May 07 2020

Skeptical of Plandemic

A promotional video on YouTube for a new documentary, Plandemic, is making the rounds and promoting quite a response. The video features Dr. Judy Mikovits, and is basically an interview with her. Unfortunately this is a slick piece of utter nonsense and conspiracy mongering. Mikovits has zero credibility in any of her claims, but they are combined with music and clips of videos to create the impression that there is some reality behind her outrageous claims. Let me focus on a few claims to show how low her and the filmmaker’s credibility are.

In her introduction the narrator states that she authors a study in Science that “sent shockwaves through the scientific community” because it showed that fetal and animal tissue in vaccines was causing an epidemic of chronic illness. This is straight up lie, but that is the narrative of this video – that she is a courageous fighter going against the establishment, which is killing people for profit and trying to destroy her for calling them out.

Here is the original Science paper. It alleges to have found the XMRV virus in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. This did make a splash when it was published because it purported to find a possible cause of an otherwise mysterious illness. It has nothing to do with vaccines at all (although you could argue, falsely that the virus came from vaccines, but that is not what the research was on). But then, here is a retraction of the paper by Science. Was it retracted as part of some global conspiracy against Mikovits? No – it was retracted because:

“Multiple laboratories, including those of the original authors, have failed to reliably detect xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) or other murine leukemia virus (MLV)-related viruses in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients,” says the retraction notice. “In addition, there is evidence of poor quality control in a number of specific experiments in the Report.”

So she did bad science that could not be replicated, and it was discovered the that cell lines used were contaminated. OK, that’s pretty embarrassing as a researcher, but it happens. Dust yourself off and move on. But she didn’t do that. Instead she decided this was all part of some giant conspiracy to make money by making people sick and keeping “natural” remedies from them.

Now, I don’t know exactly when she fell down this particular conspiracy rabbit hole, or what her predisposition is. I don’t know her personally. But her story has certainly followed the evolving conspiracy paradigm that is being promoted by the anti-vaccine and allied movements. Now, this movement has incorporated the rapidly evolving COVID-19 conspiracy mongering, and she is right there.

As further evidence for this, her upcoming book is coauthored by Kent Heckenlively, a notorious anti-vaccine crank. There is also a forward by another notorious anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist, RFK Jr. .

The interview then weaves in multiple threads of demonstrably false nonsense, showing clips of other conspiracy theorists as if that is evidence, and including what is charitably called “speculation” on the part of Mikovits. For example, they show an extensive clip of the Bakersfield acute care clinic owners who made their own video spouting COVID-19 nonsense, in an apparent attempt to save their businesses which are suffering during the lockdown.  Specifically they focus on the dubious and debunked claim that staying at home will weaken our immune systems, ignoring the fact that our homes are thriving with pathogens. They have zero evidence for their claims, and they don’t even make minimal sense. But they serve the narrative.

Mikovits and the video also tries to support this notion that COVID-19 deaths are being overstated, with incentives to doctors and hospitals to call all deaths COVID-19. Any doctor should know, however, that what the video is claiming is nonsense. First, having “presumed COVID-19” on the third line of causes of death on a death certificate is perfectly reasonable if the clinical syndrome was consistent with COVID-19 but the patient was not tested. They also provide no evidence that there is any pressure, except to show the clip of out Bakersfield flunkies claiming they were pressured. As others have pointed out – they run acute care clinics, and should not be having people die at their clinics. And they own the clinics, so there is no one to pressure them. But that is the evidence the video presents.

They also ignore the credible evidence that, if anything, we are undercounting COVID-19 deaths. We can look at excess deaths during this time, and we are perhaps undercounting deaths by up to half. People who die at home without ever getting tested are not counted, for example. You don’t hear any of this on the video, because it is not part of their conspiracy narrative.

They also push the hydroxychloroquine conspiracy theory, claiming we could be completely treating the pandemic with a safe and effective drug, but instead the powers that be want everyone to become infected so they can sell their eventual vaccine. Wow. Meanwhile the actual evidence is not looking good for hydroxychloroquine, it does not appear to be effective against COVID-19 and causes serious side effects. But evidence is never an impediment to a conspiracy – any inconvenient evidence is just part of the conspiracy.

She is also confident that COVID-19 was cooked up in a lab. Her evidence – nada. In fact it looks pretty clear that the virus was not artificially made. It also looks like it emerged from the wet markets of Wuhan, but we cannot currently rule out an accidental lab release (although not lab created).

The bottom line is that Mikovits has this incredible theory that the way we manufacture vaccines is actually causing lots of chronic illness. She was unable to scientifically make her case, however. Her blockbuster study was an abject failure, and she was scientifically humiliated. She now lives on the fringe, a darling of the anti-vaccine movement, where her narrative is merging with theirs, and with broader deep state, anti-mainstream medicine conspiracy narratives. In my opinion, based upon all these dubious claims and her history, she has absolutely no credibility. The claims she makes in the video are either demonstrably wrong, or wild speculation. The video itself is also deceptive in many ways.

But slick pseudodocumentaries can be persuasive to those who lack the specific background knowledge necessary to evaluate the claims. They talk a lot in the video about the deaths allegedly caused by the conspiracies of the deep state. I wonder how many actual COVID-19 deaths will be caused by this video.

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