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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

COVID Conspiracy Theories Abound

Forget the conspiracy theories. Americans are dying at an alarming rate. With COVID-19 deaths in America rapidly approaching 380,000, one would think that the numbers are sobering enough for everyone in the country to embrace the need to keep the number of infections down. Statistically speaking, the greater the number of people infected, the greater the number of people who die. What’s so hard to understand?

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Wearing a mask, washing one’s hands, and staying 6 feet away from other people are not too much to ask given the current situation. But many people still refuse to embrace the need for these social protocols. Many refuse to wear face masks unless required to do so to enter a business establishment. Why?

Conspiracy theories abound, and there are those who still say the coronavirus threat is a hoax, and that the reported deaths are both over reported and contrived by “the government”– notions fueled at least in part by dubious news reporting.

One media outlet reported as late as October 12 of this year that “[a] Centers for Disease Control report released in September shows that masks and face coverings are not effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19, even for those people who consistently wear them.” 

We read the report. If true, we needed to make sure our readers were also made aware. However, after reading through the report, we did not see this “finding.” It became clear that the statement “masks and face coverings are not effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19” was a whole lot more conclusion than fact.

For example, the article says the study “found that when they compared 154 ‘case-patients,’ who tested positive for COVID-19, to a control group of 160 participants from health care facilities who were symptomatic but tested negative, over 70 percent of the case-patients were contaminated with the virus and fell ill despite ‘always’ wearing a mask. (emphasis added)”  

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First, nowhere does the study say case-patients “always wore masks.” In fact, the report makes it clear that “case-patients were more likely to report dining at a restaurant or going to a bar/coffee shop than were control-participants.” It doesn’t take a leap of logic to understand that people eating in restaurants or drinking in bars are not also wearing masks.

So, despite what the news article suggests, case-patients were in fact people whose behavior made them more likely to become infected– not people who always wore masks. And this is perhaps the reason that on page 1260 of the study, the report reads:

“To help slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2, precautions should be implemented to stay home once exposed to someone with COVID-19,** in addition to adhering to recommendations to wash hands often, wear masks, and social distance.” (emphasis added).

Whether intentional or not this type reporting feeds the conspiracy theories that gives those who see a boogey man hiding behind every government door an excuse to see themselves as protectors of the nation and American freedom by not wearing masks and ignoring other safety protocols. In this way the millions of people who embrace such ideas potentially become spreaders of the virus.

Back in April, it seemed that everyone connected with was said to be part of some conspiratorial plan to make President Trump look bad.

Dr. Annie Bukacek added to the hysteria by posting a YouTube presentation in April explaining that COVID-19 death certificates were being manipulated by doctors, coroners and medical examiners to push governments to make “massive changes that affect our constitutional rights.”

Her views were adopted by a number of conspiracy theorists who point to her medical credentials as evidence of her objectivity and credibility. But Bukacek is anything but objective– she is staunchly opposed to even testing for the virus.

Being opposed to mandatory testing is one thing. Being opposed to mass testing is another. Should not all doctors be in favor of testing for the possible presence of a contagious disease? Mass testing, as opposed to mandatory testing, is elective, so why would a doctor oppose providing all Americans the right– and the mechanism– to be tested? I wonder if she is also opposed to testing for HIV/AIDS?

I asked a conspiracy theorist if he believed the healthcare industry was involved in a plot to intentionally kill Covid-positive patients? He said yes. The reason? To inflate the numbers of deaths for the purpose of scaring people into taking “the Operation Warp Speed vaccine.” Why would anyone do that, I asked? Because, he said, the vaccine contains a non-human genome that will help reduce the earth’s population and turn survivors into a sub-human slave race based on economic status.

How could he possibly know this, I asked? It’s on the internet, he responded. Example of the claims can be seen here and here and here.

Most of these genetically modifying vaccine claims come from a YouTube video of Dr Andrew Kaufman, a “natural healing consultant,” in an interview with Spiro Skouras, an “independent researcher” with a popular YouTube channel. The video has since been deleted, but conspiracy theorists still spout its content. 

The problem with “research” on the internet is that there is no pre-publishing fact-checking; no editorial bodies to review and correct inaccuracies. Anyone can post anything they like and call it “scientific.” It then becomes the burden of the truly qualified to set the records straight.

It is one thing to distrust the U.S. government’s Covid death statistics, but to suggest that the entire world is lying about Covid-related deaths taking place in other nations, seems laughingly farfetched. But then a conspiracy is a conspiracy is a conspiracy.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), despite the claims of CTs, vaccines don’t work in the way they would have to in order to modify DNA. And Mark Lynas, a visiting fellow at Cornell University’s Alliance for Science group, told Reuters that no vaccine can genetically modify human DNA.

“That’s just a myth, one often spread intentionally by anti-vaccination activists to deliberately generate confusion and mistrust,” he said. “Genetic modification would involve the deliberate insertion of foreign DNA into the nucleus of a human cell, and vaccines simply don’t do that.”

Injecting foreign DNA into the nucleus of a human cell is a lot more involved– and complicated– procedure than simply giving someone an innoculation.

The truth of the matter is that DNA vaccines inject part of the virus’ DNA/RNA into tissue to do what all vaccines do: stimulate an immune response in the body.

Despite this scientific explanation, however, conspiracy theorists say the COVID-19 vaccine contains nano-bots– microscopic robots– capable of taking the DNA vaccine into the cell nucleus and making genetic modification possible.

I was told to look at the list of ingredients being used. That, my conspiracy theory friend told me, proves Big Pharma (and President Trump since he commissioned the Operation Warp Speed vaccine) are up to no good. Quoting some obscure twitter post, he mentioned hydrogel, transfection, luciferase and mRNA.

The Pointer Institute researched each of these terms in turn and their applicability to Covid vaccines. Read the fact-checking article here. Of the four items mentioned by my conspiracy theorist friend, Poynter notes that “the use of mRNA vaccines does have complications that scientists are still researching. But most importantly, it is simply not true that mRNA vaccines alter human DNA in any way.”

So who are these people who buy into and spread these conspiracy theories?

Gregg Prescott, Founder and Editor of In5D.com, says conspiracy theorists are actually “critical thinkers.”

“People, such as myself, get labeled as being part of the ‘fringe element’ when in fact, those who are most powerful have the most to lose and thus, create the ‘outrageous’ stories that they expect us to believe.”

Thinking people, Prescott argues are those who “question everything because the truth is rarely shown in our texts and by the mainstream media.”

John M. Grohol, Psy.D., in an article written for PsychCentral (the Internet’s largest and oldest independent mental health online resource) and medically reviewed by Scientific Advisory Board, calls it the “Conspiracy Theory Disorder.”

According to Grohol, people who have more narcissistic traits tend to believe more: “Narcissism is positively associated with paranoid thinking, as narcissists are perceiving the actions of others intentionally targeted against themselves. [… Also,] conspiracies are appealing to people who lack confidence and excess self-promotional characteristics, such as self-esteem. . . . People who don’t feel like they belong to any one group — a trait psychologists refer to as belongingness — are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories (van Prooijen, 2016).”

A great many Americans do not believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was solely responsible (if at all) for the killing of President John F. Kennedy, so they do not believe that people in authority do not lie. They do not, however, consider themselves conspiracy theorists.

What is clear is that convincing a conspiracy theorist/”critical thinker” that there is no conspiracy is extremely difficult. Once they’ve arrived at belief, it is difficult for a conspiracy theorist to admit the possibility he or she might be wrong, leaving the only logical thing for a conspiracy theorist to do is to try to convince other people of the conspiracy.

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