Three Charlatans and A Shameful Press Release
The most important updates this week are in my Omicron update post from Monday (12/20). Still, there is disinformation running rampant even as I and others try to get correct and evidence-based information out there. So here's a quick run-down of some disreputable sources who are still out there trying to make money by dissuading you from protecting yourself and your loved ones...and a comment on some poor messaging from the White House.
Peter McCullough on Joe Rogan
After his own bout with COVID and then the Aaron Rodgers debacle, Joe Rogan could have brought anyone on his show to further addres the pandemic and prove he actually meant well. Instead, he brought on Dr. Peter McCullough, cardiologist-turned-Fox-News-shill, who literally goes on TV and spreads lies about vaccines, tries to say we have no antiviral medications or treatment plans for COVID-19 patients (false, though I hope he never has to find that out the hard way), and then tries to sell you hydroxychloroquine and other treatment plans that don't work. Seriously, dude? HCQ was SO last year. He says so many things with zero proof, and which are easily Google-able, but people believe him because of his credentials (which he is losing; multiple hospitals including Baylor (who filed a restraining order) are disowning him, not because he "speaks the truth" (because he doesn't) but because he stains their name with his disinformation. That's not censorship, it's consequences. People die because of the disinformation this asshole spreads, and Rogan gave him more of a platform. Goop-For-Men is not getting back into my good graces anytime soon.
Robert Malone and the Children’s Health Defense (RFK Jr.)
Robert Malone is still touting himself as the inventor of mRNA vaccines (see my previous post on mRNA and why Malone had barely anything to do with the vaccine) is now trying to garner fear about vaccinating children. He put out a statement on December 12th in which he makes a number of claims, none of which have any evidence behind them. He tries to say that the vaccines contain viral genes (they don't), and he falls back on the perpetual myths of fertility issues, the supposed "dismissal" of "natural immunity" (we've talked about the fact that infection-mediated and vaccine-mediated immunity are both natural, and the evidence behind both, which shows that infection-mediated immunity can be a nice bridge, but it does not generally last long and is not reliable even when it is supposed to be present), and basically trying to say vaccines don't work. They do.
The video statement was amplified by infamous antivaccination advocate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr and his Children's Health Defense, which has spread disinformation about vaccines for years, even before COVID.
Unbiased Science Podcast also points out that both Malone and RFK Jr. are vaccinated, even though they try to make money from people by fearmongering against the vaccines. Malone's wife actually bragged about it back when he was still trying to take positive credit for it, and RFK Jr. just had a party over the weekend in which everyone had to have proof of vaccination or a negative test in order to come.
I'll link to a...surreal interview that Tarpley Hitt published after a conversation with RFK Jr. It’s an excellent example of fact-checking and realism by a journalist.
From the White House COVID-19 Response Team
In other news, President Biden had an unfortunate press release the other day. "We are intent on not letting Omicron disrupt work and school for the vaccinated. You've done the right thing, and we will get through this. For the unvaccinated, you're looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm."
For one thing, the hospitals are ALREADY overwhelmed. Make no mistake...we are drowning. It's worse than last year in multiple ways. Since we are not working from home as much and more people have dropped mitigation measures, RSV and influenza are back in full force, alongside other non-infectious illness and ailments requiring hospitalizations that never went away. No hospital system has enough staff to keep up with the swell of patients that more COVID surges will bring. It is worse mentally, too, because most (not all) of the hospitalizations and deaths are preventable.
More importantly from a Presidential standpoint: This is not an ideal message to be sending right now. Yes, it follows up with a discussion of the benefits of vaccination and other measures, and yes the situation is more dangerous for people who are not vaccinated, but why such divisive language? If there is one thing I have tried to emphasize, it's that this is NOT about individual responsibility - it's about coming together (not necessarily physically) as a community to establish the blanket of protection that mass vaccination provides. Further, the vaccine+masks+distancing/other mitigation measures strategy is not perfect, and some people will still get COVID. Laurel Bristow discussed this and nailed the sentiment - "COVID...is not an indicator of morality." If you are doing whatever you can to protect yourself and your fellow humans, even if you still get COVID, you're a good person.
That said, this is still not an indication to "let 'er rip." Mitigation measures are still necessary BECAUSE of how widespread this virus is. Don't buy in to the nirvana fallacy. We should not let perfect be the enemy of good.
Moreover, if you DO test positive, what matters then is that you take steps to STOP the spread.
If you get infected with COVID-19, your doctor and hospital staff are there for you regardless of your vaccination status. Still, the system is already overwhelmed. We #VaccinateAndMitigate for each other. Please do so, or ask questions.