You’ve probably seen or heard about the Plandemic video. It reaches many conclusions that have zero scientific support and are dangerous. It features a widely-discredited scientist named Judy Mikovits. You can read more about Mikovits’s history of falsifying data in this Nature piece and in this Science piece. The website Snopes also debunks other claims she’s made.
Again, this new video makes many false claims. But it’s a bit hard to pinpoint what exactly is untrue. Some conclusions seem to have a basis in science. Other ideas make just a bit of sense. Unfortunately, the video’s untrue claims are dangerous because they could harm your health or your family’s health.
Our goal at COVID-101 is to simplify the science so you don’t have to. Here are rebuttals to just a few of the false claims made in the Plandemic video.
False claim #1: The novel coronavirus was manipulated or lab-made.
Truth: Genetic science allows us to understand how and when viruses emerge. Analyses by trusted scientists at Tulane University and Scripps Research clearly demonstrates that the virus occurred naturally. You can read the scientific paper here.
False claim #2: Hospitals falsely attribute deaths to COVID to get more money from Medicare.
Truth: Of course it costs a lot of money to care for COVID patients. Many are hospitalized for weeks and require specialized care like being on a ventilator. But there is no indication that hospitals are inflating their COVID case counts. Snopes and Politifact do further fact-checking on this point.
False claim #3: Hydroxychloroquine is effective.
Truth: This drug has been studied extensively, but for malaria (a parasite)—not for COVID (a respiratory virus). Several doctors here at COVID-101 have reviewed the evidence on this, and they are keeping up with new clinical trials. Unfortunately, so far there’s no science to support the idea that hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment for COVID. Given the drug’s side effects, it’s dangerous to take it without a doctor’s supervision.
False claim #4: The flu vaccine increases your risk of COVID.
Truth: The CDC has concluded that the flu shot will not make you more vulnerable to other respiratory infections. The video’s claim of 36% comes from a single, short study that focused on the common cold (which is sometimes caused by different coronaviruses) in Department of Defense personnel. However, another, longer study over six years could not confirm those results. Doctors and scientists usually trust longer, larger studies over smaller, shorter ones because the results are more reliable.
The flu shot will not make you more likely to get a respiratory virus. But we know for sure that not getting the flu vaccine means you’re more likely to get sick with the flu. Factcheck.org also debunks this claim.
False claim #5: “All flu vaccines contain coronaviruses”.
Truth: Flu vaccines do not contain coronaviruses. Flu vaccines are made in one of two ways: a) using inactivated (killed) influenza viruses; or b) using only one gene from the influenza virus. Neither of these things can make you sick. And neither of these components are related to the coronavirus family of viruses.
False claim #6: Wearing a mask can make you sick and cause hypoxia.
Truth: Many jobs require that people wear masks on a daily basis (think about painters, mechanics, nurses, and doctors). Generally, healthy people don’t experience any issues with them. Even if it feels a bit harder to breathe, wearing a cloth covering for a short period will not hurt you. If you are infected with the new coronavirus, wearing a mask will not “trigger” it, nor will it affect whether or for how long you feel sick.
False claim #7: Staying home will weaken our immune systems without enough exposure to microbes.
Truth: You already have an immune system. You don’t need to ride the bus or wander around in public every day to keep your immune system functioning. The immune system is like your brain, it has a memory. Even though we haven’t seen our extended family and friends for a few months, we’ll still recognize them when we see them again. Your immune system remembers diseases the same way.
This is a tough time, and we’re all looking for answers. So it’s understandable that videos like this, which look professional and seem to provide those answers (albeit false ones) can go viral. But it’s more important than ever to investigate the facts and to resist the spread of false information. Here is a thoughtful article from Tara Haelle, a science and public health writer, with advice about how to push back.
Science review: GSN, JAB
Last updated: May 8, 2020 at 12:07 pm ET