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Andrew Wakefield 25 years later: Paving the way for FLCCC and COVID quacks

It was 25 years ago last week that Andrew Wakefield launched the modern iteration of the antivaccine movement.In doing so, he laid down a template that antivax quacks today still follow.

Has it really been 25 years, a whole quarter of a century? I was forced to acknowledge last week that it has been, and in doing so I couldn’t help but think about how Andrew Wakefield paved the way for COVID-19 quacks everywhere, and he did 22 years before the pandemic hit.

I must admit that this is an anniversary that snuck up on me. Then last week I saw an article pop up in my Google Alerts from Katherine Fidler entitled ‘Dishonest and irresponsible’: 25 years on from Andrew Wakefield’s claims against the MMR jab, and I knew I had to acknowledge this unfortunate “anniversary” somehow,” given that a week ago marked the anniversary of the press conference at which Andrew Wakefield announced the findings of his execrably bad 12 patient case series that first linked the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine to “associated gastrointestinal disease and developmental regression in a group of previously normal children.” It is true, of course, that year before, the UK General Medical Council had stripped Wakefield of his license to practice medicine—he was “struck off,” a delightfully British way of putting it—with GMC concluding that “there was a biased selection of patients in The Lancet paper” and that Wakefield’s “conduct in this regard was dishonest and irresponsible.” 

After that, one might think that the rigorous documentation by Brian Deer of Andrew Wakefield’s scientific fraud should have been the final nail in the coffin of Wakefield’s reputation. One would be wrong. Even after Deer, who referred to The Lancet case series as “Piltdown medicine” ultimately documented Wakefield’s fraud and how the study had been “fixed,” if you will, unfortunately that was 13 years after the study’s publication and the damage had already been done. From 2011 until the emergence of a novel coronavirus nine years later, to antivaxxers Wakefield was the pre-eminent “brave maverick doctor”; that is, until a new generation of grifters forged in the chaos of a deadly global pandemic arose.

An anniversary of misinformation that will live in scientific infamy

Wakefield arguably laid down the basics template that antivax quacks are now following and expanding upon in the age of COVID-19. Moreover, last week encompassed days of infamy and failure a quarter century ago that science-based physicians should never, ever let The Lancet and its Editor-in-Chief at the time, Richard Horton, forget. Unbelievably, a quarter century on, Horton is still editor of The Lancet, even though he should have been sacked no later than immediately after Brian Deer’s exposé revealed the magnitude of his failure.

Let’s take a look back at Wakefield’s original case series and industry of antivax quackery and disinformation that it spawned. Then I will discuss Wakefield’s unfortunate continuing relevance to COVID-19 antivaxxers. Right up front, I will conceded that, for reasons that I cannot understand, Wakefield failed to be as prominent among “new school” antivaxxers as he was among the “old school” before the pandemic. I rather suspect that sheer numbers could be part of the reason why, unlike some other “old school” antivaxxers—e.g., Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.Stephanie SeneffSherri TenpennyTy BollingerRashid ButtarKelly BroganJoe MercolaErin Elizabeth, and some of the rest of the “Disinformation Dozen“—who have managed not only to remain relevant but to increase their stature through embracing COVID misinformation, compared to his stature in the antivaccine movement prepandemic, Andrew Waekfield has not been a huge presence, certainly not the towering figure of disinformation that he was for the 22 years before SARS-CoV-2 arrived who directed one of the most influential antivax movies ever, VAXXED, in 2016, had a hagiographic “documentary” made about him, and was once likened by J.B. Handley, founder of Generation Rescue, the group for which Jenny McCarthy became the figurehead for a few years back in the late aughts, to “Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ all rolled up into one.”

Even so, Wakefield hasn’t been completely supplanted. For example, Wakefield has promoted nonsense about mRNA COVID-19 vaccines “permanently altering your DNA” and has been showing up more frequently on the podcasts and social media of “new school” antivaxxers like Steve Kirsch, a tech bro who has now imbibed deeply of every COVID-19 antivax conspiracy theory in existence and then occasionally gone beyond them, even as he takes the crank love of bogus debate challenges to new and ridiculous “heights.” Moreover, as I argued in 2021, Geert Vanden Bossche’s conspiracy theory that COVID-19 vaccines will lead to “escape mutant” variants that could mean the end of humanity was clearly patterned on Wakefield’s 2019 unsupported and deceptive claim that measles variants, selected for by MMR, will lead to a sixth mass extinction.

First, though, let’s let Kathleen Fidler remind us how it all started:

Scientists aren’t always right. In fact, most will tell you they spend their days trying to prove themselves wrong. Only when they can’t – many times over – can they be close to sure. 

However, in the case of former doctor Andrew Wakefield, a dangerous dose of overconfidence – coupled with undisclosed financial incentives – led to a damaging public health scare, the effects of which are still being seen in 2023.

It was 25 years ago today that a crowd of media assembled in the atrium of London’s Royal Free Hospital to hear the shocking and provocative results of a study by Wakefield and his 12 research colleagues. They said, following research into 12 children – 11 boys and one girl, there was a link between the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, and a new syndrome causing both bowel disease and autism.

That a vaccination designed to protect infants from a trifecta of serious childhood diseases could lead to a lasting neurological disorder was an allegation of immense concern to parents across the country, and soon, around the world.

In the years following publication of the study in renowned medical journal The Lancet – and sustained media coverage – vaccination rates fell, as parents felt forced to choose between protecting against potentially life-threatening viruses or autism.

It was a decision no parent ever wants to make – or should have to. Especially as it wasn’t true.

To be honest, I think that Fidler is being way too generous here in referring to Andrew Wakefield as a scientist. Maybe he was at one time, but by that fateful day in February when he he began is string of appearances on multiple media outlets promoting his fear mongering about the MMR vaccine, he had long ceased to be anything resembling a scientist. Similarly, the idea that vaccines somehow caused autism was not Wakefield’s invention. As reported by Brian Deer, in fact Wakefield had accepted funding from antivax lawyers intending to sue pharmaceutical companies for “vaccine-induced autism.” As Fidler notes:

As a researcher at the Royal Free Hospital focusing on gastrointestinal disorders, Wakefield believed he had discovered a link between measles and Crohn’s disease, a chronic form of inflammatory bowel disease. That research later pivoted to asking whether measles vaccinations were also a risk factor in developing the condition.

This work brought him to the attention of a lawyer, Richard Barr, who was acting for a number of parents who believed the MMR had caused their children to develop autism. Working in tandem, the pair arranged for 12 children – from as far afield as the US – to be referred for assessment at the Royal Free as part of a study into the effects of MMR.

Each child was subjected to a number of intensive and invasive procedures – later determined by the General Medical Council to be unnecessary – including spinal taps and colonoscopies.

Worse, patients were recruited through anti-MMR campaigners, and the study was commissioned and funded for planned litigation. Indeed, a barrister named Richard Barr paid him to produce evidence that he could use in lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers for “vaccine-induced autism” even as he had developed a measles-only vaccine that he hoped could compete against the MMR:

Unknown to Mr 11, Wakefield was working on a lawsuit,7 for which he sought a bowel-brain “syndrome” as its centrepiece. Claiming an undisclosed £150 (€180, $230) an hour through a Norfolk solicitor named Richard Barr, he had been confidentially 8 put on the payroll two years before the paper was published, eventually grossing him £435,643, plus expenses.9

Curiously, however, Wakefield had already identified such a syndrome before the project which would reputedly discover it. “Children with enteritis/disintegrative disorder [an expression he used for bowel inflammation and regressive autism10] form part of a new syndrome,” he and Barr explained in a confidential grant application to the UK government’s Legal Aid Board11 before any of the children were investigated.12 “Nonetheless the evidence is undeniably in favour of a specific vaccine induced pathology.”

The two men also aimed to show a sudden-onset “temporal association”—strong evidence in product liability. “Dr Wakefield feels that if we can show a clear time link between the vaccination and onset of symptoms,” Barr told the legal board, “we should be able to dispose of the suggestion that it’s simply a chance encounter.”13

The rest of Deer’s exposé reported how Wakefield had manipulated the data and the parents’ reports to produce a more convincing temporal association between the 12 subjects’ initial symptoms, particularly given that some of them had had evidence of symptoms before they received the MMR. (You can read Deer’s report for the details.) I like to remember one thing, too, when reading this assertion by Brian Deer:

Drawing on interviews, documents, and properly obtained data, collected during seven years of inquiries, we show how one man, former gastroenterology researcher Andrew Wakefield, was able to manufacture the appearance of a purported medical syndrome, whilst not only in receipt of large sums of money, but also scheming businesses that promised him more. His was a fraud, moreover, of more than academic vanity. It unleashed fear, parental guilt, costly government intervention, and outbreaks of infectious disease.

Remember, this was published in The BMJ, which is published the UK, a nation with very plaintiff-friendly libel laws. You can bet that it was all extensively documented and vetted by The BMJ‘s lawyers before publication. As an aside, seeing The BMJ‘s bravery in publishing this 12 years ago compared to The BMJ‘s embrace of COVID-19 disinformation-spreaders like Paul Thacker and its now longtime senior editor Peter Doshi depresses me, leading me to ask, “WTF happened?” Let’s just say that The BMJ has gone way downhill over the last 12 years.

The BMJ‘s decline aside, it didn’t take long for the fear that MMR causes autism to cause MMR uptake in the UK and Europe to plummet, with the return of massive measles outbreaks. Fortunately, the MMR fear mongering didn’t have quite as marked an effect in the US, although over here fear mongering based on the false hypothesis that mercury in the thimerosal preservative used in childhood vaccines until around 2001 was a major cause of autism.

In any event, after his being struck off in 2010 and Deer’s documentation of the fraud at the heart of his Lancet case series, Wakefield went the only route that he could and became even more of an antivax campaigner and conspiracy theorist. For example, in 2014 he popularized the “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory claiming that the CDC had “hidden” evidence that MMR caused autism. Two years later, the “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory became the basis of the antivax documentary VAXXED that he made with Del Bigtree. On can obviously see the parallels in the age of COVID-19, with COVID-19 and antivax propaganda movies having come fast and furious, beginning with Plandemic in 2020 and continuing to movies like Died Suddenly. Meanwhile, Wakefield had movies made about him like The Pathological Optimist, which basically portrayed him as the brave maverick doctor who stuck to his guns in face of criticism and sanctions by the medical community.

Wakefield pioneered much the template used by COVID quacks

As 2022 dawned, I noted how everything old is new again and there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to COVID-19 quackery and antivax quackery. Of course, if you consider only the details of the claims made by quacks and antivaxxers about COVID-19, that’s not entirely true, but if you look at the broader narratives of antivaxxers it most certainly is. Basically, every antivax narrative about COVID-19 fits into the common antivax narrative themes that existed before the pandemic, and Andrew Wakefield helped amplify nearly all of them. This is all the more impressive given that in 1998 social media didn’t exist and the Internet, in particular the World Wide Web, was still in its infancy and Wakefield relied primarily on old media, in particular the UK tabloid press, to spread his message.

Another part of the antivax template that you have to have to be an effective quack is an “alternative” to current vaccinations. You might recall that at first Wakefield had his own separate measles vaccine and mostly only demonized the combined MMR vaccine. You might also recall that, like any good quack, Wakefield had a dubious component in that vaccine, which he tried to patent. Specifically, Wakefield was going to use something called transfer factor in his new vaccine to “boost immunity.” Basically, transfer factor is pure quackery thought up by Hugh Fudenberg. For those of you who haven’t heard of him before, the late Hugh Fudenberg was a collaborator and co-inventor with Andrew Wakefield. Dr. Fudenberg also happens to have been involved in some very dubious “treatments” for autism that led to some problems with his medical license.

Does any of this sound familiar? Let’s take a look. In the early aughts, Wakefield left the UK and moved to Texas, where in 2005 he co-founded Thoughtful House Center for Children, which was a quack clinic in which he served as Medical Director and, although he didn’t treat patients himself, developed “protocols” to treat autism and “autistic enterocolitis” based on the concept that they were caused by MMR vaccine “injury.” There, an American gastroenterologist Dr. Arthur Krigsman did what Andrew Wakefield could not do because he did not have a Texas medical license, namely treating children with autism with quackery for “gut issues” and performing colonoscopies. Interestingly, after Brian Deer’s reporting on Wakefield’s fraud, Wakefield and Krigsman both left Thoughtful House, Wakefield not voluntarily, Krigsman, well, it’s not so certain. In any event Thoughtful House was a quack clinic in which Krigsman treated autistic children with “autism biomed” with Wakefield’s “guidance” (given that he couldn’t legally provide direct medical treatment to anyone) based on the idea that MMR vaccine and other vaccines cause autism and “autistic enterocolitis.”

Wakefield’s fingerprints are all over the current crop COVID-19 quacks. Just take a look at, for example, American’s Frontline Doctors (AFLDS), none of whom were ever really frontline, but all of whom were into the selling of all manner of quackery, including an ivermectin telehealth prescription mill and then later degenerated into legal wrangling between quacks and grifters over control of the organization. Then there’s arguably the most famous group of COVID-19 quacks, Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC). Basically, FLCCC is a group of quacks co-founded by Dr. Pierre Kory promote ivermectin, although the FLCCC promotes more than just ivermectin. For instance, FLCCC promotes protocols such as the I-MASS protocol, touted as an “in-home” treatment protocol for COVID-19 that involves vitamin D3, melatonin, aspirin, a multivitamin, a thermometer, and an antiseptic mouthwash. Another FLCCC protocol is I-MASK+, which is promoted as an outpatient treatment protocol and involves ivermectin, zinc, melatonin, various vitamins, and fluvoxamine. The FLCCC’s most “advanced” protocol is MATH+, a hospital treatment protocol that involves—of course!—ivermectin, plus zinc, fluvoxamine, and a bunch of other vitamins and supplements, along with steroids and anticoagulants. None of these protocols has anything resembling solid evidence from randomized clinical trials to support it. Reading through these protocols, I get very much a Wakefieldian autism biomed vibe, as FLCCC throws everything but the kitchen sink at COVID-19.

Like Wakefield and other autism biomed quacks who sought to cure autism by “detoxing” vaccine injury, FLCCC also has a protocol to treat “postvaccine syndrome,” because of course it does. It even includes a lot of old school antivax “treatments” for autism and “vaccine injury”:

First Line Therapies (Not symptom specific; listed in order of importance)
  • Intermittent daily fasting or periodic daily fasts
  • Ivermectin
  • Moderating physical activity
  • Low-dose naltrexone
  • Nattokinase
  • Aspirin
  • Melatonin
  • Magnesium
  • Methylene blue
  • Sunlight and Photobiomodulation
  • Resveratrol
Probiotics/Prebiotics/Adjunctive/Second-Line Therapies (Listed in order of importance)
  • Vitamin D (with Vitamin K2)
  • N-acetyl cysteine
  • Cardio Miracle™ and L-arginine/L-citrulline supplements
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Sildenafil (with or without L-arginine- L-citrulline)
  • Nigella sativa
  • Vitamin C
  • Spermidine
  • Non-invasive brain stimulation
  • Intravenous Vitamin C
  • Behavioral modification, relaxation therapy, mindfulness therapy, and psychological support
Third Line Therapies
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  • Low Magnitude Mechanical Stimulation
  • “Mitochondrial energy optimizer”
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Low-dose corticosteroid

Intravenous vitamin C? Vitamin D? “Mitochondrial energy optimizer”? Hyperbaric oxygen? Regulars probably remember all of these showing up in autism biomed quackery at one time or another. Similar to other autism quacks, FLCCC has of late branched out and billed its quackery as able to treat other conditions.

Wakefield also pioneered the use of patients who thought they had been injured by vaccines (or, in the case of autistic children, their parents) as weapons against attempts to hold him accountable. We saw it at his GMC hearings. We saw it in the reaction of his followers and fans. However, this was not unique to Wakefield, of course. Stanislaw Burzynski had been doing this since the early 1990s. He also perfected the art of playing the persecuted genius, suffering because he is supposedly so brilliant and far ahead of his peers.

Even so, if I had to think of one thing that Wakefield “pioneered” that we’ve seen more than anything else during the pandemic, it’s the weaponization of bad scientific studies. None of what I mentioned above, the quackery, the grift, the self-portrayal as the persecuted genius, the use of the media of the time to promote his quackery, was truly unique. However, his Lancet case series was truly the original template that antivaxxers quickly imitated to churn out bad study after bad study over the years to demonize vaccines and tout their quackery, occasionally, like Wakefield, managing to publish in a highly reputable journal. In the age of the pandemic, arguably more quacks than ever are publishing more papers than ever in an attempt to produce the next one with Wakefield-level influence to grift on.

Indeed, one thing that did not surprise me about the pandemic is just how many “old school” antivaxxers quickly pivoted to become COVID-19 conspiracy theorists and then, when COVID-19 vaccines arrived, COVID-19 antivaxxers. Many of them profited more than ever before. (Joe Mercola, Del Bigtree, and RFK Jr. immediately come to mind.) What did surprise me is that Wakefield was not one of them. Sure, he did seem to try, but it didn’t seem to resonate the way that his fear mongering about MMR vaccines and autism did. I can only speculate that perhaps this is because 25 years ago Wakefield was indeed a “pioneer” of antivaccine fear mongering and quackery, as well as of using the scientific literature to promote pseudoscience and misinformation. Now, he is just one of many, some of whom have far surpassed him. I also suspect that his arrogance got in the way and that he couldn’t conceive of not being able to garner attention easily. Moreover, his idea about MMR resulting in ever more deadly variants of measles was clearly a major inspiration of the many antivax variants claiming that COVID-19 vaccines will cause ever more virulent COVID variants.

Whatever the reason for the disconnect, there is no doubt that Wakefield was trailblazer in the antivaccine world. Unfortunately, that means he is a pioneer in causing unnecessary death on a mass scale.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

41 replies on “Andrew Wakefield 25 years later: Paving the way for FLCCC and COVID quacks”

Orac writes,

“…he laid down a template that antivax quacks today still follow.”

MJD say,

Bernard Rimland…. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Rimland

Dr. Rimland’s great accomplishment was to refute the idea of “refrigerator mothers” and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Thank you, Bernard Rimland!

LOL, a film by Massimo Mazzucco.

Mazzucco suffers from a severe case of crank magnetism. He has made films promoting conspiracies about cancer (including bicarbonate cures cancer alternative cancer treatments all cure cancer, but are being suppressed), the assassination of RFK (Sihan didnt do it), 9/11 (it was a false flag), the Moon landings (they were fake) and UFOs (the lizard people really rule the Earth).

His ravings about the Wakefield case are not to be trusted. In fact the truth will be opposite of what Mazzucco claims.

Any claim that ‘Wakefield was right’ would probably be based on little more that guesswork.

Do you know that Wakefield sued Deer for defamation and lost ? No in England but Texas, strangely.

Wakefield earlier sued Deer for defamation in England and lostwithdrew the case at the last moment before it went to court, because he would have lost.

Do you know that Wakefield sued Deer for defamation and lost ?

The unfortunate part for the peanut gallery (as distinguished from the defendant) is that the anti-SLAPP was never reached.

And Wakefield still remains struck off the UK medical register and unable to practice medicine and sill knows bog all about autism.

“So I guess Wakefield was right all along.”

Well, Mick, since you are convinced by the results of a study involving twelve people, carried out by someone receiving money to produce the ‘desired’ results……

…….I guess science just got a lot less onerous for Big Pharma.

Andy’s Wikipedia bio ends without highlighting his more recent activities so I will:
after VAXXED‘s spectacular debut at the Tribeca Film Festival, he created the Crystal Clear Film Foundation ( CCFF) in 2017. a 501 c3 non profit corporation in Texas (crystalclearfilms.org) to produce “educational” and “documentary” films:
” 100% of Your Donations Directly Fund Films Exposing Truth in Science, Health and Medicine”…
causeiq.com and non-profitlight.com illustrate money involved, personnel and funding sources
1986: The Act ( 7th Chakra Films website) was another film he directed and sold on his website.
Fun facts:
Andy divorced his wife and later dated model Elle McPherson for a while
Jake Crosby was a production assistant on 1986: The Act

Jake Crosby? Now there’s a blast from the past! It’s been a few years—at least—since I’ve paid any attention to him. He’s got to be around 30 years old (if not older) by now, I would think, given that he was in high school (IIRC) in 2009, which was the year I first took notice of him over at Age of Autism.

I’ve found a little over the past few years.
Today I googled ( binged) ‘Jacob Crosby epidemiologist Florida’ and got:
govsalaries.com Jacob Lawrence Crosby- his full name- as working for the Health Department Florida for 42K USD.
So maybe had to scrub the net to get a real job!

Months ago, there was something somewhere about him working for RFK jr’s CHD
and the film job with Andy ( Brandeis magazine).
I know he worked for the Donald for get voters 2016
If anyone is a Linked In member, there is more behind that wall. He lives with his mother in Ponte Vedra near Jacksonville, FL.

Working for the Florida Health department right now could be the equivalent of being a crank.

Dr. Fudenberg also happens to have been involved in some very dubious “treatments” for autism that led to some problems with his medical license.

Link’s dead (and Wayback Machine search doesn’t seem to be playing nice with my emergency backup machine).

Having been still living in the UK when he first announced his ‘findings’ (sic), I think you missed one of the majour factors in how he became such a darling of the AV cult, namely the Daily Mail and a few other populist tabloids, who ran this as front page news seemingly for years. The more it was pushed by a scientifically illiterate media the more it percolated through to credibility in many peoples minds. Questions at PMQ’s, debated on the BBC Question time and many many interviews with Dr’s having to endure the usual media nonsense of ‘tonight we discus MMR with Dr soenso, and on the other side, an idiot’.

The coverage he received made him famous to the general public, he was well known, so it was easy for him to pivot to victim of the medical establishment and maverick truth teller on the back of 12 years of the press giving his ideas a ready platform, here in the UK at least.

This was all started in the late 90’s before the likes of FOX, OAN, GB NEWS and Newmax came along and swapped reporting the news to peddling propaganda.

And most of our lovely media who pushed this story have never apologised or retracted. IIRC, Private Eye is the only journal which did.

I think that Private Eye’s coverage was heavily influenced by Paul Foot (now deceased), whose campaigning journalism had led to some notable successes (eg eventual overturning of the Bridgewater 4 convictions). He worked for Private Eye on & off for many years. He was temperamentally inclined to disbelieve “official” narratives.

Andy’s influence has extended far beyond medical issues into the world of international sport:
Novak Djokovic, currently #1, has been denied a waiver from Homeland Security because of his vaccination status for events in California and Florida.
He missed many tournaments since the pandemic began because of shutdowns and his unvaccinated status although Australia allowed him to play and win.
He’s obviously a great player and has a charity in his native country but he DOES seem to have contracted various woo-fraught ideas about diet and training. Alright, athletes can be ridiculously superstitious but vax phobia?
He withdrew from California but I understand that a certain Florida senator is taking up his cause to play there.
Always Florida. It’s always Florida.

It is better to miss a couple of tournaments than to die of a heart attack or VAIDS, or having heart performance reduced by 2.5%.

Novak missed Australian Open. Was it a big deal? Not really.

He won the next one. Winning the last Australian Open against vaccinated players became easier for Novak, for some reason.

I refused the Covid vaccine and as a result, I was denied entry into Chicago restaurants like a dirty dog. The nonsense ended in a few months, but I ended up the winner, a healthy unvaccinated person. But I have not forgotten the evil that was done to me.

Newsweek is now calling for “investigations” and “apologies” in an opinion piece titled “America’s COVID response was based on lies”. I will do my best to ensure that wrongdoers are appropriately punished.

A little more digging after dinner revealed this gem:

https://www.npr.org/2020/11/30/940376041/dr-scott-atlas-special-coronavirus-adviser-to-trump-resigns

Dr. Scott Atlas, Special Coronavirus Adviser To Trump, Resigns

“Atlas, who is not an infectious disease expert and whose brief stint was marred by blunders and controversy, was tapped by the Trump administration to serve as special adviser to the president in August. Since then, “the MRI guy” has repeatedly been at odds with the nation’s leading health officials regarding his views on how to combat the spread of the virus, including members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.”

The jokes write themselves.

How do you hide $100 from a radiologist?

Put it in an exam room.

Da-dunk

The only thing I want to hear from him about covid is if my patient has ground-glass opacities.

I looked up that opinion piece and gave it a quick read. The list of the “10 biggest falsehoods” would make good material for some Oracian Insolence. The absolutist phrasing alone makes them obvious strawman arguments.

They really should have swapped the picture of Dr Birx at the podium for the one of her visibly cringing as she sat at the side of the stage while her boss, President Trump, babbled on about injecting bleach and shining lights inside people’s bodies to kill the virus.

But I’ll note a couple points. One of his references is to a paper by someone at the Blavatnik Centre at Oxford where they used some ginned up metric based on total deaths, not Covid-19 deaths, to show that Sweden didn’t do so bad after all. FWIW, Sweden and Norway are showing about the same number of cased per 100K but Sweden has 236 deaths per 100K compared to just under 100 for Norway.

Another reference is a Stat editorial by John Ioannidis from March 17, 2020 where he calls Covid-19 “a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco”. I second his complaint that most countries at that time “lack the ability to test a large number of people and no countries have reliable data on the prevalence of the virus in a representative random sample of the general population.”.

But Ioannidis was speculating based mainly on the Diamond Princess data that

the real death rate could stretch from five times lower (0.025%) to five times higher (0.625%).

Adding these extra sources of uncertainty, reasonable estimates for the case fatality ratio in the general U.S. population vary from 0.05% to 1%.

Three years later the U.S. as a whole is running at a PFR of 0.34% with a CFR of 1.09%. Making a guess at the rate of unreported cases and reinfections, that makes the IFR somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.2-0.3%. And that is with most of the cases happening in people with prior immunity from vaccination or previous infection.

And he gripes about California’s handling of the pandemic without noting that California only has about 260 death per 100K compared with 340 for the U.S. as a whole or over 400 for Florida and the 6 low Vax states.

But my real question for Scott Atlas would be,
OK. Now that practically all the U.S. population has immunity from infection or vaccination or both, when are we going to start seeing the benefits of that “herd immunity” you and your buddies were calling for three years ago?

And more importantly, instead of trying to relitigate the past and shift the blame to Birx and Fauci (because OF COURSE you and Trump always followed their best and most current recommendations to the letter, right?), what should we be doing now to protect people from this now endemic disease? Is there anything useful we can do to at least get the daily death count down from over 300 to maybe less than 100???

Look, they don’t even let clean dogs into restaurants, unless they’re service dogs.

And your perception that Novak won the Australian match more easily than before (a) is subjective and (b) could be due to any of a huge range of factors.

The Newsweek piece was by Scott Atlas of the Hoover institute, and does not reflect the edtitorial position of Newsweek.

Are your arguments always this flimsy?

@ Igor:

Do you really think that ND won because he was unvaccinated and other players were vaccinated?
He may be the greatest men’s player ever. His 2 longtime rivals were out ( retirement, injury); a new highly ranked rival was also injured.
He won many titles before Covid happened. He trains religiously.
Why should vaccines be an issue?

But I have not forgotten the evil that was done to me.

You did not have evil done to you you dolt: you were prevented from entering a restaurant because you wouldn’t follow rules. The only thing that happened was that your enormous sense of privilege was dented.

If you weren’t such an ignorant a-hole about matters involving science and health you would realize that.

I will do my best to ensure that wrongdoers are appropriately punished.

You are the only wrongdoer in your story: what are you going to do, lock yourself in your room and stomp your feet?

“I refused the Covid vaccine and as a result, I was denied entry into Chicago restaurants like a dirty dog. The nonsense ended in a few months, but I ended up the winner, a healthy unvaccinated person. But I have not forgotten the evil that was done to me.”

Worst. Origin story. Ever.

Tried to give you the benefit of the doubt, Igor. Because I was curious I looked into your VAIDS claim. ZERO literature. Just a bunch of losers on Twitter. I found one of our infectious disease docs today and asked-there is no such thing as VAIDS. Not now, not before, not at all. Not for this vaccine or any that ever existed.

I dug back into the literature. As suspected, there is zero evidence that any vaccine now or ever caused immune deficiency. Quite the opposite, actually. Your ilk’s argument about autoimmune vaccine-derived coronary vessel damage is pretty hilarious when you say it causes immune deficiency in the next sentence. Get your pathophysiology straight.

You guys made that shit up out of whole cloth because it sounds like AIDS and sounds scary. Pretty lame. Not even clever. I give it a 3/10 for effort and creativity.

By the way, thanks for forcing me to interact with that particular doc; he still doesn’t like me because several HIV patients see me for their care as their PCP so that brief conversation was fun.

Speaking of “the evil that was done” to Igor when his unvaccinated self couldn’t get into certain restaurants:

The Nashville hat shop that sold yellow stars with the word “unvaccinated” for vax Holocaust victims to wear, apparently fell victim to “cancel culture” and currently isn’t advertising them on its website.

Good news for Igor though: they offer a unique “clowns everywhere” hat that would be perfect for him. A steal at only $799.

https://www.hatwrks.com/

Australia allowed him to play and win.

At the time that Djokovic applied for entry to Australia for the 2023 Australian Open, which he won, the rules had changed (for everyone) from when he was denied entry to play in the 2022 Australian Open.

Oh, I know: I wanted to state it in a few words- sorry if I misled. I figured that most readers would recall the 2022 debacle with the old rules when he was denied a visa which made general – not sporting- news.

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