into the ivermectin snake oil.
Because of this, experimental usage of livestock formulations of ivermectin (which, being formulated for a large animal like a horse or a cow, consisted of a much higher dose than pharmaceutical formulations of ivermectin to treat human worm diseases) increased during the summer of 2021, particularly those among the anti-vaccination movement who refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine (which at this time was widely available in the United States, but was disproportionately being rejected by conservative Donald Trump voters). Consequently, in late August 2021, there was a noted spike in calls to the poison control centers of multiple states concerning overdoses of ivermectin. According to the FDA, this even included multiple hospitalizations. Feed stores all across the United States were struggling to keep ivermectin in stock.
This led to an unusually blunt tweet from the FDA on August 21, 2021 reminding people to not partake in this reckless experimentation, which simply stated: "You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it." Despite this tweet, the misuse continued. On September 1st 2021 in rural Oklahoma, a doctor reported that the emergency rooms were backed up so badly with ivermectin overdose cases that gunshot victims were "having a hard time getting to facilities" and ambulance systems were "stuck at the hospital waiting for a bed to open".
At this point we'd like to note that the folks who overdose on this stuff usually wind up SHITTING OUT THEIR STOMACH LINING, and we humbly beseech you to ask yourself if you seriously think the Vaccine can do anything nearly as awful to you.
A group of quack doctors formed the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance in 2020 to tout ivermectin as a treatment for COVID. By February 2023, the group started touting ivermectin for treating influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). As of February 2023, there is no clinical data to support such a recommendation.
You don't have to believe RationalWiki, you could ask Danny Lemoi, one of the top ivermectin promoters (he himself took a daily dose of ivermectin) — if he were still alive. His final message to his followers on Telegram — intended as sarcastic, but turning out to be ironic — was "HAPPY FRIDAY ALL YOU POISONOUS HORSE PASTE EATING SURVIVORS !!!", hours before he died from ivermectin-induced heart disease.
During the early days of the pandemic, notorious "alternative medicine" promoter Joseph Mercola (who, according to the Center for Countering Digital Hate, was the worst promoter of COVID disinformation) advocated treating those infected with COVID-19 with diluted nebulized hydrogen peroxide (i.e, using a nebulizer to inhale hydrogen peroxide mist). By September 2021, this bullshit was circulating in misinformation groups with enough vigor that the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America issued a statement warning people that inhaling hydrogen peroxide won't do anything against COVID-19, but may irritate one's lungs and nose, with severe pulmonary irritation possible if one breathes concentrated peroxide mist that one forgot to dilute. Like bleach, hydrogen peroxide is an effective cleaning disinfectant against COVID-19 viruses, but also like bleach, you really don't want to put this inside your body.
Facial masks, an assault on mah freedom!
Initially, the advice from health officials on whether or not to wear a mask was confusing and contradictory, due to the thought that mask priority should be reserved for medical professionals, and confusion on how effective masks were at containing COVID-19 transmission. But by May 2020, the evidence was compelling that masks actually were very effective — even simple masks made from cloth reduced the possibility of COVID-19 transmission by a significant amount. As a result, the scientific consensus by the middle of 2020 was firmly in agreement: it is advisable to wear a mask as much as possible (particularly in crowds and indoor locations), in order to offer a little protection against getting COVID-19 (and even more protection against asymptomatic cases unknowingly infecting other people). In America, this resulted in some states and towns passing laws to make mask-wearing mandatory, at least in indoor locations.
Unfortunately, conspiracy theories about masks popped up almost immediately online. In the video Plandemic mentioned above, for instance, Judy Mikovits claimed that masks "literally activates your own virus", a claim so puzzling to scientists that one wonders exactly what Mikovits actually learned while obtaining her biochemistry degree. Donald Trump made a point of not wearing a mask in public and only grudgingly occasionally started to wear masks in July 2020. Polls showed that the more conservative media one watched, the more one refused to embrace social distancing and mask-wearing. Many conservative news sources such as Fox News seemed more interested in mocking mask laws and using masks as a conservative "talking point" that related to generic "freedom" oriented musings and attacks on Democrat politicians. In the worst-case scenarios, this has led to many mask-less
freedom fighters idiots getting into shouting matches, and even physical fights, with grocery store clerks, servers, and other service employees who merely asked for facial masks to be worn indoors in their store location. This has resulted in a large number of viral videos documenting the facial mask meltdowns.
In June of 2020, a group calling itself the "Freedom To Breathe Agency", a private, non-governmental organization, ran both a website and a Facebook page, encouraging people to print out their own "Face Mask Exemption Card", threatening steep financial penalties for forcing the card's bearer to wear a face mask. The card listed a claim that the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) did not require the bearer to disclose their condition. The Department of Justice issued a warning that the cards were not issued by any Government agency. As of June 29, 2020, both the website and the Facebook page have vanished.
By 2021, the delta variant of the COVID virus was sweeping America, and was overwhelming hospitals once again (particularly in states that voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 U.S. presidential election). Opposition to facial masks at this point had practically become a key tenet of the far-right American conservative identity, leading to continued incidents of anti-mask hysteria. In particular, formerly sedate and sleepy school board meetings in 2021 became hot spots for whacked out anti-mask protesters to yell out bizarre conspiracy theories and nonsensical Nazi analogies, even on occasion leading to violent brawls over mask policy. The hostility was enough to make some school board members consider resigning, fearing for their safety.
In February 2021, the FAA implemented a mandate for flying on airlines where masks were required to be worn while in flight or in transportation facilities. This contributed to significantly increased "air rage" incidents in 2021. Of the 3,889 reports of unruly passenger incidents the FAA recorded between February and August 2021, 2,867 unruly passenger cases were due to refusing to comply with mask policy. This uptick in unruly behavior[note 13] was enough for several US airlines to temporarily suspend in-cabin alcohol service in an attempt to calm passengers down.
Republican governors such as Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Greg Abbott (R-TX), who were looking to out-Trump Trump by the 2024 election, went beyond simply eliminating any state mask mandates. Instead, the two governors issued unpopular executive orders explicitly forbidding any local agency to have a mask mandate at all. Going further, they threatened any school districts and other local public officials that defied their legally questionable executive orders with fines or the withholding of salaries. Some conservative pundits were also continuing to shout out outrageous hysterics over face masks. In April 2021, Tucker Carlson advocated that people actually call child protective services to report supposed "child abuse" if they see a child wearing a face mask.
Natural Selection at work, folks.
Racism, bigotry and trolling
“”It is a foreign virus, if the chinese held high hygiene standards we wouldn't be in this mess right now.
|—FoxxysTweets, local racist on Twitter responding to a post from the wingnut Townhall.com.|
The pandemic has brought out ugly divisions between whites and minority races (which are more disproportionately affected) while also stroking xenophobic hatred and relentless exploitation of immigrants, all while being constantly goaded by right-wing leaders and media pundits.
The coronavirus outbreak indirectly victimized Asians by bringing out the worst in racists. Particularly, it harkens back to an old racist sentiment that the Chinese are filthy and eat whatever animal they like. Many Asians (regardless of whether they are Chinese or not, this includes Taiwanese people) have reported experiencing increased profiling and social isolation over concerns that they might have COVID-19 (complete with racist terms and tropes directed against them in some cases). Rumors about Shen Yun being a vector for coronavirus have been circulating despite the dance company being located in New York, being banned from performing in China, and the members not having visited China in years. Business has slumped at many Asian-oriented establishments in the West. These verbal attacks have occasionally crossed over into assault and harassment. It's most apparent when racists don't get the nationality correct and just assume every East Asian-looking they see is a new Chinese immigrant and not someone that's been more likely living there long before the outbreak.
A few businesses across the globe are prohibiting "all people coming from China" from entering their establishment due to excessive COVID-19 fears. Stroking anti-immigrant bigotry while politicizing the COVID-19 in the United States, Donald Trump, in a campaign rally on February 28, 2020, called COVID-19 the Democrats' "new hoax", ironically accusing the Democrats of doing the very same thing he is doing — politicizing the virus. He then linked the virus to the "many other public health threats" of "the Democrat policy of open borders". Fear of infectious disease is widely seen as being a strong motivating factor behind racism, so it is not surprising that Trump is using the virus, characterizing it as a "foreign" virus, (hint for xenophobes: viruses don't give a shit about whatever political boundaries we humans decide to make up) to "rally his base" behind his racist, xenophobic "immigration policy".
A laughable/sad instance of plumb-ignorant racism involves a fake shitpost circulated in Australia, from the "Department of Diseasology Parramatta", warned fellow racists, in poor grammar, about contaminated "Asian" products including Lipton's peach ice tea (Lipton is a British company). It has gotten so bad that NSW Health responded.
For some reason, a story about a Cameroonian man living in China who contracted, and was successfully treated for COVID-19 generated bullshit racialist posts online that he actually fought off the virus "because he has black skin, (because) the antibodies of a black person are 3 times strong, powerful, and resistant as that of a white".[ ] There is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
Fundie conspiracy theorist and radio broadcaster Rick Wiles has blamed Jews for spreading the COVID-19 virus because they are not Christians. ("God is spreading it in your synagogues! You are under judgment because you oppose his son, Jesus Christ.) Members of the far right have picked up on this since Jews are the go-to scapegoat for antisemites; oddly the antisemites think the Jews control virus labs in China.
Many ecofascists have made statements stating that humanity is the "disease" and that COVID-19 is nature's "cure" or "revenge," either ignoring that the disease is disproportionately fatal for poor, non-white people, often ones living in third world countries or acknowledging it but not giving a fuck because they either lack empathy for such people or, in extreme cases, actively want them to die because they blame them for overpopulation.
In the Republic of Korea, a 29-year-old man living in Yongin tested positive for COVID-19. He went clubbing in Itaewon, a party district in Seoul, when he had no symptoms, exposing at least 1,500 people to the virus. For some Korean media, his being gay was the most problematic aspect of this story. This has led to homophobic public opinion and hate speech against LGBT people within the Korean Internet community.
Denying immigrants basic human rights
“”For my children and I, who are US citizens, who should be afforded the same rights as every other citizen, it's really upsetting. We're being punished because of something completely separate, which is the immigration status of my husband. It wasn't thought out completely, surely. We are being betrayed by our own government."
|—Miriam, part of a family of five that won't receive aid because her husband used an individual taxpayer identification number.|
It's particularly striking that immigrants, especially the working class immigrants, are left off to fend for themselves while other groups receive relief packages. It mirrors the disasters centuries ago in the U.S. when it was believed that the Irish carried cholera while Jewish were responsible for tuberculosis. The exclusion is most notable in the United States, taken in reigns by an incompetent and bigoted president, where long-entrenched beliefs of "bootstraps" and dispensable "undeserving poor" dominate right-wing political discourse. Trump has excluded the stimulus checks to immigrants without social security numbers and filed only joint tax returns, including people who are married to them, barring 1.2 millions Americans from receiving aid. Americans that use Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to pay taxes, that means, are not getting anything despite working and paying taxes. Oh, but those serving the military are exempt. We wonder why...
A change to the public charge law in 2018 has made it more difficult for immigrants to receive a green card if they seek aid or are in conditions that make them likely to seek aid (including Medicaid, CHIP, SNAP, and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children despite not being included in the list of targeted benefits), thus potentially contributing to a chilling effect where 1 in 7 immigrants have not pursued aid in fear of jeopardizing their immigration status, thus leaving them more at risk of getting incapacitated by the coronavirus.
It's better to just let people die rather than lose money… or the election
“”Now, … an unofficial study which we undertook of this eventuality, indicated that we would destroy ninety percent of their nuclear capabilities. We would therefore prevail, and suffer only modest and acceptable civilian casualties from their remaining force which would be badly damaged and uncoordinated.
|—General Buck Turgidson in Dr. Strangelove, foreshadowing the 'pro-life' GOP political calculus|
“”As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all Americans love for your children and grandchildren?
|—Lieutenant governor of Texas Dan Patrick, actually displaying the pro-life GOP political calculus that the economy is more important than Grandma and Grandpa.|
- Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil (below)
- Donald Trump of the US (below) — even his own COVID adviser, Deborah Birx, admitted as much but only after being booted from office
- Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico — refused to wear a mask and told Mexicans to "live life as usual". The actual death count (321,000) was 60% higher than previously reported, perhaps indicating official suppression. He also stated that disease was not serious or dangerous and boasted about amulets protecting him from COVID-19.
- Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus — called the pandemic a "psychosis" and prescribed vodka and saunas to prevent it (the virus or the psychosis?)
- Turkmenistan — has banned mask wearing and the use of the word 'coronavirus' in media and health information.
- Hun Sen of Cambodia — welcomed cruise ships, used the pandemic as a cover for increasing repression
- John Magufuli of Tanzania — told citizens not to use masks or vaccines, and that prayer would cure COVID He likely died of COVID, perhaps while praying.
- Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India and leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party — in the lead up to India's catastrophic second wave of infections, Modi and the BJP allowed the 9-million strong Kumbh Mela religious gathering to go ahead, and Modi led massive political campaign gatherings. Field hospitals that were constructed during the first wave had been dismantled nationwide before the onset of the second wave.
“”It's impossible to cover all the outrages by populist demagogues and assorted tyrants. … Every world leader made mistakes, but there's something uniquely malignant about the manipulations and deceptions of the most outrageous players.
It is sometimes hard to suppress a chuckle when watching the antics of these buffoons. Yet the sense of absurdity is quickly stifled by the realization that their actions have likely contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands around the world — perhaps more.
“”This covid epidemic may actually lance the boil of populism. I don’t think there’s any correlation between being a democracy and doing well or poorly [in dealing with the coronavirus]. But there’s definitely a correlation between being a populist leader and doing badly.
|—Francis Fukuyama on BBC|
United States of America
A common theme among Republicans seems to be that the economy running normally is far more important than lots of people dying. This most often goes unsaid, but comes up in the form of denialism of the seriousness of the pandemic or in the form of many Republican governors' refusal to follow health experts advice on mandating social distancing.
The economic reality however is that without the availability of an effective vaccine, the cost of not implementing social distancing measures is extremely costly to the US economy: $5.2 trillion. This estimate is from an analysis by University of Wyoming researchers (Linda Thunstrom et al.) that used standard statistical cost of a life lost estimates, a type of metric that is commonly used in governmental risk-benefit analyses and in courtroom damage assessments. A separate analysis from University of Chicago economists Michael Greenstone and Vishan Nigam concluded:
“”Whether in regular times or during a pandemic, it is difficult to think of any intervention with such large potential benefits to American citizens. Importantly, while we measure benefits of distancing in dollars, they reflect the high value Americans place on small reductions in their chance of death – including consumption, leisure, time with family, and other aspects of life not easily monetized.
It is noteworthy that while the CDC has used economic cost-benefit analyses in the past, the CDC is not using such analyses for COVID-19. The White House’s Office of Management and Budget is also not doing any cost-benefit analyses, and The White House Council of Economic Advisers declined to comment on whether they had reviewed the analysis by Thunstrom et al., which they had been sent.
Response of wingnuts
“”We lost 6,000,000 people during the Holocaust. Did we shut down our economy then? Of course not. This is pure insanity.
America, like most nations in response to COVID-19, has been using non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing and quarantines to try and prevent the spread of this disease. In the middle of April 2020, several protests against this lockdown erupted in many states in America. These relatively small protests (at most a couple thousand people) attracted the more extremist, paranoid elements in American conservatism (as evidenced by the frequent appearance of Confederate flags, semi-automatic weapons, and Trump cult of personality paraphernalia at these rallies). The racial makeup of these protests are majority white, even in more racially diverse states such as California. Of course, most Americans, including a plurality of conservatives, think these protesters are nuts.
The rallies, while ostensibly a grassroots protest, were revealed to actually be astroturf on close examination, with ties to such industrialist figures such as Betsy DeVos and the Koch family, as well as shit-stirrers seeking nothing more than to profit over the paranoid (to no one's surprise, a show hosted at Infowars was behind a protest in Texas, and Alex Jones was in attendance). The rallies have also received support and behind-the-scenes coordination from The Convention of States project, which has been funded by Republican megadonor Robert Mercer's family foundation, and two members of Trump's White House, Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Ben Carson, secretary of housing and urban development.
Trump, of course, has enthusiastically retweeted support for these protests; in contrast, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease director Anthony Fauci warned that the anti-quarantine protesters could actually prolong the shutdown. (In spite of calls to "fire Fauci" at the protest rallies, as of April 19, 2020, far more Americans trust Fauci for information on COVID-19 compared to Trump.) In late June 2020, Trump ignored rising case numbers and held two large-scale presidential rallies. Two weeks after Trump held a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20, 2020, Tulsa had a spike in new detected coronavirus cases; a top health official believed that the rally "more than likely contributed" to the spike.
Fox News host Pete Hegseth on May 7, 2020, to no one's surprise, advised people on a panel program called Outnumbered to ignore "some of our experts and some of our leaders" and, laying out the line that the economy was more important than one's health, encouraged "healthy people" to leave their homes and get infected with COVID-19 in order to strive for "herd immunity". (Experts generally are wary about the "herd immunity" concept with this virus.) Apparently no lessons were learned from Fox and Friends co-host Jedediah Bila, who contracted the virus on April 9. Several studies suggest the possibility that watching conservative populist American media during this pandemic may have been hazardous to your health: preliminary data suggests that those who watched conservative media like Fox News were less likely to social distance and were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories or quack cures.
Some business CEOs have also taken the stance that keeping the business open is more important than the health of the people. One of the more prominent CEO bullshit artists and attention whores during the pandemic is Elon Musk. In between given his new baby boy an unpronounceable name that Prince would have been proud of and dissing Warren Buffett on Joe Rogan's podcast, Musk used his Twitter account to broadcast his fury over what he feels is a "dumb" coronavirus "panic". During the first several months of the pandemic, he promised (but failed to deliver) to manufacture ventilators for hospitals, he promoted the chloroquine quackery on his Twitter feed, and he called stay-at-home orders "forcible imprisoning" and "fascist" during an expletive-filled first quarter earnings call. On May 11, 2020, Musk defied a county lockdown order and reopened their California manufacturing facility.
Fringe personalities, generally from the wingnut side, have also moaned about the virus being nothing more than a conspiracy to destroy the economy. For instance, ex-sheriff David Clarke thinks that attempts to stop the spread of coronavirus by restricting large gatherings are "an orchestrated attempt to destroy capitalism."
By the summer of 2021, the COVID-19 vaccine was widely available in the United States, with 52.7% of the population fully vaccinated as of August 28, 2021. However, there was a notable gap in vaccination rates between counties that voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 election and counties that voted for Donald Trump. Although not all conservative media was part of the anti-vaccination movement (as an example, media outlets like the Wall Street Journal and the National Review reported on vaccines positively), the message from more populist outlets like Fox News were more muddled and confused, with many hosts being pro-vaccine and the more noxious, populist prime-time hosts like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham happily spreading vaccine conspiracy theories. But it was social media where anti-vaccination bullshit was proliferating the most of all, attracting an audience of anti-intellectuals who distrusted "elites" and were happy to believe flashy social media "influencers" JAQing off on the vaccine, instead of listening to the advice of trained medical experts. (This despite the possibility that these "influencers" might actually have been disseminating paid bullshit from provocateur nations like Russia.) A 2023 analysis of 538,139 deaths in Ohio and Florida between January 2018 and December 2021 found that there was a substantial differential death rate between registered Republicans and Democrats after vaccines were made available but not before vaccines were made available. The Republican death rate was 7.7% higher than then Democratic Party death rate after vaccines were available, indicating that Republican disinformation was killing their own.
Though not foolproof, the COVID-19 vaccines were highly effective at preventing hospitalization, including against the "delta variant" which was running rampant throughout the world at the time. So naturally, this led to multiple rounds of schadenfreude stories on the Internet where prominent vocal conservative anti-vaccination media populists caught COVID-19 and suffered severe complications, or even death. In August 2021 alone, stories along this line included four conservative talk show hosts who died from COVID-19 (Marc Bernier, Phil Valentine, Jimmy DeYoung, Dick Farrel); a prominent anti-mask campaigner in Texas named Caleb Wallace who caught COVID-19 and died; an attorney named John Pierce who had represented Kyle Rittenhouse and several 2021 U.S. Capitol riot defendants, and later was reported to be "in the hospital... with COVID-19, on a ventilator, non-responsive"; Milo Yiannopoulos, who caught the virus and reportedly made a post showing him injecting himself with the deworming drug ivermectin in a futile attempt to cure his symptoms; North Carolina Republican representative Keith Kidwell, who was hospitalized with COVID-19 after calling vaccine campaigns "manipulative"; Missouri state representative Sara Walsh, who refused get vaccinated and whose similarly anti-vaxx husband ended up dying from the disease; Raymond Leo Burke, an arch-conservative anti-Francis cardinal prelate of the Roman Catholic Church and outspoken COVID-19 vaccine critic who caught COVID and was placed on a ventilator; Maine state representative Chris Johansen, who was fiercely anti-vaccination, to the point where even though he lost his wife to COVID-19, he hid the status from the media and still was attending anti-vaccination rallies; Pressley Stutts, a leader of the Tea Party in Greenvile, South Carolina, who fought anti-vaccination efforts and later died of the virus; and Wisconsin Senator Andre Jacque, an outspoken lawmaker against COVID-19 vaccine mandates who caught COVID and was intubated.
Politicians who were vaccinated that reported contracting breakthrough COVID infections, which even included some Republicans such as South Carolina representative Ralph Norman and Texas governor Greg Abbott, generally reported mild symptoms. Even Donald Trump (who had promoted anti-vaccine quackery even before his presidency and, despite impressive early investments in vaccines via Operation Warp Speed in 2020, also fueled much of the anti-vaccination hysteria in 2021 by downplaying mitigation measures during his presidency.) quietly got vaccinated against COVID in January 2021. However, by 2021, anti-vaccination hysteria was in such force among American conservatives that Trump was actually booed in a late August rally for merely suggesting that the vaccines were good.
It's better to just let students and teachers die rather than lose money
After pumping up Trump's dubious COVID cure, Dr. Oz suggested to Hannity that reopening schools would be a good idea and that a certain level of mortality among schoolchildren would be acceptable:
“”"Schools are a very appetizing opportunity. I just saw a nice piece in The Lancet arguing the opening of schools may only cost us 2 to 3%, in terms of total mortality. Any, you know, any life is a life lost, but … that might be a tradeoff some folks would consider."
In the summer of 2020, as America debated whether or not to re-open schools in the fall of that year, many Republican politicians echoed Oz's general sentiment, preferring charge-ahead bluster in their push to re-open schools, without much thought for safety. Predictably and understandably, teachers as a whole were not happy with this development. Most would have been happy re-opening schools if the viral caseload for the area was low enough, and proper sanitation guidelines for re-opening schools (issued by the CDC) were followed. However, many Republican leaders were insisting on a full scale re-opening in spite of, at that time, many Republican led states and towns also being COVID-19 hotspots. One teachers' union; (in Florida) sued to block re-opening; many other teachers are quitting or retiring early in response. Trump's education secretary, Betsy DeVos, showed her compassion to teachers by making an empty threat[note 14] to defund schools that don't open. Louisiana Senator John Kennedy was even more compassionate when he advocated on Hannity's Fox News show that those who oppose schools' reopenings "can kiss my ass".
“”"The president has said unmistakably that he wants schools to open... the science should not stand in the way of this."
|—White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany|
Predictably, many schools after they reopened became the site of a COVID-19 outbreak; the outbreaks have often caused many students to be quarantined, and in some cases resulted in the school shutting down almost immediately after re-opening. In one case, in North Paulding High School in Dallas Georgia, a student posted a photo of the school hallways shortly after re-opening. The photos showed a very crowded hallway, with many students not wearing masks. The school's response was to suspend the student for having the audacity to share the photo on social media. (Facing a backlash, the suspension was removed a few days later.) The next week, 9 cases (later rising to 35) of COVID-19 were confirmed among North Paulding High School teachers and students. This forced the school to close for a full week for cleaning and adapt an alternate hybrid in-person/virtual learning strategy after that. In another case, a school district cancelled plans to reopen schools after teachers staged a "sick out" in protest. Universities were not spared either — COVID-19 outbreaks, often linked to sororities, fraternities and off-campus parties, forced a few universities to move to online-only classes.
The lethal COVID injection
America's way of mass incarceration and crowding of prisons (making social distancing impossible), with people of color and people with mental health disabilities disproportionately affected thanks to racism and being flared by overt racism being enabled by Trump, made it the perfect storm for COVID-19 for the prison population and the staff. People in prison are by far the most vulnerable group to COVID, worsened by the public's general indifference as well as the failure of leadership, mostly Republican but also by the indifference of Democratic leadership. People in jail are around five times as likely to contract the disease, and more prisoners have died to COVID than all executed since 2001. More than 900 people had died from COVID in state and federal prisons and the Marshall Project estimates that over 300,000 people have been tested positive for COVID-19. Every state barring Vermont has reported at least one death from a prison. More than 100,000 prison staff have tested positive.
In one illustrative example of Democratic indifference toward the treatment of the incarcerated people, Cassandra Greer-Lee had to call the Democratic sheriff, the Cook County jail, the jail's hospital Cermak, 132 times describing the horrible jail conditions and pleading for assistance for husband, Nickolas Lee, who was presumed innocent but was still locked up and was showing signs of developing COVID-19. She even went into the jail herself to try to get the attention of corrections officers. No action was taken until her husband was taken into a hospital and eventually succumbed to COVID-19. The only semblance of a response to this was the office bringing up Nick's past record for being convicted for armed robbery, hardly an excuse for the lack of a response. The Cook County jail is one of the country's largest jails and has reported one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the country.
Trump body count
One analysis estimated that as of October 2020 (based on 222,000 total deaths) tens of thousands of excess US deaths could be attributed to Trump's bungling and denialism. An earlier but more rigorous analysis estimated (based on the July 21, 2020 death total of 140,630) that between 4,244 and 12,202 excess deaths could be attributed specifically to Trump's pronouncements regarding mask-wearing (not his policies per se). Another October 2020 study (based on 217,000 total deaths) estimated that there were between 130,000 and 210,000 excess deaths by comparing the US to similar countries' responses, a large portion of which would be attributable to Trump due to the Trump administration's "hostility to much of the critical guidance and recommendations put forth by its own health agencies". One estimate of worst-case total US deaths from COVID was 620,029. Given that initial disease response (lockdowns and mask-wearing) is critical in reducing total deaths, a large proportion of the total US deaths would be attributable to Trump regardless of whether the deaths occur after he is out of office. A post-Trump analysis by a Lancet commission estimated that 40% of the 470,000 US COVID deaths (188,000 deaths) could have been averted if Trump had taken the pandemic seriously; the study compared death rates among G7 countries.
Out of a total force of 3,200 Secret Service agents, 881 tested positive for COVID between March 2020 and March 2021; of the 881, 447 worked for the special agent division tasked to protect the president and vice president. Trump took specific — and unnecessary — actions that increased the exposure risk to agents, for example by directly exposing agents in a car while he was being treated for COVID, and by holding a campaign rally in Tulsa that largely ignored social distancing precautions.
“”“Never before has the Secret Service run up against a president so intent on putting himself first regardless of the costs, including to those around him.
|—Ned Price, national security expert and former CIA agent|
Similarly, President Jair Bolsonaro seems to be wagering that keeping the Brazilian economy running will be the only way to get reelected at this point as long as the body count doesn't rise too high. His strong resistance to quarantine measures and his repeated COVID-19 denialism (a stance that runs contrary to almost every other leader in the world — he repeatedly has downplayed COVID-19 as "a bit of sniffles" or a "little flu") has led to defiance from most of Brazil's governors (who have largely implemented a quarantine in their states anyways), nightly protests in many Brazilian cities, and a declining approval rating. Bolsonaro's frequent clashes with Brazilian health minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta (who advocated social isolation, and has a 76 percent approval rating as a result, compared to Bolsonaro's 28 percent approval rating) eventually led, naturally, to Mandetta being fired by Bolsonaro on April 16, 2020.
The health care minister appointed to replace Mandetta, Nelson Teich, resigned on May 15, 2020 — officially for no reason, but Teich was known for frequently clashing with Bolsonaro. It was speculated that Bolsonaro's embrace of the chloroquine quackery pushed by Donald Trump, and his desire on May 14, 2020 to change the protocol around chloroquine to allow for expanded use (despite there being no solid evidence that this drug works well against COVID-19) was the final straw for Teich. Teich was replaced by a temporary appointment, Eduardo Pazuello, an army general with no previous medical experience.
Bolsonaro has gone above and beyond Trump in protesting lockdown measures by actually appearing at anti-lockdown rallies. Journalists noted that he neither wore a face mask (even though he was seen coughing on several occasions) nor gloves, precautions which other world leaders have taken.
“”"So what? I'm sorry. What do you want me to do?"
|—Jair Bolsonaro, when asked about Brazil's record 474 deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday April 28, 2020. Apparently responding by taking COVID-19 seriously for once is out of the question...|
Bolsonaro's callous and dismissive response to the virus (including the above quote, which trended on social media) has infuriated many Brazilians, as well as many other government officials (including Bolsonaro's popular justice minister, Sergio Moro, who resigned from Bolsonaro's administration on April 24, 2020, in part because Bolsonaro was being an anti-scientific dipshit on COVID-19.)
One son of Bolsonaro, a popular video game streamer named Jair Renan Bolsonaro, actually got temporarily banned from Twitch on May 2020 due to him saying bullshit during a Twitch session that COVID-19 was "just a little flu" and a "media invention to lock you inside your home, so you'll think the world is crumbling".
By June 2020, as the COVID-19 cases and deaths continued to increase (in terms of raw numbers, only the United States had more confirmed cases at that time, and unlike the United States, the case rate was still trending upward), it was clear to most Brazillians that COVID-19 was far from just a "little flu", and Bolsonaro was widely blamed for his poor response to the pandemic. Bolsonaro responded to this sentiment by wiping months of historical data from Brazil's official online COVID-19 tracker, and only allowing limited information to be shown, in a clear bid to try to reshape the narrative. This move caused three opposition parties to file a legal challenge; a Supreme Court judge later sided with the opposition parties, overruling Bolsonaro, and ordered the data to be restored.
After spending the rest of June continuing to downplay the virus and scuttling preventative measures, such as vetoing elements of a mandatory mask law passed by the lower house, on July 7, 2020, Bolsonaro tested positive for COVID-19.
By late March 2021, total official COVID-19 deaths in Brazil rose above 300,000, and Brazil had the highest amount of deaths from COVID-19 per day in the world. The total death count in Brazil at this time was only exceeded by the United States, who had just begun a mass vaccination campaign without any supply constraints. The vaccination rollout in Brazil, in contrast, was proceeding very slowly, with the rollout constrained by the policies of Bolsonaro. Intensive care occupancy in Brazil was at 80% or above in all but two of Brazil's 27 states. Despite a new more transmissible variant called "P.1" taking hold in Brazil, Bolsonaro was still downplaying the virus, arresting critics and protesters of his policy failure, and suing state governments who wished to impose COVID-19 lockdowns. Experts warned that the out of control pandemic, and Bolsonaro's inability to even try to manage the pandemic, made it far more possible that new potentially more transmissible or deadly variants would emerge. This made Brazil, and the failure of Bolsonaro's leadership on COVID-19, a threat to global health.
It's better to just let people die rather than stop gathering to worship the Lord
By its very nature, a religious service (multiple people gathering indoors in close quarters, often involving singing or other forms of vocal expression) offers conditions which are ripe for COVID-19 to spread rapidly. As such, COVID-19 has exacerbated the rift between faiths that respect the laboratory, and faiths that openly defy science. While a large proportion of religious institutions have complied with lock-downs and quarantines, some — particularly fundamentalist or evangelical sects that have naturally been hostile to scientific thought — have engaged in open defiance against these orders.
Inevitably, some of these religious gatherings have ended up as the source of a major viral outbreak. It is noteworthy, however, that since the stay-at-home orders in the United States, churchgoing has become the exception rather than the rule, even on Easter.
Some world leaders have preferred to rely on religious tropes instead of taking necessary quarantine action. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a leader strongly aligned with the Brazilian evangelical community, who as noted above has defiantly resisted calls for a lockdown, decided that a national day of fasting and prayer was the best course of action for combating the virus. Tanzanian president John Magufuli defended his decision to keep places of worship open by stating that "corona is the devil and it cannot survive in the body of Jesus."
(As proof that Magufuli's proclamation isn't quite the case, and the very nature of a church gathering actually makes it more risky than many other scenarios, major viral outbreaks tied to religious gatherings include 2,500 cases tied to a gathering of the large Christian Open Door Church in France in mid-February 2020, a church gathering in Arkansas that caused at least 34 direct cases of COVID-19 and multiple additional cases when COVID-19 infections spilled over into the surrounding community,a church service in Frankfurt that resulted in more than 100 COVID-19 infections, and a choir practice in Washington state where 47 of the 60 people who attended were infected by COVID-19.)
A prominent example of a major COVID outbreak tied to a defiant religious group is the secretive sect Shincheonji in South Korea, which continued to host worship sessions after several of its members caught the virus and failed to inform health authorities of the outbreak by submitting falsified lists of its members. So far, over 60% of reported cases in South Korea are linked with Shincheonji, and Korean authorities are currently seeking murder and wrongful death charges against the sect.
In Israel, the Haredim make up 12% of Israel's population — but they account for as much as 60% of Israel's COVID-19 cases. While Israel is generally viewed as reacting swiftly to the virus, the ultra-Orthodox community initially resisted social distancing measures, especially regarding the closure of synagogues and religious schools. This has resulted in increased tension between the Haredim community (who have a special status in Israeli law that allows them to avoid the otherwise mandatory military draft, among other privileges) and the rest of the Israeli public. A prominent member of Benjamin Netanyahu's government, health minister Yaakov Litzman (who is ultra-Orthodox), tested positive for COVID-19 on April 2, 2020. Some reports suggest that Litzman flouted social distancing rules by taking part in illicit group prayers, an accusation he denies.
As noted above, Tanzania president John Magufuli engaged in tepid preventative measures with COVID-19 compared to other African nations, keeping all places of worship open, and preferring to fight the virus by engaging in unhelpful measures such as declaring days of national prayer and promoting a herbal tonic placebo as a cure. Of course, any journalist that tries to do any real reporting on COVID-19 is cracked down upon. Other African countries engaged in lockdowns and social distancing, and saw declining cases as a result. Unsurprisingly in contrast, by May 2020, Tanzania had the highest number of cases in the region, and this is even before the large possibility that cases are being under-tested and under-reported due to the opaque nature of the Tanzania government. (Even the cause of death of three MPs in 11 days in April 2020 was kept hidden from the public, causing rumors to fly speculating that all 3 died of COVID-19.)
In February 2021, information on COVID-19 was still being suppressed by the Tanzanian government, who continued to insist there was no local transmission of the disease. Hospital data however showed an increase of patients being admitted with "breathing challenges", leading to suspicions that Tanzania is concealing a COVID-19 epidemic.
In March 2021, it was a reported that "an African leader" was being treated for COVID-19 in Nairobi, leading many to speculate it was Magufuli, who had not been seen in public since February. Later that month, Magfuli died. The official cause of death was "heart problems". Some opposition leaders in Tanzania however believe that the real cause of death was COVID-19. Before Magufuli was hospitalized, reportedly some aides of Magufuli contracted COVID-19, and Tanzanian finance minister Philip Mpango coughed and gasped for air (blaming "pneumonia") at a press conference whose aim was to announce that he was in good health.
In America, one of the more prominent examples of a religious leader defying lockdown orders is Rodney Howard-Browne of The River At Tampa Bay Church in Tampa, Florida (a preacher who is heavily aligned with the conspiracy theory crowd, to the point wherein 2018 he appeared on Infowars and gave Alex Jones the gift of a handgun to show that Jones was "protected by God"). Howard-Browne earned national attention by getting arrested for repeatedly refusing to comply with lockdown orders. Howard-Browne, who believed in the bullshit that COVID-19 was a bioweapon created by Bill and Melinda Gates to complete a socialist takeover of the US government and kill off people with vaccines, closed the church after this arrest — not because of the virus, but because he wanted to protect the church from "a tyrannical government".
Louisiana has another prominent example of a religious leader defying lockdown orders, Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge. Spell has compared lockdown orders to "tyranny", believes the pandemic is "politically motivated", and continues to intend to violate the law (drawing six misdemeanor citations in the process). In a TMZ interview, Spell claimed that "true Christians do not mind dying, they fear living in fear", judged that "people that can prefer tyranny over freedom do not deserve freedom", claimed that the "only vent that (people) have for their emotions is coming to the house of God and worshiping, like free people." and brushed off any deaths that might result from his foolish defiance with the notion that they "died like free people". Of course, worshiping remotely was out of the question. As of April 16, 2020, one member of his church has reportedly died from COVID-19, although Spell denied that this was the cause of death (never mind what the coroner report said). Later, on April 20th 2020, Spell was issued an arrest warrant for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — as earlier he showed his Christian spirit by rapidly backing up a church bus into the direction of a person protesting in front of his church, stopping just short of hitting him.
Another prominent example in America is Liberty University — at a time when most college campuses locked down due to the virus, Jerry Falwell Jr. chose to keep the campuses open, believing that the COVID-19 quarantines were an "over-reaction" driven by a desire to harm Donald Trump. Unsurprisingly, Liberty University has been the source for many new infections of COVID-19, with at least a dozen students and several employees falling ill from the virus. Falwell Jr.'s reaction to this has been to criticize the reporting of his stupidity, ironically comparing the media to Nazis and suing two reporters for "trespassing". (A Liberty University student countered by suing Liberty University and Falwell Jr. for "placing students at severe physical risk".)
In one case, a preacher, Gerald Glenn, "firmly believe(d) that God is larger than this dreaded virus". Under this delusion, he defied lockdown orders on March 22 2020, holding a service and vowed to preach "unless I'm in jail or the hospital". He ended up catching the virus, and passed away on April 11, 2020.
In Ukraine, an Orthodox church (Kyiv Pechersk Lavra) also initially defied quarantine orders, with monastery head Metropolitan Pavel stating that "the most terrible epidemic is the sin that destroys human nature" and encouraging everyone to "hurry to church". This church has emerged as a hotspot for the viral infection in Ukraine, with 140 monks reportedly testing positive for the virus.
China's government uses many authoritarian tactics — strict secrecy, media censorship, and the like — to promote "stability" and slavish adherence to central authority. When the disease first started showing up as early as December 8, 2019, the Wuhan government ordered all government agencies to act like everything was "normal". On December 30, eight doctors in Wuhan, including Li Wenliang, expressed concern about the spreading sickness but they were reprimanded by the local government for 'spreading rumors'. President Xi Jinping said on January 7, 2020 that he was aware of the virus, but from January 12-17 the annual Communist Party meetings were held, and a huge potluck supper for 40,000 families was held on January 18, during which time the Wuhan city health department issued a statement that no new cases were detected. On January 14, Ma Xiaowei, the head of China's National Health Commission, reported in a confidential session that the situation was "severe and complex" and that "the risk of transmission and spread is high. All localities must prepare for and respond to a pandemic." In response to this, however, the National Health Commission however issued a 63-page document of pandemic response procedures that were labeled "internal" and "not to be publicly disclosed". The confidentiality of the document enabled Li Qun, head of China’s disease control emergency center, to contradict the report on state television by saying "the risk of sustained human-to-human transmission is low". President Xi did not warn the public until January 20, 53 days after the virus disease was first detected in Wuhan.
This delayed public discovery about the virus for 40 days, probably causing the pandemic to be much worse than if China had a free press. One doctor, Li Wenliang, who attempted to raise the alarm about the new coronavirus, was actually punished for "spreading false rumours".[note 15] Wenliang died from the coronavirus on February 7th, 2020, causing widespread outrage on Chinese social media, actually threatening to overwhelm Chinese social media censors for a time.
Since then, China has been proud to show images in official media coverage that they are fighting the virus. (However, some of the images that they show are not what they claim to be). Of course, they remain dedicated to censoring any *unofficial* viewpoints in social media. China is happy to flood social media with the "official viewpoint" that the outbreak is under control and we all shall be returning to work soon, citizens! In reality, China's clumsy, slow reaction to COVID-19 (a reaction which was aggravated by the increasingly authoritarian government of Xi Jinping, and the consequential "authoritarian blindness" that tends to result in these systems due to being advised solely by "yes men") has severely weakened the Chinese government credibility among many Chinese, in spite of the heavy propaganda machine. Chinese media has attempted to cover up what happened by portraying President Xi as a "hero who vanquished the virus", and that China's system (of authoritarian control) should be emulated.
“”Trump (yelling into the phone): Testing is killing me! I’m going to lose the election because of testing! What idiot had the federal government do testing?
Alex Azar (then-Health and Human Services Secretary): Uh, do you mean Jared? [referring to Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law]
The Trump Administration ignored the National Security Council playbook on fighting pandemics that the Bush and Obama Administrations left behind after leaving office. The Trump Administration and its enablers also denied that such a playbook existed and blamed the Obama administration for not preparing one.
Trump is evidentially more concerned about how the virus will affect his approval rating than anything else, even to the point of opposing government-sponsored COVID testing (i.e., if we can't see it, it doesn't exist). Seemingly taking a cue from Limbaugh above, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, at a CPAC conference, blamed the media for exaggerating the seriousness of COVID-19 because "they think this will bring down the president, that’s what this is all about." He also bizarrely compared COVID-19 as equal to influenza just as Limbaugh did.
Donald Trump Jr. also added to the pile of conservatives politicizing the virus by accusing Democrats of rooting for the virus to kill "millions of people" solely for political purposes.
The official truth
Trump ordered all government official statements about COVID-19 to be funneled exclusively through a new panel led by Vice President Mike Pence — a man who once proclaimed in 2001 that "smoking doesn't kill", ignoring the scientific consensus (solid since the 1960s) that tobacco smoking is deadly.[note 16] Letting someone like, say, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease director Anthony Fauci speak freely about COVID-19 is absolutely verboten.
Nothing is wrong!
And taking a page from the Chinese government's playbook, a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) whistleblower was reassigned from her position after raising concerns about HHS staff being in contact with coronavirus evacuees without proper protective equipment. A few months later, Captain Brett Crozier, commander of the USS Roosevelt, was fired for sounding the alarm on the spread of COVID-19 on his ship.
Tweet of Fortune
In summer 2020, the COVID-19 cases severely increased in the United States, particularly spiking in states such as Florida which pushed for an early opening (in many cases like Florida, without a statewide mask policy or other social distancing measures). Fauci stepped up criticism of America's response to the pandemic, bluntly stating that the national response had gone awry. In response, Trump reacted as he usually does to any criticism by sidelining Fauci, scuttling some of his planned TV appearances, and having White House officials tell the media that they are "concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things". Reportedly, Trump was annoyed by his public statements (presumably for being accurate and frank instead of Trump propaganda), and the "good press" Fauci was receiving for actually having medical sense. On Twitter, Trump preferred to retweet the medical advice of Chuck Woolery, who used medical expertise gained from his Wheel of Fortune hosting days to tweet that "Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors"
Egypt's military-dominated government has been widely criticized for a response that has imposed dire economic hardships on ordinary Egyptians without effectively containing the spread, and bullying scientists and the media into accepting the state-approved statistics on infections and deaths. After a team of Canadian scientists published a report estimating that over 19,000 Egyptians had become infected (at a time when the authorities were admitting to only three cases), the Egyptian government retaliated against German journalist Ruth Michaelson, who reported the story, by revoking her press credentials and trying to imprison her (she escaped on one of the last flights out of Egypt after the German embassy tipped her off). The government's opaque behavior, combined with the sudden disruption to daily life, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's unannounced two-week disappearance, and an admission that two senior generals had died of the virus led to an entirely predictable public panic.
Suspicions that the government was misleading the public about the outbreak's severity were confirmed when an anonymous, high-ranking military officer tipped the press off that the state was deliberately manipulating data on disease prevalence. Tricks included withholding tests, falsifying causes of death on victims' autopsy reports, and not reporting cases within the military.
Many countries in 2020 that were either fully authoritarian or drifting in this direction, have used COVID-19 as an excuse to tighten the reins. Pandemics naturally cause some restrictive responses and policies that normally would be unthinkable during normal times (such as quarantines to help slow the spread of disease), but authoritarian governments used the virus as an excuse to consolidate power in government, and implement restrictive policies well in excess of what is necessary to control the disease.
In Israel in March 2020, Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of emergency (conveniently closing courts that were due to hear his own corruption trial) and started implementing mass surveillance of citizens via cell phones. Hungary's parliament voted to cancel elections, suspend its own legislative power, and grant Prime Minister Viktor Orban the right to rule by decree indefinitely, as well as enhancing information suppression methods. Leaders of other countries, such as Serbia, Cambodia and Togo have followed suit in making their country effectively one-leader-rule (in some cases, allegedly temporarily, but the fear among human rights groups is that it very possible that these new arrangements will be permanent). The leader of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, warned that he might have to purge the nation of "enemies". Nations such as Cambodia, Chile, Jordan, Thailand, El Salvador, and Russia used COVID-19 to enhance measures to crack down on dissent and suppress inconvenient political protest. Tensions between China and Hong Kong rose after prominent pro-democracy activists were arrested on April 18, 2020, violating the island's Basic Law which protects Hong Kong's freedoms.
The increasing authoritarianism in the world could be good news... for the virus. In the June 6th 2020 edition of The Economist, the magazine performed an analysis of past epidemics comparing authoritarian governments to democracies (using a definition of a "democracy" where most people can vote in free and fair elections). Using epidemic deaths per capita, they found that the lowest death rates tended to be in places where most people could vote in free and fair elections. Although a thorough analysis in this manner could not be performed on COVID-19 yet due to the virus still being an active pandemic at the time, The Economist noted that an Oxford University working paper was able to use Google's index of mobility to estimate the effectiveness of lockdown measures. Democracies overall had a larger reduction in movement in response to lockdown policies, even after accounting for national wealth and other factors.
COVID-19 was also convenient for governments known for harassing minority groups. Uganda used "social distancing" as an excuse to crack down on LGBT people. China used the pandemic as a veil for enhancing their repression of the Uyghurs, and also seemed to be looking for just about anyone to blame, accusing and discriminating against African port workers in the city of Guangdong, evicting them from their accommodation and depriving them of basic resources in May 2020. India's Hindu nationalists — including some of those in power aligned with the Bharatiya Janata Party — blamed Muslims for the disease, causing increased violence against India's Muslim minority population. Even in the United States, Donald Trump couldn't help playing with one of his favorite boogeymen, immigrants — ordering certain classes of new immigration to be suspended despite there being no scientific reason to do so.
Somehow, the most ridiculous example of this comes from Venezuela (because where else?) where catching the coronavirus is now a crime. Nicolás Maduro (because who else?) has cracked down heavily on anybody who has committed the heinous crime of catching the virus. Returning migrant workers have gotten the brunt of this, being accused by Maduro of being part of a bizarre conspiracy to infect all of Venezuela with COVID-19 to bring down his Government Yes, we wish we were joking too.
Actual death toll
A rigorous (but not peer-reviewed) first analysis of actual death counts from COVID, as opposed to official death counts has been published covering the first year of the pandemic (March 2020-April 2021). The analysis was based on comparing excess mortality during the pandemic year vs. expected mortality. During this period, the total worldwide COVID-related deaths was estimated to be 6.93 million vs. the official tally of 3.24 million.
The United States had the highest total estimated COVID deaths of any country, 905,289 (vs. 574,043 reported). India was second with 654,395 estimated deaths, but the time period preceded India's catastrophic second wave.
The highest estimated death rates per 100,000 population however were overwhelmingly among former Eastern Bloc countries (18 of the top 20) with the addition of Mexico (493.9) and Peru (434.7). The former Eastern Bloc countries' estimated death rates were: Azerbaijan (648.8), Bosnia and Herzegovina (587.2), Bulgaria (544.5), Albania (525.7), North Macedonia (467.9), Belarus (459.6), Romania (455.6), Kazakhstan (444.2), Slovakia (427.6), Russian Federation (404.6), Lithuania (395.1), Poland (389.9), Czechia (386.8), Hungary (386.7), Moldova (377.6), Montenegro (338.1), Ukraine (314.5), and Latvia (312.6).
The US partisan divide
Two studies of COVID death rate differences between Republicans and Democrats found that Republicans were more likely to die than Democrats, mainly due to Republicans being less likely to be vaccinated. but also likely behavior differences such as being less likely to wear a mask or engage in social distancing. The first study found a correlation between higher COVID deaths in counties that voted for Trump vs. those that voted for Biden. That study also found that counties that voted for Trump at the highest rates also had the highest COVID death rates. A more precise analysis was conducted in 2022 that matched COVID deaths with 2017 political party affiliation in Florida and Ohio, showing that the finding held up on an individual basis, and that the difference continues to persist as late as December 2021 when the study data ended. The largest difference was in December 2021.
There has been vocal opposition to vaccine mandates for COVID, typically from anti-vaxxers, and Republicans looking to score points with their political bases (former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Senator Ted Cruz).
But mandates are:
- Legal in the United States, based on for example the statutory ability of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to regulate workplace safety, and employers' contractual ability to fire workers for cause
- Evidentially effective in coercing holdouts to get vaccinated, based on recent studies
Evidence that mandates are effective are that after mandates were announced vaccination rates went up to 98.5% among 67,000 United Airlines employees, the New York State hospital system employees want from 3/4 to 92%, Tyson Foods employees went from 50% to 80%. An argument can be made that if one is working in the public service sector where was interacting with the public (e.g., hospitals, police, and fire fighters) but refuses a safe vaccine then one is not actually acting in the service of the public.
- COVID-19 denialism
- COVID-19 vaccine
- Face masks
- Great Barrington Declaration, a pseudoscientific proposal for dealing with the pandemic
- Coronavirus chart — Live, interactive infection and fatality chart
- COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic — Worldometer
- The COVID Tracking Project
- Myth busters — World Health Organization
- COVID-19 Fact Check
- See the Wikipedia article on COVID-19 pandemic.
- See the Wikipedia article on List of unproven methods against COVID-19.
- The WHO never declared that it was no longer a pandemic, as they do not officially declare the end of pandemics.
- The word ‘coronavirus’ refers to viruses that are members of the Subfamily Orthocoronavirinae
- † cf. Influenza symptoms:
- The name ‘Sputnik V’ is interchangeable with the name ‘Gam-COVID-Vac’, since both names denote the same vaccine.
- In case you're thinking about it, UVC light is not something you want to try at home to help clean surfaces and objects of viruses and bacteria, as concentrated UVC light is extremely dangerous to all lifeforms, including humans.
- The Wuhan Institute of Virology studied RaTG13, and in 2017 warned about the risk of coronaviruses from bats similar to the old SARS virus being able to cause pandemics in the future. The difference between the RaTG13 virus they studied and the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus that later spread however roughly corresponds to 50 years of mutations at an average rate.
- short for "Chinese communist"
- Bizarrely, Limbaugh also ranted about fentanyl, declaring that the Russians had (in his mind) similarly "weaponized" it, citing the 2002 Moscow hostage theater crisis as proof. The general consensus is that much (although not all) of the fentanyl that came into the United States during the 2010s opioid epidemic actually came from China. That being said, his description in the program of what it is actually like to take an opioid is noteworthy given his personal experience.
- In an analysis of the two dominant primetime Fox News hosts, the University of Chicago was actually able to detect a higher mortality rate among viewers of Sean Hannity, who downplayed the virus until late February 2020, compared to Tucker Carlson, who took the virus more seriously early on.
- Ironically, the conspiracy theorists who are concerned about vaccines implementing some sort of tracking, might actually be utilizing technologies where tracking data is collected (and there is legitimate concerns over the misuse of this data) to spread this conspiracy theory misinformation. This includes cellular networks as a whole and the massive amount of data collected by large social networks like Facebook and the Google-owned YouTube.
- Chloroquine is a synonym for chloroquine phosphate.
- The FAA has historical data online for unruly passenger investigations, but unfortunately not for unruly passenger incidents. Though cause is not reported online for incidents, we can use the reported investigations numbers to compare if there has been an uptick in unruly passenger behavior compared to previous years. It turns out that the number of investigations in 2021, 755 as of September 14, is way over 2019 and 2020 numbers (146 and 183 respectively) and easily beats the previous record holder of 310 investigations in 2004. This despite there being three plus months left in the year.
- In America, school budgets are largely determined by local property taxes; see the Wikipedia article on public school funding in the United States for details
- Although without an accurate understanding of the pathology of the newly discovered disease, and absent of a robust and independent reporting system, there is little Dr. Li could do as an individual.
- Ironic considering COVID-19's threat to smokers in particular.
- How to prepare for coronavirus in the U.S. (Spoiler: Not sick? No need to wear a mask.) by Reis Thebault & Alex Horton (Feb. 26, 2020 at 9:58 a.m. PST) The Washington Post.
- A controversial televangelist actually attempted to heal people with coronavirus through their televisions
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“In December, 2019, a series of pneumonia cases of unknown cause emerged in Wuhan, Hubei, China, with clinical presentations greatly resembling viral pneumonia. Deep sequencing analysis from lower respiratory tract samples indicated a novel coronavirus, which was named 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).” […] “Of 59 suspected cases, 41 patients were confirmed to be infected with 2019-nCoV.”
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-  COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University
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- "WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard", archived on September 14, 2021
- CITATION NEEDED
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- WHO chief declares end to COVID-19 as a global health emergency
- ‘It’s still killing and it’s still changing.’ Ending COVID-19 states of emergency sparks debate
- I call it the pathological irony of crisis (happens w/financial crises, too): if you lose your credibility, your statements begin to mean the opposite of what you say. by Austan Goolsbee (5:28 AM - 4 Feb 2020) Twitter (archived from February 5, 2020).
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- , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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- “Coagulase Negative Staphylococcus—An Overview”, Science Direct
“S. aureus and CoNS are notable causes of acute IE following cardiac surgery (typically <60 days) and in the presence of prosthetic valves, endovascular materials, or indwelling vascular catheters.”
- Ripa, M., Galli, L., Poli, A., Oltolini, C., Spagnuolo, V., Mastrangelo, A., Muccini, C., Monti, G., De Luca, G., Landoni, G. and Dagna, L., 2021. “Secondary infections in patients hospitalized with COVID-19: incidence and predictive factors.” Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 27(3), pp.451-457.
“Most of the BSIs were due to Gram-positive pathogens (76/106 isolates, 71.7%), specifically coagulase-negative staphylococci (53/76, 69.7%) […]”.
- Thomas M. Bashore, CHAPTER 22 - Infective Endocarditis, Editor(s): Catherine M. Otto, Robert O. Bonow, “Valvular Heart Disease: A Companion to Braunwald's Heart Disease (Third Edition)”, W.B. Saunders, 2009, Pages 356-382; doi:10.1016/B978-1-4160-5892-2.00022-2.
- “Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) are a common cause of early PVE.”
- “S. epidermidis predominates as a cause of IE.”
- “Native valve IE caused by CoNS is uncommon”.
- You're Likely to Get the Coronavirus - The Atlantic, which we hope is wrong about this one
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- Rajendran, Dinesh Kumar; Rajagopal, Varthini; Alagumanian, S.; Kumar, T. Santhosh; Prabhakaran, S. P. Sathiya; Kasilingam, Dharun (11 June 2020). "Systematic literature review on novel corona virus SARS-CoV-2: a threat to human era". Virusdisease: 1-13. doi:10.1007/s13337-020-00604-z. PMC PMC7288266. Retrieved 30 June 2020. "[...] the mortality rate of SARS-CoV-2 [...] across different regions might not be as serious as Black death which killed around 75 million people in the fourteenth century and Influenza which resulted in 50 million death in 1918 [...], but if proper precautions are not taken there might be a greater chance of SARS-CoV-2 becoming the most devasting pandemic disease of the twenty-first century."
- Coronavirus: What are the chances of dying? by Robert Cuffe, BBC News, 2020 March 24
- Age, Sex, Existing Conditions of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths, Worldometer
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- Q&A: How to Find Reliable Information About Coronavirus - wikiHow
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- Kerry Cassidy has a theory - The Emoluments of Mars
- "There’s only one type of UV that can reliably inactivate Covid-19 – and it’s extremely dangerous." by Zaria Gorvett, BBC, 2020 March 27
- Conspiracy theorists burn 5G towers falsely claiming link to virus by Kelvin Chan et al. (Updated 10:53 am PDT, Tuesday, April 21, 2020) San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Marshall Project (February 5, 2021). "A State-by-State Look at Coronavirus in Prisons". Accessed February 9, 2021.
- "Burning Cell Towers, Out of Baseless Fear They Spread the Virus" By Adam Satariano and Davey Alba, New York Times, 2020 April 10
- "All the Celebrities who are Worried About The Side Effects of Using 5G and What They've Said About It" by Jorge Solis, Newsweek, 2020 April 13
- "Revolting footage shows Chinese woman eating a whole bat at a fancy restaurant as scientists link the deadly coronavirus to the flying mammals" by Billie Thomson, Daily Mail 2020 January 23
- "Don’t Blame Bat Soup for the Wuhan Virus" by James Palmer, Foreign Policy, 2020 January 27
- "Bat soup in Palau is pretty intense" by Master Blaster, SoraNews24
- "Chinese influencer Wang Mengyun, aka ‘Bat soup girl’ breaks silence" by Marnie O'Neill, News.com.au, 2020 February 7
- "'This is not the bat’s fault': A disease expert explains where the coronavirus likely comes from" Vox '
- "Scientists 'strongly condemn' rumors and conspiracy theories about origin of coronavirus outbreak" by Jon Cohen, Science, 2020 February 19
- Wuhan lab says there's no way coronavirus originated there. Here's the science. by Jeanna Bryner (April 18, 2020)
- Andersen, K., Rambaut, A., Lipkin, W., Holmes, E., & Garry, R. (2020). The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2. Retrieved 12 March 2020, from http://virological.org/t/the-proximal-origin-of-sars-cov-2/398
- The coronavirus was not engineered in a lab. Here's how we know. by Jeanna Bryner (March 21, 2020)Live Science
- How we know the COVID-19 coronavirus wasn't made in a lab by Bob Hunt, Justin Gmoser, Victoria Barranco (June 12, 2020, 23:34 IST)Business Insider
- Is the new coronavirus man-made or just a result of evolution? (May 02, 2020 20:34:14 IST)First Post
- The new coronavirus was not man-made, study shows by Ana Sandoiu (March 20, 2020)
- Was the New Coronavirus Accidentally Released from a Wuhan Lab? by MICHAEL ABRAMOWICZ (5.6.2020 4:47 PM)reason
- How Does the New Coronavirus Compare with the Flu? by Rachael Rettner, Scientific American
- "Japan government says another two officials infected with coronavirus, confirms two deaths" Reuters
- "Iran's vice president and two ministers stricken by coronavirus" Aljazeera
- "Staffer in U.S. senator's office tests positive for coronavirus" Reuters
- COVID-19, SARS and Bats Coronaviruses Genomes Peculiar Homologous RNA Sequences by Jean Claude Perez & Luc Montagnier (2020) International Journal of Research -GRANTHAALAYAH 8(7):217–263. doi:10.29121/granthaalayah.v8.i7.2020.678.
- The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2 by Kristian G. Andersen et al. (2020) Nature Medicine 26:450–452. doi:10.1038/s41591-020-0820-9.
- French Nobel prize winner: ‘Covid-19 was made in lab’: A controversial French Nobel prize-winning scientist has accused biologists of having created SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes Covid-19 - in a lab, but the wider scientific community has so far refuted the claim (3 March 2021 13:55) The Connexion.
- The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2 by Kristian G. Andersen et al. (2020) Nature Medicine 26:450–452. doi:10.1038/s41591-020-0820-9.
- "House Republicans Accidentally Released a Trove of Damning Covid Documents ", The Intercept, 2023-07-12
- "Scientists, Under Fire From Republicans, Defend Fauci and Covid Origins Study", The New York Times, 2023-07-12
- "Why They're Called 'Wet Markets' — And What Health Risks They Might Pose" by Jason Beaubien, NPR, 2020 January 31
- "The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus" by Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao, February 2020, archived at archive.org on 14 February 2020
- "Did coronavirus originate in Chinese government laboratory? Scientists believe killer disease may have begun in research facility 300 yards from Wuhan wet fish market" by Ross Ibbetson, Daily Mail, 2020 February 16
- "Coronavirus may have actually started in secret Wuhan lab just 280m from wet market" by Tiffany Lo, Daily Mirror, 2020 February 16
- "GOP Senator Tom Cotton Suggests Coronavirus Could've Come From Wuhan 'Super Lab', Not Seafood Market: China's 'Still Lying Today'" by Christina Zhao, Newsweek, 2020 February 16
- "Is This The Man Behind The Global Coronavirus Pandemic?" by "Tyler Durden", Zero Hedge, 2020 January 29
- "Zero Hedge Permanently Suspended From Twitter for ‘Harassment’" by Siraj Datoo, Bloomberg, 2020 January 31
- "China coronavirus: Misinformation spreads online about origin and scale" by BBC Monitoring, BBC News, 2020 January 30
- "A Pro-Trump Blog Doxed A Chinese Scientist It Falsely Accused Of Creating The Coronavirus As A Bioweapon" by Ryan Broderick, Buzzfeed News, 2020 January 31
- "Study of 72,000 COVID-19 patients finds 2.3% death rate" by Stephanie Soucheray, CIDRAP News, 2020 February 24
- "How does the new coronavirus compare with the flu?" by Rachael Rettner, Livescience.com, 2020 February 19
- "Overhyped Coronavirus Weaponized Against Trump", RushLimbaugh.com, 24 February 2020, archived on 25 February 25
- "China Cracks Down on Fentanyl. But Is It Enough to End the U.S. Epidemic?" by Steven Lee Meyers, New York Times, 2019 December 1
- "How Trump and his Fox News allies are infecting the public trust amid coronavirus concerns" by Oliver Darcy, CNN Business, 2020 February 28
- "How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory" by Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone, 2011 May 25
- "Fox News Is Preparing to Be Sued Over Coronavirus Misinformation" by Caleb Ecarma, Vanity Fair, 2020 April 6
- [https://bfi.uchicago.edu/working-paper/2020-44/ "Misinformation During a Pandemic" by Leonardo Bursztyn, Aakaash Rao, Christopher Roth, David Yanagizawa-Drott, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics, University of Chicago, 2020 April 19
- "The next outbreak? We're not ready" by Bill Gates, Ted.com, March 2015
- "The Gates Foundation is spending $100 million to fight the coronavirus outbreak. Bill Gates has warned about a pandemic for years." by Holly Secon, Business Insider, 2020 February 5
- "Bill Gates hikes coronavirus contribution after bashing Trump for defunding WHO" by Quint Forgey, Politico, 2020 April 16
- "Bill Gates’s efforts to fight coronavirus, explained" by Kelsey Piper, Vox.com, 2020 May 4
- "Did Bill Gates ‘Admit’ Vaccinations Are Designed So Governments Can ‘Depopulate’ the World?" by Alex Kasprak, Snopes, 2017 March 10
- "Bill Gates, at Odds With Trump on Virus, Becomes a Right-Wing Target" by Daisuke Wakabayashi, Davey Alba and Marc Tracy, New York Times, 2020 April 17
- "US Patent for Coronavirus Patent (Patent # 10,130,701)", Patents.Justia.com, 2015 Jul 23
- "QAnon Supporters And Anti-Vaxxers Are Spreading A Hoax That Bill Gates Created The Coronavirus" by Ryan Broderick, Buzzfeed News, 2020 January 23
- Bill Gates funded the PIRBRIGHT institute, which owns the patent on coronavirus by Ethan Huff (27 January 2020) NaturalNews (archived from 28 Jan 2020 19:23:32 UTC).
- Event 201 homepage, John Hopkins Center for Health Security
- "New Coronavirus Wasn’t ‘Predicted’ In Simulation" by Angelo Fichera, FactCheck.org, 2020 January 29
- "BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION & OTHERS PREDICTED UP TO 65 MILLION DEATHS VIA CORONAVIRUS – IN SIMULATION RAN 3 MONTHS AGO!" by Kelen McBreen, Infowars.com, 2020 January 24
- "Alex Jones' unhinged conspiracy theories about Bill Gates and the coronavirus" by Timothy Johnson, Media Matters, 2020 April 5
- "The Nazi Origins of a Bill Gates backed shutdown", Infowars.com, 27 April 2020, archive on 28 Apr 2020
- "Bill Gates' Plan to Chip the World Explained", Infowars.com, 2020 May 18
- "New Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows coronavirus conspiracy theories spreading on the right may hamper vaccine efforts" by Andrew Romano, Yahoo News, 2020 May 22
- Sara Cunial Facebook, post on 2020 May 14, archived on 2020 May 19
- Electronic Frontier Foundation, cell tracking section
- "All the Ways Facebook Tracks You—and How to Limit It" by David Nield, Wired, 2020 January 12
- "All the Ways Google Tracks You—And How to Stop It" by David Nield, Wired, 2019 May 27
- "Facebook And YouTube Have Allowed Conspiracy Theorists To Turn Bill Gates Into The Pandemic's Villain" by Ryan Broderick, Buzzfeed News, 2020 May 22
- "Is Italy Calling for Bill Gates' Arrest?" by Dan Evon, Snopes, 2020 May 18
- Coronavirus Conservapedia (archived from March 10, 2020).
- Revision history of "Coronavirus" Conservapedia (archived from March 10, 2020).
- Coronavirus "This is an old revision of this page, as edited by Aschlafly (Talk | contribs) at 21:34, 27 February 2020. It may differ significantly from current revision." Conservapedia (archived from March 10, 2020).
- "Was Eminem Diagnosed with Coronavirus?" by Dan Evon, Snopes.com, February 7 2020
- "Can Popping Bubble Wrap from China Expose You to Coronavirus?" by David Mikkelson, Snopes.com, 2020 February 12
- "Did a Chinese Intelligence Officer Reveal the ‘Truth About the Coronavirus Outbreak’?" by Dan Evon, Snopes.Com, 2020 February 20
- "How covid-19 conspiracy theorists are exploiting YouTube culture: Covid-19 conspiracy theorists are still getting millions of views on YouTube, even as the platform cracks down on health misinformation." by Abby Ohlheiser, MIT Technology Review, 2020 May 7
- Mikki Willis,Biography, IMDB, archived on 2020 May 11
- "PolitiFact: Fact-checking ‘Plandemic,’ a documentary full of false conspiracy theories on the coronavirus", Tampa Bay Times
- "The anti-vaxx agenda of 'Plandemic'" by Derek Beres, Big Think, 2020 May 06
- "Who is Judy Mikovits in ‘Plandemic,’ the coronavirus conspiracy video just banned from social media?" by Katie Shepherd, Washington Post, 2020 May 8
- "Seen 'Plandemic'? We Take A Close Look At The Viral Conspiracy Video's Claims" by Scott Neuman, NPR, 2020 May 8
- "If Someone Shares the ‘Plandemic’ Video, How Should You Respond?" by Joe Pinsker, theatlantic.com, 2020 May 9
- Coronavirus: Russia denies spreading US conspiracy on social media. BBC, 23 February 2020.
- Jessica Glenza, Coronavirus: US says Russia behind disinformation campaign, The Guardian, 22 February 2020.
- Malaka Gharib, Fake Facts Are Flying About Coronavirus. Now There's A Plan To Debunk Them. NPR, 21 February 2020.
- "Coronavirus: How a misleading map went global" by Reality Check team, BBC News, 2020 February 19
- "Does Video Show Guns, Violence in Aftermath of Coronavirus Outbreak in China?" by Dan Evon, Snopes.com, 2020 February 14
- "Latest news re Coronavirus" Project Camelot, 20 February 2020, archived on 22 February 2020
- "Coronavirus in China: 23 Million QUARANTINED, 2.8 Million Infected; 112,000 DEAD", Hal Turner News Desk, archived on 2020 February 13
- Worldometer, COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak, archived on 2020 February 13
- Steve Bannon Is Behind Bogus Study That China Created COVID by Adam Rawnsley and Lachlan Markay. September 15, 2020
- Montgomery, J., et al. Myocarditis Following Immunization With mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines in Members of the US Military, JAMA Cardiology. June 29, 2021.
- Kime, Patricia. DoD Confirms: Rare Heart Inflammation Cases Linked to COVID-19 Vaccines, Military.com.
- 2397: I Just Don't Trust Them - explain xkcd
- "Colloidal Silver: Risk Without Benefit" by Stephen Barrett, M.D., Quackwatch
- "Colloidal silver has not been shown effective against new virus from China" by Beatrice Dupuy, AP News, 2020 February 14
- Silver Liquid - 10ppm Optivida Health (archived from February 22, 2020).
- "Bakker Still Sells Gel That He Says Cures Venereal Diseases (“All of Them!”)" by Hemant Mehta, Friendly Atheist, 2019 August 17
- "Disgraced Televangelist Jim Bakker Now Hawking Product That Claims to ‘Kill’ or ‘Deactivate’ Coronavirus, SARS, and HIV" by Reed Richardson, Mediate.com, 2020 February 15
- Matthew S. Schwartz, Missouri Sues Televangelist Jim Bakker For Selling Fake Coronavirus Cure. NPR, 11 March 2020.
- NY AG hits Jim Bakker with cease-and-desist order over alleged coronavirus cure. MSN, 9 March 2020.
- Noah Higgins-Dunn, FDA warns televangelist Jim Bakker and six others to stop selling fraudulent coronavirus products. Archived from the original at cnbc.com, 9 March 2020.
- Warning Letter: Free Speech Systems LLC d.b.a. Infowars.com MARCS-CMS 605802 (April 09, 2020) U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
- FDA warns Alex Jones to stop pitching bogus virus remedies by Matthew Perrone (April 10, 2020) AP.
- QAnon-ers’ Magic Cure for Coronavirus: Just Drink Bleach! by Will Sommer (Updated Jan. 28, 2020 12:32PM ET; Published Jan. 28, 2020 4:57AM ET) Daily Beast.
- "Bolivia's senate approved 'miracle mineral solution' — a toxic bleach with no medical use — as a treatment for COVID-19" by Tom Porter and Ruqayyah Moynihan, Business Insider, 2020 July 16
- "Bolivia's lawmakers have approved 'Miracle Mineral Solution' — a toxic bleach — as a treatment for COVID-19. Only the president can stop it becoming law" by Tom Porter, Business Insider, 2020 August 15
- "With Officials’ Backing, Dubious Virus Remedies Surge in Latin America" by María Silvia Trigo, Anatoly Kurmanaev and José María León Cabrera, New York Times, 2020 July 23
- "Catholic bishops want resignation of health minister, ask for approval of anti-viral treatment", Cuenca High Life, 2020 Jul 14
- "Obispos solicitan la renuncia del Ministro de Salud", Ecuavisa, 2020 9 Jul
- "Pandemic News", archived on 2020 February 11
- Naturalnews.com, archived on 2020 February 18
- "Clinical trials of intravenous vitamin C treatments for coronavirus commence in China" by Ethan Huff, Naturalnews.com, 2020 February 21, archived on 2020 February 21
- "South Korea says it’s successfully treating coronavirus patient with natural oxygen therapy" by Ethan Huff, Naturalnews.com, 2020 February 18, archived from the original on 2020 February 18
- "Alex Jones’ Infowars is attempting to profit from the coronavirus outbreak" by Timothy Johnson, Media Matters, 2020 February 29
- "Pandemic Survival: How to Survive the Outbreak", PDF, page 74
- "CNN, People Magazine and CNBC News sites faked to promote phony pandemic survival book" by the Avast Threat Intelligence Team, Avast blog, 2020 April 23
- "Chinese Media Is Selling Snake Oil to Fight the Wuhan Virus" by James Palmer, ForeignPolicy, 2020 February 3
- "Desperate for coronavirus solutions, Chinese turn to HIV drugs, gray market and traditional cures" by Roxanne Liu and Gabriel Crossley, Reuters World News, 2020 February 6
- "Advisory for Corona virus: Homoeopathy for Prevention of Corona virus Infections Unani Medicines useful in symptomatic management of Corona Virus infection", PIB Delhi, 2020 January 29
- "Indian Authorities Propose Use of Homeopathy to Prevent Coronavirus" by Alakananda Dasgupta, TheScientist, 2020 February 7
- "Madagascar’s president promotes unproven herbal cure for COVID-19" by Malavika Vyawahare, Mongabay, 2020 April 20
- "Coronavirus: Tanzanian president promises to import Madagascar's 'cure'", BBC News, 2020 May 4
- "Desperate Iranians are getting bad medical advice: Perfumes and fruit juice are not a cure for covid-19", Economist, 2020 April 18
- "Prophet's Perfume & Gourd Oil: Iran Warns Against Quackery, Islamic Medicine To Treat Coronavirus" by Golnaz Esfandiari, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, 2020 March 28
- AG James Orders CBD Company to Stop Marketing Products as Effective Coronavirus Treatments: Finest Herbalist Falsely Claims Product Successfully Cures/Treats COVID-19 (April 2, 2020) New York State Office of the Attorney General.
- Peter Jonathan Hanna Twitter (archived from 21 Apr 2020 04:32:22 UTC).
- I will upload a special long video today on my youtube channel called "Can cannabis kill the coronavirus?" by Peter Jonathan Hanna (6:42 AM - 19 Feb 2020) Twitter (archived from 21 Apr 2020 04:23:22 UTC).
- Sanctuary Family Vlog Ep 1: MY FAMILY HAS THE CORONAVIRUS! by Peter Jonathan Hanna (4:47 PM · Mar 13, 2020) Twitter (archived from 21 Apr 2020 04:35:23 UTC).
- COVID, Cannabis, and Quacks: No, Weed Does Not Cure the Virus by Dan Mitchell (April 15, 2020) East Bay Express.
- CANNABIS WILL PREVENT & CURE COVID19!!!!!!!.....commence the hate by Kyle Turley (4:02 PM - 29 Mar 2020) Twitter (archived from 31 Mar 2020 00:14:45 UTC).
- "Was This ‘Health Bulletin’ an Accurate Coronavirus Warning?" by Dan Macguill, Snopes.com, 2020 January 31
- Chiropractors falsely claim they can protect patients from coronavirus by Jann Bellamy, Science Based Medicine, 2020 March 12
- Coronavirus: Brian Tamaki blames Satanic airborne demons, drinking of bat's blood by John Weekes (16:20, Mar 01 2020) Stuff New Zealand.
- Conservative doctors were more likely to see hydroxychloroquine as effective by Philip Bump (February 6, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. EST) The Washington Post.
- See the Wikipedia article on Men in Black (1934 film).
- HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains - Thank You! Hopefully, they will BOTH (H works better with A, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents) … be put in use IMMEDIATELY. PEOPLE ARE DYING, MOVE FAST, and GOD BLESS EVERYONE! @US_FDA @SteveFDA @CDCgov @DHSgov by Donald Trump (7:13 AM - 21 Mar 2020) Twitter (archived from 21 Mar 2020 16:28:44 UTC).
- Trump Vs Fauci: President's Gut Sense Collides With Science: In a clash of gut instinct versus science, President Donald Trump and the government's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, publicly sparred over whether a malaria drug would work to treat people with coronavirus disease. (March 21, 2020, at 10:35 a.m.) Associated Press via U.S. News & World Report.
- Trump's eruption at an NBC reporter says it all about his alternate reality on coronavirus by Aaron Blake (March 21, 2020 at 10:32 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Fauci throws cold water on Trump's declaration that malaria drug chloroquine is a 'game changer': Fauci says chloroquine hasn't been studied on coronavirus. by Anne Flaherty & Jordyn Phelps (March 20, 2020, 2:22 PM) ABC News.
- Case Studies in Toxicology: Somehow… It's Always Lupus by Shannon Rickner & Lewis S. Nelson (2016) Emergency Medicine 48(11):493-495.
- Treating Lupus with Anti-Malarial Drugs Johns Hopkins Lupus Center.
- 'What do you have to lose?': Inside Trump’s embrace of a risky drug against coronavirus by Philip Rucker et al. (April 6, 2020 at 4:42 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Trump's aggressive advocacy of malaria drug for treating coronavirus divides medical community by Peter Baker et al. (Published 5:18 am PDT, Tuesday, April 7, 2020) The New York Times via SFGate.
- Trump’s promotion of hydroxychloroquine is almost certainly about politics, not profits: At least, not his profits by Philip Bump (April 7, 2020 at 8:24 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Cardiac Complications Attributed to Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine: A Systematic Review of the Literature by Clotilde Chatre et al. (2018) Drug Safety 41(10):919-931. doi:10.1007/s40264-018-0689-4.
- Azithromycin and Risk of Cardiovascular Death: A Meta-Analytic Review of Observational Studies by Aref A. Bin Abdulhak et al. (2005) Am. J. Ther. 22(5):e122-129. doi:10.1097/MJT.0000000000000138.
- Cardiac Risks Associated With Antibiotics: Azithromycin and Levofloxacin by Zhiqiang Kevin Lu (2015) Expert. Opin. Drug Saf. 14(2):295-303. 10.1517/14740338.2015.989210.
- Nigeria Has Chloroquine Poisonings After Trump Praised Drug by Alonso Soto (March 21, 2020, 7:51 AM PDT) Bloomberg.
- Banner Health experts warn against self-medicating to prevent or treat COVID-19 (March 23, 2020) Banner Health.
- See the Wikipedia article on Chloroquine.
- As Trump touts an unproven coronavirus treatment, supplies evaporate for patients who need those drugs by Christopher Rowland (March 23, 2020 at 11:02 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Surgeon General Immediately Warns Viewers Against Trying Malaria Drug Treatment For Coronavirus After Dr. Oz Tells Fox Viewers He's Testing It by Benjamin Fearnow (3/23/20 at 10:34 AM EDT) Newsweek.
- Thoughts on the Gautret et al. paper about Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin treatment of COVID-19 infections by Elizabeth Bik (March 24, 2020) Science Integrity Digest.
- Chloroquine genius Didier Raoult to save the world from COVID-19 by Leonid Schneider (March 26, 2020) For Better Science.
- Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19: Results of an open-label non-randomized clinical trial by Philippe Gautret et al. (2020) medRχiv preprint. doi:10.1101/2020.03.16.20037135.
- Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19: results of an open-label non-randomized clinical trial by Philippe Gautret et al. (2020) International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents doi:10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.105949.
- Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19: results of an open-label non-randomized clinical trial by Philippe Gautret et al. (2020) PubPeer. Note public comments.
- Les prédictions climatiques sont absurdes! Le professeur Didier Raoult déteste les prévisions sur le climat! Un site a même recensé 72 prédictions erronées émises depuis 121 ans. by Didier Raoult (2013) Le Point.
- Dépasser Darwin by Didier Raoult (2010) Plon. ISBN 2259211143.
- International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents: Official journal of the International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (archived from March 23, 2020).
- Statement on IJAA paper Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19: results of an open-label non-randomized clinical trial (Gautret P et al. PMID 32205204) (April 3rd-2020) International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents (archived from April 6, 2020).
- Hydroxychloroquine-COVID-19 study did not meet publishing society's "expected standard" by Adam Marcus (April 6, 2020) Retraction Watch.
- Hydroxychloroquine, a less toxic derivative of chloroquine, is effective in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro by Jia Liu et al. (2020) Cell Discovery 6, Article number: 16.
- Re: Request for Emergency Use Authorization For Use of Chloroquine Phosphate or Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate Supplied From the Strategic National Stockpile for Treatment of 2019 Coronavirus Disease by Denise M. Hinton (March 28, 2020) U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
- FDA authorizes widespread use of unproven drugs to treat coronavirus, saying possible benefit outweighs risk: Millions of doses of the anti-malarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine will be distributed to hospitals across the country to try to slow the disease in seriously ill patients. by Christopher Rowland (March 30, 2020 at 1:14 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Giuliani, a familiar voice in Trump’s ear, promotes experimental coronavirus treatments by Rosalind S. Helderman et al. (April 5, 2020 at 1:01 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Carl, 40, fick kramp och syn- problem av "coronamedicin" (4 apr 2020 kl 21.03) Expressen.
- Sweden stops treatment trial of #COVID19 with Chloroquine after some patients got severe side-effects such as seizure and vision impairment. by Saleem Javed (12:42 PM - 4 Apr 2020) Twitter (archived from April 4, 2020).
- Trump's push for risky malaria drugs disrupts coronavirus response: All this buzz is confusing the American public," said one senior Health and Human Services official involved in drug policy. by Sara Owermohle & Dan Diamond (03/27/2020 06:18 PM EDT) Politico.
- Outcomes of hydroxychloroquine usage in United States veterans hospitalized with Covid-19 by Joseph Magagnoli et al. (April 21, 2020) medRxiv doi:10.1101/2020.04.16.20065920.
- "Trump says he is taking hydroxychloroquine though health experts question its effectiveness" by By Nikki Carvajal and Kevin Liptak, CNN, 2020 May 19
- "Trump's physician explains hydroxychloroquine decision" by Rebecca Falconer and Ursula Perano, Axios, 2020 May 19
- "Alarm and Confusion at Fox News as Trump Says He Takes Hydroxychloroquine" by Robert Mackey, The Intercept, 2020 May 19
- A doctor claimed he had a ‘miracle cure’ for covid. He’s going to prison. by Jaclyn Peiser (May 31, 2022 at 5:17 a.m. EDT) The Washington Post.
- Hydroxychloroquine, a drug promoted by Trump, failed to prevent healthy people from getting covid-19 in trial: The University of Minnesota enrolled health-care workers and others exposed to the disease in the first randomized prevention study of the drug by Laurie McGinley & Ariana Eunjung Cha (June 3, 2020 at 12:05 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- A Randomized Trial of Hydroxychloroquine as Postexposure Prophylaxis for Covid-19 by David R. Boulware et al. (June 3, 2020) The New England Journal of Medicine doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2016638.
- Trump suggested studying injections of disinfectant to treat coronavirus, then said he was being sarcastic. Here's video and a transcript. by Deb Reichmann et al. (Apr 24, 2020 | 8:34 PM) AP via Chicago Tribune.
- "Trump asked if disinfectants could be injected to kill the coronavirus inside the body. Doctors answered: ‘People will die.’" by Allyson Chiu and Katie Shepherd, Washington Post, 2020 April 24
- "Coronavirus: Outcry after Trump suggests injecting disinfectant as treatment", BBC, 2020 April 24
- "Lysol maker issues warning against injections of disinfectant after Trump comments" by Marina Pitofsky, The Hill, 2020 April 24
- "While it’s nice to be trending on Twitter, we would like to remind you all that Zoflora is NOT for human consumption in any way, despite what certain world leaders may be suggesting", Twitter, @LoveZoflora, 2020 April 24
- "A fringe movement that claims bleach is a miracle cure is jubilant after Trump floated injecting disinfectant as a treatment for COVID-19" by Tom Porter, Business Insider, 2020 April 24
- Revealed: leader of group peddling bleach as coronavirus 'cure' wrote to Trump this week: Mark Grenon wrote to Trump saying chlorine dioxide 'can rid the body of Covid-19' days before the president promoted disinfectant as treatment by Ed Pilkington (24 Apr 2020 14.00 EDT) The Guardian.
- "US orders group to stop selling bleach 'miracle cure' for coronavirus" by Ed Pilkington, The Guardian, 2020 April 21
- See the Wikipedia article on My Pillow.
- "Tucker Carlson’s biggest advertiser, the MyPillow guy, doesn’t think Carlson needed to apologize for writer’s hate speech" by Jeremy Barr, Washington Post, 2020 July 14
- "My Pillow Chief Stands Behind Laura Ingraham and Other Fox News Ads: ‘I Don’t Boycott Any Station’" by Jon Levine, The Wrap, 2019 February 28
- "4 facts about oleandrin, an unproven coronavirus treatment reportedly pitched to Trump" by Nicole Lyn Pesce, Marketwatch, 2020 August 18
- Plante KS, Plante JA, Fernandez D, Mirchandani D, Bopp N, Aguilar PV, Sastry KJ, Newman RA, Weaver SC. Prophylactic and Therapeutic Inhibition of In Vitro SARS-CoV-2 Replication by Oleandrin. bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2020 Jul 15:2020.07.15.203489. doi: 10.1101/2020.07.15.203489. PMID: 32699848; PMCID: PMC7373128.]
- "Trump 'enthusiastic' over unproven coronavirus therapeutic, MyPillow creator says" by Betsy Klein, CNN, 2020 August 17
- Largo, Michael. The Big, Bad Book of Botany: The World's Most Fascinating Flora William Morrow Paperbacks, August 5, 2014. Excerpted at Slate.com
- "Oleandrin is a deadly plant poison, not a COVID-19 cure" by Cassandra Quave, The Conversation, 2020 August 18
- "American Botanical Council Warns Consumers about High Toxicity of Oleander" by the American Botanical Council, press release (archived on GlobeNewsWire), 2020 August 18
- Christopher Key Twitter (10 Jan 2022 08:54:30 UTC).
- Anti-vax leader urges people to drink their urine instead of get vaccine in latest wild conspiracy by Graig Graziosi (2022 January 10) The Independent.
- "Lab experiments show anti-parasitic drug, Ivermectin, eliminates SARS-CoV-2 in cells in 48 hours", Monash University press release, 2020 April 3
- "FDA Letter to Stakeholders: Do Not Use Ivermectin Intended for Animals as Treatment for COVID-19 in Humans", product safety information, 2020 April 10
- "Ivermectin As a COVID-19 Therapy" by Derek Lowe, Science Translational Medicine, 2021 June 7
- "Latin America’s embrace of an unproven COVID treatment is hindering drug trials" by Emiliano Rodriguez Mega, Nature, 2020 October 20
- Self-medication increases pandemic deaths in Peru by The Economist, 2020 October 3
- "Indian State Will Offer Ivermectin To Entire Adult Population — Even As WHO Warns Against Its Use As Covid-19 Treatment" by Siladitya Ray, Forbes, 2021 May 11
- "Indian States Turn to Ivermectin in COVID Crisis" by Kristina Fiore, MedPageToday, 2021 May 18
- "The COVID-19 Pseudoscience Suffocating Brazil" by Kiratiana Freelon and Shanna Hanbury, Medscape, 2021 June 09
- "Republican Sen. Ron Johnson touts alternative COVID-19 treatments at hearing" by Associated Press, 2020 December 9
- "YouTube suspends Ron Johnson for 7 days" by Tal Axelrod, The Hill, 2021 June 11
- "Tucker Carlson Hyped These Fringe COVID Theories. The Science Just Fell Apart" by Corbin Bolies, Daily Beast, 2021 July 16
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- "Risks rise as vaccination gap with Trump counties grows wider" by Nathaniel Weixel, The Hill, 2021 July 6
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- [https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/why-you-should-not-use-ivermectin-treat-or-prevent-covid-19 "MWhy You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19", FDA.Gov
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- "You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it.", @US_FDA, Twitter, tweet posted on 21 August 2021, archived at archive.is on 2021 August 21
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- Doctors who touted ivermectin as covid fix now pushing it for flu, RSV by Lauren Weber (February 26, 2023 at 2:20 p.m. EST) The Washington Post.
- An Ivermectin Influencer Died. Now His Followers Are Worried About Their Own ‘Severe’ Symptoms. Danny Lemoi took a daily dose of veterinary-grade ivermectin and told his thousands of followers to give the drug to children. He died of a common side effect of the medication. by David Gilbert (March 13, 2023, 4:00am) Vice.
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- Dr. Strangelove: A Continuity Transcript
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- "Texas Politician Suggests Grandma and Grandpa Should Be Willing to Die to Protect Wall Street" by Sanford Nowlin, Guardian, 2020 Mar 24
- Which world leader has the worst pandemic record? The competition is fierce. by Frida Ghitis (March 30, 2021 at 11:57 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Mexico’s real COVID-19 death toll now stands at over 321,000 (March 27, 2021) AP.
- Mexico's choice: Amulets or science to fight COVID-19 (March 29, 2020) CBC.
- Tanzania leader says prayer will cure Covid, as hospitals overflow: Experts fear policies of John Magufuli could undermine vaccine programme in Africa by Jason Burke (28 Feb 2021 04.00 EST) The Guardian.
- India's Kumbh festival attracts big crowds amid devastating second Covid wave by Vineet Khare (April 17, 2021).
- India’s Modi scorned over reckless rallies, religious gathering amid virus mayhem by Krishna Das & Aftab Ahmed (April 19, 20215:44 PM PDT) Reuters.
- New Epicenter of Pandemic: The COVID Crisis in India Global Epidemics, Brown School of Public Health.
- Coronavirus has weakened the West’s nationalists by Ishaan Tharoor (July 17, 2020 at 6:32 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
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- States with Republican Governors Delayed Action on Social Distancing Measures, Study Finds by James Walker (3/31/20 at 3:56 AM EDT) Newsweek.
- The government has spent decades studying what a life is worth. It hasn't made a difference in the covid-19 crisis. The U.S. government often studies the trade-off between cost and safety. But the White House has failed to release any analysis of the pandemic, which could offer clues to what's ahead. by Todd C. Frankel (May 23, 2020 at 3:29 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- The Benefits and Costs of Using Social Distancing to Flatten the Curve for COVID-19 by Linda Thunstrom et al. (forthcoming as of May 2020) Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis. doi:10.2139/ssrn.3561934.
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- We lost 6,000,000 people during the Holocaust. Did we shut down our economy then? Of course not. This is pure insanity. by @michellvii (7:39 PM • 4/5/20) Twitter (as caught by Yale Law Professor Scott Shapiro (archived from 6 Apr 2020 06:55:49 UTC).
- "Protesting for the Freedom to Catch the Coronavirus" by Charlie Warzel, New York Times, 2020 April 19
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- The anti-quarantine protests seem spontaneous. But behind the scenes, a powerful network is helping. by Isaac Stanley-Becker &Tony Romm (April 22, 2020 at 3:00 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
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- "'It's going to backfire': Fauci says anti-quarantine protesters could prolong shutdown" by Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, 2020 Apr 20
- NBC News / Wall Street Journal Survey, Hart Research Associates, April 13-15 2020
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- "New research explores how conservative media misinformation may have intensified the severity of the pandemic" by Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post, 2020 June 25
- "Elon Musk and Grimes welcome a baby boy" by Alaa Elassar, 2020 May 5, CNN
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- "Coronavirus has Elon Musk acting like just another used car salesman" by Julia Carrie Wong, Guardian, 2020 May 1
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- It is now evident that this is an orchestrated attempt to destroy CAPITALISM. First sports, then schools and finally commercial businesses. Time to RISE UP and push back. Bars and restaurants should defy the order. Let people decide if they want to go out. by SheriffClarke (3:31 PM - 15 Mar 2020) Twitter (16 Mar 2020 02:22:10 UTC).
- U.S. Vaccination Rate, Google search result, archived on 2021 August 29
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- "A Covid Vaccine Crossroads, WSJ Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal, 2021 July 15
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- Vaccine politics may be to blame for GOP excess deaths, study finds by David Ovalle (July 24, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. EDT) The Washington Post.
- "Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine", CDC, 2021 August 16
- "Marc Bernier is Fourth Anti-vaccine Radio Host to Die of Covid this Month", Daily Kos community post by mastergardener2K, 2021 August 29
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- Nearly 900 Secret Service members were infected with the coronavirus. A watchdog blames Trump by Timothy Bella (June 23, 2021 at 10:57 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, Trump’s Close Ally, Dangerously Downplays the Coronavirus Risk by Jon Lee Anderson (April 1, 2020) The New Yorker.
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- See the Wikipedia Portuguese article on Eduardo Pazuello
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- "Tanzanian politician's death of COVID-19 hints at concealed epidemic" by Reuters Staff, Reuters, 2021 Februrary 17
- Where's Magufuli? Tanzanian leader's absence fuels health concern by David Lewis & Duncan Miriri (March 10, 2021 4:34 AM) Reuters.
- "Tanzanian President John Magufuli, A COVID-19 Skeptic, Has Died" by Laurel Wamsley, NPR, 2021 March 17
- "Tanzania's Covid-denying president, John Magufuli, dies aged 61" by Jason Burke, Guardian, 2021 Mar 18
- "Tanzanian minister coughs through press conference aimed at defusing Covid fears" by Clea Skopeliti, Independent, 2021 February 25
- "Rodney Howard-Browne Gives Alex Jones A Handgun, Assures Him He’s Protected By God" by Kyle Mantyla, Right Wing Watch, 2018 May 17
- "Florida Pastor Arrested After Defying Virus Orders" by Patricia Mazzei, New York Times, 2020 March 30
- "Preaching conspiracies: Coronavirus puts Tampa pastor’s beliefs into mainstream spotlight" by Tony Marrero, Tampabay.com, 2020 April 16
- "Florida megachurch pastor says he's closing church due to 'tyrannical government'" by Kaelan Deese, The Hill, 2020 April 02
- "Second pastor charged with violating public orders says church doors will still be open on Sunday" br Daniel Burke, CNN, 2020 April 1
- [https://www.tmz.com/2020/04/08/louisiana-pastor-tony-spell-arrested-coronavirus-worshipers-sacrifice-god/ "If Parishioners Die After Contracting COVID-19 ... IT'S A SACRIFICE FOR GOD AND FREEDOM!!!"] by TMZ, April 8 2020
- "Member of defiant Central church dies from coronavirus illness, but pastor says it's a lie" by David J. Mitchell, The Advocate, 2020 April 16
- "Arrest warrant issued for defiant Louisiana pastor" by WAFB Staff, WAFB 9, 2020 April 20
- "Falwell Focuses on Critics as Coronavirus Cases Near His University Grow" by Elizabeth Williamson, New York Times, 2020 April 16
- "Liberty University Brings Back Its Students, and Coronavirus Fears, Too" by Elizabeth Williamson, New York Times, 2020 March 29
- "Two Liberty University employees test positive for coronavirus" by Richard Chumney, News and Advance, 2020 April 16
- "Pastor Who Defied Social Distancing Dies After Contracting Covid-19, Church Says" by Neil Vigdor, New York Times, April 14 2020
- "Bishop who defied lockdown to hold sermons is killed by coronavirus" by Jimmy McCloskey, Metro UK, 2020 Apr 14
- "A monastery in Ukraine once scoffed at coronavirus measures. Now it is a hot spot." by David L. Stern, Washington Post, 2020 April 17
- The Truth About "Dramatic Action" by Da Shiji (达史纪) (Jan 27, 2020) China Media Project.
- How China’s authoritarian system made the pandemic worse by The Editorial Board (April 17, 2020 at 11:53 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- "China tried to keep a lid on the coronavirus. It put everyone at risk." by the Editorial Board, Washington Post, 2020 January 29
- 'Hero who told the truth': Chinese rage over coronavirus death of whistleblower doctor" by Verna Yu, Guardian, 2020 February 7
- "Obituary: Li Wenliang" by The Economist, 2020 February 13 edition
- "China’s Official Newspaper Mislabels Video Footage in Coronavirus Coverage" by Dan MacGuill, Snopes,com, 2020 February 2020
- "China Ramps Up Censorship On Coronavirus As Critics Risk Criminal Charges" by Kenneth Rapoza, Forbes, 2020 February 12
- "How the Coronavirus Revealed Authoritarianism’s Fatal Flaw" by Zeynep Tufecki, The Atlantic, 2020 February 22
- "Coronavirus Weakens China’s Powerful Propaganda Machine" by Li Yuan, New York Times, 2020 February 27
- New book offers fresh details about chaos, conflicts inside Trump’s pandemic response: At one point, the president mused about transferring infected American citizens in Asia to Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba by Dan Diamond (June 21, 2021 at 4:00 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Trump team failed to follow NSC's pandemic playbook: The 69-page document, finished in 2016, provided a step by step list of priorities – which were then ignored by the administration. by Dan Diamond and Nahal Toosi (03/25/2020 08:00 PM EDT) Politico.
- Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents Executive Office of the President of the United States.
- We literally left them a 69-page Pandemic Playbook… that they ignored And an office called the Pandemic Preparedness Office… that they abolished. And a global monitoring system called PREDICT … that they cut by 75% by Ronald Klain (6:12 PM - 11 May 2020) Twitter (archived from 12 May 2020 13:41:13 UTC).
- McConnell’s claim that Obama left behind no ‘game plan’ for the coronavirus outbreak by Glenn Kessler (May 14, 2020 at 12:00 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Trump brags about high TV viewership of coronavirus briefings by Jan Wolfe (March 29, 2020 / 11:39 AM) Reuters.
- "Media Covering Coronavirus to ‘Bring Down the President,’ Mulvaney Claims" by Annie Karni, New York Times, 2020 February 28
- "Donald Trump Jr. just said something unreal about Democrats and the coronavirus" by Chris Cillizza, CNN, 2020 February 28
- "The 1964 Report on Smoking and Health", U.S. National Library of Medicine, Reports of the Surgeon General
- "Trump’s Contempt for Expertise Is Guiding His Coronavirus Response" by Fred Kaplan, Salon, 2020 February 28
- "Pence's decades-old 'smoking doesn't kill' statement resurfaces after coronavirus appointment" by Vic Ryckaert, IndyStar, 2020 February 27
- "Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., NIAID Director", National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease
- "Pence Will Control All Coronavirus Messaging From Health Officials" by Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, New York Times, 2020 February 27
- "HHS whistleblower claims US workers received coronavirus evacuees without proper precautions" by Kristen Holmes, Amanda Watts and Caroline Kelly, CNN. February 28, 2020
- Courtney Kube and Mosheh Gains, Navy relieves captain who raised alarm about coronavirus outbreak on aircraft carrier. NBC News, April 3, 2020
- "Trump Again Casts Doubt On Fauci As COVID-19 Cases Surge" by Barbara Sprunt, Tamara Keith, Franco Orodnez, and Alana Wise, NPR, 2020 July 13
- "Fauci is sidelined by the White House as he steps up blunt talk on pandemic" by Yasmeen Abutaleb, Josh Dawsey and Laurie McGinley, Washington Post, 2020 July 11
- "As Florida coronavirus cases spike, Ron DeSantis says mask requirement won’t work" by Kirby Wilson, Tampa Bay Times, 2020 June 26
- "White House takes aim at Fauci but Trump has no current plans to fire him, source says" by Kristen Holmes and Kaitlan Collins, CNN, 2020 July 13
- "Coronavirus and cover-up: Egypt's two-fronted war", Amr Khalifa, Middle East Eye, March 29, 2020
- "With a curfew and unreliable virus toll, Egypt faces a cruel Ramadan", Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz, March 29, 2020
- "El Salvador’s president is using covid-19 as an excuse to abuse his power" by the Washington Post Editorial Board, 2020 May 1
- "Authoritarian leaders are using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to lock up dissenters and grab power, human rights experts warn" by Cristina Maza, Business Insider, 2020 Apr 9
- How coronavirus helps Putin by Alec Luhn, Politico, 2020 March 18
- "For Autocrats, and Others, Coronavirus Is a Chance to Grab Even More Power" by Selam Gebrekidan, New York Times, 2020 March 30
- "Would-be autocrats are using covid-19 as an excuse to grab more power", The Economist, 2020 April 23
- "Democracies contain epidemics most effectively", The Economist, 2020 June 6
- Carl Benedikt Frey, Chinchih Chen, and Giorgio Presidente. "Democracy, Culture, and Contagion: Political Regimes and Countries Responsiveness to Covid-19*", Oxford Martin School, Oxford University, 2020 May 13
- "Ugandan police accused of abusing lockdown laws after LGBT arrests" by Jason Burke, 2020 Apr 1, The Guardian
- "The coronavirus brings new and awful repression for Uighurs in China" by Josh Rogin, Washington Post, 2020 February 26
- "China: Covid-19 Discrimination Against Africans", Human Rights Watch, 5 May 2020
- "India’s Hindu Nationalists Are Inciting Hate By Claiming Muslims Are Spreading Coronavirus" by David Gilbert, Vice, 2020 April 20
- "Trump's coronavirus order scapegoats immigrants and doesn't make us safer" by Linda Chavez and Scott Roehm, USA Today, 2020 April 28
- "Venezuela declares war on those infected with coronavirus" by Anataoly Kurmanaev, Isayen Herrera and Sheyla Urdanetta, The Irish Times 2020 August 19
- Covid-19 Forces 100,000 Venezuelan Migrants Back to Broken Country by John Otis, The Wall Street Journal 2020 August 30
- Estimation of total mortality due to COVID-19 (May 6, 2021) Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington.
- India’s Catastrophic Coronavirus Surge Highlights Global Vulnerabilities by Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder (May 3, 2021, at 5:12 p.m.) U.S. News & World Report.
- After vaccines became available, a partisan gap in deaths emerged by Philip Bump (October 3, 2022 at 4:20 p.m. EDT) The Washington Post.
- Excess Death Rates for Republicans and Democrats During the COVID-19 Pandemic by Jacob Wallace et a. (September 2022) National Bureau of Economic Research. NBER Working Paper 30512.
- Resistance to vaccine mandates is building. A powerful network is helping. A New York firm has filed suit or sent letters to employers in several states as part of an effort spearheaded by one of the largest anti-vaccination groups in the country. by Isaac Stanley-Becker (May 26, 2021 at 1:28 p.m. EDT) The Washington Post.
- The evidence is building: Vaccine mandates work — and well by Aaron Blake (September 29, 2021).
- Sen. Cruz Issues Statement on President Biden Imposing COVID Vaccine Mandates on Businesses U.S> Senator for Texas, Ted Cruz.
- Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace (August 13, 2021) Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor.
- Vaccine Mandates Are Lawful, Effective and Based on Rock-Solid Science: Clear legal pathways exist to move the U.S. closer to herd immunity by Lawrence O. Gostin (August 5, 2021) Scientific American.