Polled opposition to receiving a Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S. and other countries is amazingly high given that no such vaccine even exists yet, nor has one been designated. Only a small part of this can be attributed to any “traditional” vaccine opposition, which was always a small if vocal minority.
Part can be attributed to correct thinking that hastily-developed vaccines, such as the rushed “swine flu” shot in 1976 are simply a bad idea. Notwithstanding that the basic process of developing and growing flu vaccines goes back many decades, that particularly one authorized by a panicky Pres. Gerald Ford (He was told the country might be facing a new “Spanish Flu”) left paralysis and apparently some deaths in its wake before being halted. So a vaccine development program with the name “Operation Warp Speed” isn’t going to inspire much confidence.
Part surely is that many vaccine recipients will be at very low risk of the disease themselves. The risk of coronavirus for the young is “staggeringly low,” as the UK’s top statistician has put it. We would have to appeal to the vast majority who are at tiny risk to help protect the miniscule minority who are at higher risk. The vast majority of Covid-19 infections at any age end with recovery. And not “high” per se, just higher. And often because of lifestyle choices like obesity.
But part must be an overall lack of confidence in those behind development and promotion of the vaccine to report anything truthful about the virus rather than seek out clicks and parrot designated “experts” who tend to strongly favor authoritarian measures. Witness the creation and perpetuation of the sub-genre of pandemic porn, the coronavirus or Covid-19 “parties” urban legend.
This doesn’t mean holding a party with more people than lockdown ordinances allowed, such as that which just landed a Maryland man a year in the pen. Or attending church services, as with one alleged coronavirus party victim who died. It means intentionally getting exposed to the virus a la pox parties of previous generations or getting exposed to someone who only allegedly has the virus because the disease is an outright hoax.
And don’t just blame these stories on revenue-generating MSM click-baiting. Public health agencies and hospitals are willing participants. “Washington State Department of Health officials are alarmed by reports of ‘coronavirus parties’ in which uninfected people are mingling with COVID-19 positive individuals to try to contract the virus,” the agency declared.
The explanations for such alleged gatherings vary. Sometimes it’s a love of risk, a Pamplona Running of the Bulls at a rather lower level if you will. Sometimes it’s sneering at authorities perceived as, well, authoritarian.
Yet time and again, investigations of such claimed events (or a mere reading of articles about the alleged events) reveal that while individual pieces may be correct, the story as a whole cannot withstand scrutiny. There may be an illegal gathering; there may be people who got sick after attending parties; there may even be people who died after saying “I wish I hadn’t gone to that gathering without a mask.” But parties to intentionally get infected or flaunt “the hoax?” It appears not. As with Bigfoot, there are lots of claimed sightings but somehow “Hairy” keeps evading cell phone cameras.
Indeed, according to one of the original Bigfoot debunkers, Dr. Robert Bartholomew, medical sociologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. “Most ‘Covid parties’ appear to be nothing more than gatherings of restless youths who inadvertently acquire the virus.”
The coronavirus party narratives follow a general pattern. In fact, they’re just too similar. The basic conceit is a person dies “of complications from Covid-19” but just before doing so they admit they attended a Covid party or in any case did something to offend God such as declaring the pandemic to be a hoax. And the Lord God was displeased and did mightily smite them for their blasphemy.
Thus the Gray Lady informed us, “A 30-year-old man who believed the coronavirus was a hoax and attended a “Covid party” died after being infected with the virus, according to the chief medical officer at a Texas hospital.” According to the Times, “In her statements to news organizations, [the chief medical officer for the hospital] said the man had told his nurse that he attended a Covid party. Just before he died, she said the patient told his nurse: ‘I think I made a mistake. I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not.’”
The alternative name for “urban legend” is “friend of a friend story” and we have it right there. The patient didn’t tell the chief medical officer, he allegedly told a nurse. From whom we’ll never hear of course for privacy reasons. For the same reason we don’t get the alleged patient’s name.
This is true in all of these death-bed confessional stories. A hospital spokesman did vouch for the chief medical officer, but of course the chief medical officer wasn’t there. This is the fallacy of circular reasoning: Fred vouches for Joe who vouches for Sam who vouches for Fred. All that said, if we refuse to have faith we’re conspiracy theorists. We may as well be saying Covid-19 is caused by 5G towers designed in a Wuhan laboratory by Chinese bats.
In the most extreme alleged instances, the victims were also perpetrators, exposing and perhaps killing others. Maybe even a spouse. “Man Who Believed Virus Was Hoax Loses Wife to Covid-19,” declared BBB.com of an apostate Florida taxi driver. In fact, the wife was clearly among the vast majority of “Covid victims” who died with the disease rather than of. In the attached photo she’s morbidly obese and the article relates she suffered heart disease that was the proximate cause of mortality.
By the way, the writer of the article is identified as a “specialist disinformation reporter.” Indeed!
Mind, other reporters sometimes admit that, well, something doesn’t seem quite right here. Go back to the Gray Lady Tall Texas Tale. The very subhead reads: “Health Experts Have Been Skeptical That Such Parties Occur, And Details of This Case Could Not Be Independently Confirmed.” Then why is there an article below? How about “Godzilla Destroys Tokyo:” Experts are Skeptical that the Massive Fire-Breathing Lizard Exists?”
All this in turn leads to social media blaming and shaming, virtual signaling and all that blah.
It’s not that we haven’t been here before. During the AIDS epidemic a story making the rounds since 1986 concerned a man who woke up after inviting a prostitute to his home only to find “Welcome to the world of AIDS!” written on his mirror. Depending on the version, he later developed the disease. As if anybody would know. The myth-busting site Snopes relates the tale of “AIDS Mary.”
Notes Skeptical Inquirer deputy editor Ben Radford, “In February 2003 Rolling Stone magazine published an article about ‘bug chasers,’ men who try to become infected with HIV/AIDS by having unprotected sex with men known to be infected.” Writes Bradford, “An article titled ‘In Search of Death’ claimed that trying to become infected with AIDS was a new craze sweeping the country. It featured an interview with an anonymous man, a 32-year-old New York City resident named ‘Carlos,’ who claimed to be one of many thousands of people intentionally spreading the deadly disease.”
In fact, just as today’s media want us to believe that “defiant” gatherings such as spring break beach parties and Trump rallies lead to massive spread of coronavirus, the 2003 Rolling Stone article “not only claimed that the practice was going on, but also that it was a significant contributor to the AIDS epidemic, with a startling 25% of all new HIV infections in gay men caused by bug chasing—that is, people who wanted to get the virus.”
(Indeed, repeatedly we’ve seen startling figures from the media on Covid-19 infections supposedly from a single event, albeit not “coronavirus parties.” In one instance, supposedly 260,000 were infected at a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota from a total of 460,000 attendees. Turns out it was just another one of those odious Covid “models” for which the bottom figure was zero infections.)
But once bitten, twice shy. To its credit, this time around Rolling Stone ran an article saying Covid parties are probably “BS,” offering an explanation. The stories go “viral for the same reason that all social distancing-shaming content does: it gives people cooped up in their homes a reason to pat themselves on the back and congratulate themselves for their own sacrifices.”
But such stories also give people a reason to distrust absolutely anything coronavirus-related. They’ve watched as politicians have issued orders based on pressure from the media and public health zealots who refuse to obey their own dictates, whether it’s world lockdown architect Neil Ferguson having sex at his home with his married girlfriend while quarantined for actually being infected or the infamous photos of Dr. Anthony Fauci sandwiched between two other people at a baseball game with his mask protecting his throat. They’ve watched as the goalposts have moved lockdowns of a few weeks to “flatten the curve” to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed to sometimes permanent institutions simply to stretch out infections even while the best strategy may be to do exactly the opposite and expose people just as quickly as possible. But ordering vaccines that theoretically may kill or cause permanent harm is a whole new level. The autocrats need to try to regain the public’s confidence. Telling the truth would be a good start.