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Anti-Maskers, Anti-Vaxxers & Trump's Insane Anti-Science Legacy

There have always been people who are quick to reject science and latch onto outlandish conspiracy theories, but the Trump era is something quite different. Our former President mainstreamed insanity. He was the poster child for anti-science disinformation and our pandemic death toll is his lasting legacy.

For months, Trump downplayed the efficacy of mask mandates, social distancing, and stay at home orders, with deadly consequences. His supporters took his lead to claim that laws aimed at preventing the spread of the virus were in fact part of some deep state government conspiracy to take away our rights. "Today, it's masks. What new mandate waits for us tomorrow? We do not need to cover our face to make someone else feel comfortable."

Yikes! And, to make matters worse...

New Yorker: "Misinformation about the virus has been a staple of both the Trump Administration’s messaging and much of the junk science found on the Internet. Now, that misinformation will intersect with an American public that is already somewhat skeptical about vaccines, potentially imperiling the effort to get a sufficient number of Americans vaccinated."

The New York Times reported recently that many of the people spreading lies about voter fraud have switched their messaging to the dangers of vaccines, including Trump's wacky lawyer Sidney Powell and GOP/QAnon Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia. They join a long list of anti-vaxxers who have opposed vaccinations for decades and have now taken aim at the coronavirus vaccines.

New York Times: "Among their misleading notions is the idea that the vaccines are delivered with a microchip or bar code to keep track of people, as well as a lie that the vaccines will hurt everyone’s health (the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna have been proved to be more than 94 percent effective in trials, with minimal side effects). Falsehoods about Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist who supports vaccines, have also increased, with rumors that he is responsible for the coronavirus and that he stands to profit from a vaccine, according to data from media insights company Zignal Labs."

Meanwhile, back on planet earth, President Joe Biden is attempting to ramp up vaccinations against the coronavirus, but these anti-vax activists are promoting ever-more bizarre conspiracy theories on social media designed to undermine the effort to end the pandemic.

Physicians News Service: "Anti-vaccine groups are exploiting the suffering and death of people who happen to fall ill after receiving a covid shot, threatening to undermine the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history."
"In some cases, anti-vaccine activists are fabricating stories of deaths that never occurred.
“This is exactly what anti-vaccine groups do,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, an infectious diseases specialist and author of “Preventing the Next Pandemic: Vaccine Diplomacy in a Time of Anti-Science.”
"Anti-vaccine groups have falsely claimed for decades that childhood vaccines cause autism, weaving fantastic conspiracy theories involving government, Big Business and the media."
"Now, the same groups are blaming patients’ coincidental medical problems on covid shots, even when it’s clear that age or underlying health conditions are to blame, Hotez said. “They will sensationalize anything that happens after someone gets a vaccine and attribute it to the vaccine,” Hotez said."

And this is just part of the anti-vaxxer playbook as Scott Guvera recently explained in a piece for Science Based

Science Based There are three key messages identified by the CCDH that are overlapping and common across these different speakers. They are recurrent and you will see them, in some form, in almost all anti-COVID-19-vaccine messaging:

  1. COVID-19 is not dangerous. Talking points: There are few deaths, and death reports are exaggerated. “It’s just the flu.” “It will just go away on its own.”

  2. COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous. Talking points: “The vaccines were rushed.” “The vaccines are killing people.” “Natural” immunity is better. Other treatments (e.g., hydroxychloroquine) are safer and better. “Vaccines are toxic.” “Vaccines will change your DNA/destroy your immune system.” etc. etc.

  3. Vaccine advocates cannot be trusted. Talking points: “It’s politics over health.” “It’s Big Pharma profits over health.” Vaccines are “too big to fail” and manufacturers are “not liable for injuries.” “Bill Gates! Bill Gates! Bill Gates!”

Various surveys over the two months have found that about 40% of Americans may refuse to get vaccinated and that's a problem for all of us. We need to reopen America safely and that won't happen if many of us are caught up in the anti-vaccination madness.

Get vaccinated, and until then, wear the damn mask.

#coronavirus #news #vaccinations #science

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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