Professor of Epidemiology: Plandemic is ‘Utter Crap’

Note: This article was originally written as a Reddit comment in response to the documentary, ‘Plandemic’ being shared in r/Documentaries Subreddit forum. I did not write this, I am merely the messenger.

I’m a doctor, and I also have extensive training in public health. I also teach biostatistics and epidemiology. I finished watching this video, and it’s utter crap. But you don’t have to take my word for it, a simple google search of any of her claims will show she is either intentionally lying or promoting a crackpot conspiracy theory.

To save everyone the trouble, here are her claims debunked in order.

The filmmaker claims Dr. Judy Mikovitz is one of the greatest experts in the world, but that’s false. She’s famous for being an anti-vaxxer and kook. She pushes conspiracy theories of Deep State and Big Pharma working together to create a pandemic. She was fired for falsifying research data and trying to pass it off as valid and was arrested for theft of stem cells from the institute she worked in. (Was that footage of a police raid even of her? I doubt it.) There’s a longer bio on her Wiki page,

The story of the rivalry between Dr. Gallo and Dr. Montagnier in the rush for HIV research is a well-known story about scientists in competition with one another, and while it was a scandal in the 1980s (one scientist selfishly undermined the other), it doesn’t support any of her points. It’s not relevant to the story, except she wants to try to paint Dr. Fauci in a bad light by falsely associating him with them and with an anecdote only she claims to have witnessed.

Dr. Gallo and Dr. Montagnier

Dr. Fauci was one of the leading researchers during the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. He and his team of researchers began looking for a vaccine or treatment for the newly-discovered HIV, though they would meet a number of obstacles such as the F.D.A. In October 1988 protesters came to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci, who had become the institute’s director in 1984, bore the brunt of the anger from the LGBTQ community, who felt ignored by the government. At the time, famous AIDS activist Larry Kramer attacked Fauci relentlessly in the media. He called him an “incompetent idiot” and a “pill-pushing” tool of the medical establishment. Fauci did not have control over drug approval or any pull in the FDA’s process, though at the time many people still felt he was not doing enough as his relatively high rank in the NIH. Fauci did make an effort in the late 1980s to reach out to the gay community in New York and San Francisco to find ways he and the NIAI could find a solution. Though Fauci was first criticized for his treatment of the AIDS epidemic, his work in the community was eventually acknowledged and even Kramer himself, who spent years hating Fauci for his treatment of the HIV/AIDS epidemic now calls him “the only true and great hero” among government officials in the AIDS crisis.

In 1980 the Bayh-Dole Act allowed universities to patent and profit from research developed in their labs. New York University had $157 million in research-related income on $210 million in research and development expenditures. It brought us Remicade, a rheumatoid arthritis drug developed along with Centocor and Johnson & Johnson. This act allowed universities to expand research. The Act may be problematic in some ways but not connected to the issue here and not the source of the problem. She’s bringing it up to push her narrative that this virus and vaccine are all motivated by money.

Dr. Judy Mikovitz featured as a keynote speaker at an anti-vax conference

She claims to be not-anti vaccine in the same way David Duke claims he is not a racist. In the same breath, she says vaccines will kill millions. She’s trying to do PR to minimize her anti-vax stances, and often people in her movement try to label themselves “vaccine truthers” or “vaccine skeptics” (even though r/skeptic lists the ways they are not engaging in any meaningful skepticism). In her mind vaccines are polluted despite all the evidence in multiple studies proving her theory wrong.

Next, the film engages in a strawman about mandatory vaccines. No vaccine is truly mandatory; they may be required to attend public school or college, but I have never forcibly given anyone a vaccine except for young children whose parents asked me to. When this eventual COVID vaccine comes out, it will not be mandatory. The anti-vaxxers can try making a dramatic showing of refusing the vaccine and that’s fine because everyone will push past them to get in line. Once we get to >90% vaccine coverage, herd immunity should kick in and they will bask in the unearned benefit of everyone else.

This virus is NOT artificial, the genome has been sequenced and has no signs of artificial manipulation like she claims. We have strong evidence that it originated naturally.

She fundamentally misunderstands zoonotic transmission. Viruses jump from animals to humans frequently; Ebola likely originated from bats in Africa, HIV mutated from Simian Immunodeficiency Virus until it eventually became able to survive in humans (and likely jumped to humans many times before it stabilized), bird flu originated in birds, swine flu came from, you guessed it, pigs that came into contact with humans. It’s not just viruses; Psittacosis in humans comes from parrots, salmonella from reptiles, brucellosis from cows (that one is an animal STD). There’s a reason medical doctors and veterinarians have been collaborating for decades on the One Health Initiative (and we briefly studied together in my medical school) because we know that diseases will spread to humans and therefore veterinarians have a role in helping keep us safe.

Now she claims this is a government conspiracy where USAMRIID somehow released it into China. And then she brings up another conspiracy about how Ebola was created in a US lab and then made to kill people in Africa. Baloney! Debunking those claims alone would take up more than the entire length of this post.

She then claims that COVID is overcounted, which is untrue. I fill out death certificates and that’s not how it works. People found dead in their homes in NYC were not being given COVID diagnoses because we don’t test the dead. It must be some coincidence that usually 25 people are found dead in their homes in NYC on an average day, but ever since this outbreak there were >200 per day found dead. Then she claims people are assigned COVID diagnoses without testing. Also untrue. Almost every number in the COVID trackers and published statistics on the news are confirmed cases. Some cities like NYC show a breakdown of suspected and confirmed cases. Suspected ones are many more, but you have to show specific symptoms to be diagnosed with COVID in the absence of testing. Our molecular testing (at least the FDA-approved tests) has high specificity, meaning a low number of false positives. Its sensitivity is lower, meaning we’ve been seeing cases of false negatives that come back positive on a repeat. There’s a reason the CDC advises COVID patients not to go back to work until they test negative twice.

COPD Lungs vs COVID19

Then she claims that her husband’s COPD looks like COVID. Not. At. All. COPD causes a breakdown of alveoli, the lung’s small air sacs that look like grapes. As the COPD takes over, the walls of the alveoli break down until you get large pockets of air trapped in the lungs. You see huge hollow cavities on a lung X-ray. COVID causes a diffuse inflammatory reaction across the lungs that progresses to ARDS. We have autopsies of COVID patients and their lungs don’t look anything like COPD, and their Xrays look dramatically different (COPD lungs look hollow and hyperinflated and COVID lungs start off looking like pneumonia that progresses to a total white-out. You don’t have to be a doctor to spot the difference in X-rays here.)

Then the filmmaker brings up a clip from the infamous and debunked Bakersfield doctors. They’re not board-certified and the American College of Emergency Physicians and American Academy of Emergency Medicine issued a rare joint statement condemning them. This article is a really good debunking of their numbers. I taught Biostatistics and Epidemiology and this article is sound.

We are not counting COVID deaths just because they incidentally test positive. This has been shown to affect multiple organ systems and its not a mere coincidence that people with chronic diseases suddenly die within 2–3 weeks once they get COVID. Even without looking at COVID-diagnosed deaths, NY is reporting >35,000 deaths more than their average rate.

And then she spreads the FUD that ventilators are what’s harming people. No. If you are in acute respiratory failure, and your oxygen saturation is dropping below 90% despite an oxygen mask on 15L/min, you need to be on a ventilator. Ventilators are not risk-free, and require specialists to monitor it and adjust the settings, but without one your odds of dying by that point are nearly 100%. That’s it, there are no alternatives. Italy ran out of ventilators, and patients were dying on beds in the hallways because they couldn’t have a ventilator. The fatality rate for COVID tends to be around 3% average in most countries, but in Italy, it went up to 7% because people died without ventilators.

She claims Italy got COVID more because they were old. That’s incorrect by the data, it affected all ages. Close to half the people on ventilators are under the age of 40. She claims Italians have inflammatory diseases, also no data to support her claim. (Italians tend to have a much more antioxidant-rich diet compared to the rest of the world, it’s one of the reasons Italians have a longer average lifespan, so this claim doesn’t make sense to me.) Next, she claims the flu vaccine made them die of COVID. What garbage. COVID deaths are also in developing countries that have low flu vaccine rates, her theory is idiotic.

She is trying to claim that the flu vaccine comes from dogs. That’s a mixture of falsehood. Most flu vaccines that you and I received are derived from eggs. A non-egg vaccine known as Flucelvax came out recently and that seems to be what she’s latched onto, but it is not in widespread use today.

HydroxyChloroquine Sulfate Tablets

Then she goes on about hydroxychloroquine. The original claim that it helped treat COVID was based on anecdotal data, and some extremely weak studies (two letters to journals by Chinese doctors saying it worked in their communities but didn’t show evidence or numbers, and a study in France of 26 people where the researcher claimed hydroxychloroquine+azithromycin helped people get over their infection, even though the evidence was weak and 6 patients in the trial wound up in ICU and had to stop early and 1 other patient died). She claims doctors are endorsing it, but most are pointing out the skepticism as well as the lack of any data showing improvement, and cautioning against a rush to judgment. It’s more the opposite. The VA did a large scale study of thousands of patients and the data showed patients on Hydroxychlorine had a higher mortality rate than in COVID patients who didn’t take hydroxychloroquine.

Dr. Mikovitz is linking vaccines with autism and predictably trying to sell a debunked “cure.” Many of the loudest voices of the anti-vax movement are grifters who try selling quack treatments that claim they can “reverse” autism or treat arthritis/fatigue that they claim a vaccine gave you. This is an old scam and near the heart of the anti-vax movement.

Then she claimed that the flu vaccine weakened your immune system and caused you to get COVID. She’s taking research published in a journal and lied about its conclusions, you can read it for yourself and see it draws the opposite claim of what she is saying. Then putting aside the lie, she’s trying to generalize the results of the study to COVID, when there’s zero evidence the vaccines have any connection or would even affect the body’s response.

Then the filmmaker goes back to the Bakersfield doctors claiming you’re coddling your immune system by wearing a mask and gloves. That claim is almost jaw-droppingly bad. You are bathed in bacteria, it’s in your body (estimated 0.3% of your body weight), it’s on your skin, it’s in your mouth (you have more germs in your mouth than a dog). Your bacterial and viral flora is unchanged whether you’re outside or stay indoors all day. AND you still breathe in 50+ species of pathogens with every breath, mask or not. He also claims you can get “opportunistic infections,” which is another misunderstanding of basic microbiology, I’m surprised he hasn’t had his license suspended for making such an ignorant display.

Then she claims masks give you coronavirus. She has no evidence for her claim. And that “healing microbes” are in the ocean. Salt-water is good for you, but those microbes won’t save you from COVID.

Then there’s a misleading clip where Fauci says there will be a “surprise pandemic” one day. Public health officials have already been saying this for decades, we know given the rate of mutations of pathogens that it was a matter of time. I’ve lived through multiple, including H1N1. We thought Ebola or Bird Flu was going to be “the” pandemic we would have to deal with, which is why for nearly 20 years NYC’s Department of Health has stockpiled 1 million doses of Tamiflu, which was thought to be the only treatment available for Bird Flu and was believed to have some activity against SARS.

I’m glad this video was taken off YouTube because it is grossly irresponsible to air these false views uncritically. It’s straight anti-vax propaganda.