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Four Years After Shelter-in-Place, Covid-19 Misinformation Persists (concern troll alert)
KFF Health News ^ | April 1, 2024 | By Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu,

Posted on 04/02/2024 7:36:38 PM PDT by DoodleBob

Even before the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the U.S., fears and uncertainties helped spur misinformation’s rapid spread. In March 2020, schools closed, employers sent staff to work from home and grocery stores called for social distancing to keep people safe. But little halted the flow of misleading claims that sent fact-checkers and public health officials into overdrive.

Some people falsely asserted COVID-19’s symptoms were associated with 5G wireless technology. Faux cures and untested treatments populated social media and political discourse. Amid uncertainty about the virus’s origins, some even proclaimed COVID-19 didn’t exist at all. PolitiFact named downplay and denial about the virus its 2020 Lie of the Year

Four years later, people’s lives are largely free of the extreme public health measures that restricted them early in the pandemic. But COVID-19 misinformation persists, although it’s now centered mostly on vaccines and vaccine-related conspiracy theories.

PolitiFact has published more than 2,000 fact-checks related to COVID-19 vaccines alone.

"From a misinformation researcher perspective, [there has been] shifting levels of trust," said Tara Kirk Sell, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. "Early on in the pandemic, there was a lot of: ‘this isn’t real,’ fake cures, and then later on, we see more vaccine-focused mis- and disinformation and a more partisan type of disinformation and misinformation."

Here are some of the most persistent COVID-19 misinformation narratives we see today:

A loss of trust in the vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines were quickly developed, with U.S. patients receiving the first shots in December 2020, 11 months after the first domestic case was detected.

Experts credit the speedy development with helping to save millions of lives and preventing hospitalizations. Researchers at the University of Southern California and Brown University calculated that vaccines saved 2.4 million lives in 141 countries from January 2021 to August 2021 alone. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows there were 574 U.S. deaths attributed to COVID-19 the week of March 2, down from nearly 26,000 at the pandemic’s height in January 2021, as vaccines were just rolling out.

But on social media and in some public officials’ remarks, misinformation about COVID-19 vaccine efficacy and safety is common. U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. built his 2024 campaign on a movement that seeks to legitimize conspiracy theories about the vaccines. We made that our 2023 Lie of the Year.

PolitiFact has seen claims that spike proteins from vaccines are replacing sperm in vaccinated males. (That’s False.) We’ve researched the assertion that vaccines can change your DNA. (That’s misleading and ignores evidence). Social media posts poked fun at Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce for encouraging people to get vaccinated, asserting that the vaccine actually shuts off recipients’ hearts. (No, it doesn’t.)  And some people pointed to an American Red Cross blood donation questionnaire as evidence that shots are unsafe. (We rated that False.)

Experts say this misinformation has real-world effects.

A Nov. 2023 survey by KFF found that only 57% of Americans "say they are very or somewhat confident" in COVID-19 vaccines. And those who distrust them are more likely to identify as politically conservative: Thirty-six percent of Republicans compared with 84% of Democrats say they are very or somewhat confident in the vaccine.

Immunization rates for routine vaccines for other conditions have also taken a hit. Measles had been eradicated for more than 20 years in the U.S. but there have been recent outbreaks in states including Florida, Maryland and Ohio. Florida’s surgeon general has expressed skepticism about vaccines and rejected guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about how to contain potentially deadly disease spread.

The vaccination rate among kindergarteners has declined from 95% in the 2019-20 school year to 93% in 2022-23, according to the CDC. Public health officials have set a 95% vaccination rate target to prevent and reduce the risk of disease outbreaks. The CDC also found exemptions had risen to 3%, the highest rate ever recorded in the U.S.

Unsubstantiated claims that vaccines cause deaths other illness

PolitiFact has seen repeated and unsubstantiated claims that COVID-19 vaccines have caused mass numbers of deaths.

A recent widely shared post claimed 17 million people had died because of the vaccine, despite contrary evidence from multiple studies and institutions such as the World Health Organization and CDC that the vaccines are safe and help to prevent severe illness and death. 

Another online post claimed the booster vaccine had eight strains of HIV and would kill 23% of the population. Vaccine manufacturers publish the ingredient lists; they do not include HIV. People living with HIV were among the people given priority access during early vaccine rollout to protect them from severe illness.

We have also seen COVID-19 vaccines blamed for causing Alzheimer’s and cancer. Experts have found no evidence the vaccines cause either conditions.

"​​You had this remarkable scientific or medical accomplishment contrasted with this remarkable rejection of that technology by a significant portion of the American public," said Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 

About 70% of Americans have completed a primary series of COVID-19 vaccination, more than three years after they became available, according to CDC figures. About 17% have gotten the most recent bivalent booster.

False claims often pull from and misuse data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. The database, run by the CDC and Food and Drug Administration, allows anybody to report reactions after any vaccine. The reports themselves are unverified, but the database is designed to help researchers find patterns for further investigation.

A November 2023 survey published by Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania found 63% of Americans think "it is safer to get the COVID-19 vaccine than the COVID-19 disease" — that was down from 75% in April 2021.

Celebrity deaths falsely attributed to vaccines

Betty White, Bob Saget, Matthew Perry, and DMX are just a few of the many celebrities whose deaths were falsely linked to the vaccine. The anti-vaccine film "Died Suddenly"  tried to give credence to false claims that the vaccine causes people to die shortly after receiving it.

Dr. Céline Gounder, editor at large for public health at KFF Health News and an infectious disease specialist, said these claims proliferate because of two things —  cognitive bias and more insidious motivated reasoning. 

"It's like saying ‘I had an ice cream cone and then I died the next day, the ice cream must have killed me," she said. And those with pre-existing beliefs about the vaccine seek to attach sudden deaths to the vaccine.

Gounder experienced this  personally when her husband, the celebrated sports journalist Grant Wahl, died while covering the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Wahl died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm but anti-vax accounts falsely linked his death to the COVID-19 vaccine, forcing Gounder to publicly set the record straight.

"It is very clear that this is about harming other people," said Gounder, who was a guest at United Facts of America in 2023. "And in this case, trying to harm me and my family at a point where we were grieving my husband's loss. What was important in that moment was to really stand up for my husband, his legacy, and to do what I know he would have wanted me to do, which is to speak the truth and to do so very publicly."

False claims the pandemic was planned or government-orchestrated

We continue to see false claims that the pandemic was planned by government leaders and those in power.

At any given moment, Microsoft Corp. co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, World Economic Forum Chair Klaus Schwab and former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci are blamed for orchestrating pandemic-related threats.

In February, Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., falsely claimed Fauci, "brought" the virus to his state a  year before the pandemic.  There is no evidence of that. Gates, according to the narratives, is using dangerous vaccines to push a depopulation agenda. That’s False. And Schwab has not said he has an "agenda" to establish a totalitarian global regime using the coronavirus to depopulate the earth and reorganize society. That’s part of a conspiracy theory that’s come to be called "The Great Reset" that has been debunked many times.

The United Nations’ World Health Organization is frequently painted as a global force for evil, too, with detractors saying it is using vaccination to control or harm people. But the WHO has not declared that a new pandemic is happening, as some have claimed. Its current pandemic preparedness treaty is in no way positioned to remove human rights protections or restrict freedoms, as one post said. And the organization has not announced plans to deploy troops to corral people and forcibly vaccinate them. The WHO is, however, working on a new treaty to help countries improve coordination in response to future pandemics.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ciapropaganda; covid1984; fakescience; kwasigyamfiasiedu; losangelestimes; politibull; propaganda

1 posted on 04/02/2024 7:36:38 PM PDT by DoodleBob
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To: DoodleBob

Two weeks to flatten the curve.

Seven months to steal the election.

2 posted on 04/02/2024 8:15:56 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (The worst thing about censorship is █████ ██ ████ ████ ████ █ ███████ ████. FJB.)
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To: DoodleBob
I don't think this doctor can be dismissed out of hand.

Spike Is Completely Replacing Sperm Rumble video 2:04

Here is another doctor addressing the intentional suppression of a doctor's right to practice according to their conscience and experience. Prescribing Ivermectin specifically.

Ivermectin: A Monumental Win for Medical Freedom Rumble video 1:20

3 posted on 04/02/2024 8:24:40 PM PDT by TigersEye (Our Republic is under seige by globalist Marxists. Hold fast!)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Two years to browbeat a society.

Three years to trash an economy.

4 posted on 04/02/2024 8:26:30 PM PDT by TigersEye (Our Republic is under seige by globalist Marxists. Hold fast!)
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To: DoodleBob
DRat news source.

The China Virus Scandemic was from the missed opportunity of the H1N1 epidemic (China origin) of 2009 (Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste) of the Hussein Obama administration.

For the China Virus 2019, pretty much everyone tested was positive or was of the CNN invented Positivity result through used of the disowned PCR test. People who died of vehicle crashes and misadventures were counted as Died with Coviid

Note the PCR test was discredited with prejudice by the WHO the day of POTUS Potato's inauguration.

People died during this period due to prohibited doctors’ visits and gov mandated medical care that caused deaths ( intentional Medical Misadventure).

The China Virus 2019 shot was developed prior to 2020 just for this *Unknown* virus that was imported from China.

The shots were announced and labeled in 2021 as Experimental Gene Therapy. For me, that was a big No.

When our own CDC stopped recording VAERS for the China Virus 2019 shots, USA deaths were held at 32,231 with a total of 1,630,913 adverse events.

All this for a flu virus with only a 99.97% survival rate.

5 posted on 04/02/2024 8:35:12 PM PDT by Deaf Smith (When a Texan takes his chances, chances will be taken that's for sure.)
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To: Deaf Smith
DO NOT FORGET what they’ve done to you.
Do not let their sudden realization they are in bad shape politically excuse the last two-plus years of abuses.
They shut down your job.
Called many of you “non-essential.”
Closed your kids’ schools.
Expected you to live off $1200 for months while they got richer and richer.
Denied you the ability to be with your dying loved ones.
Then denied you the ability to give those loved ones a proper funeral.
While they let George Floyd have three.
While they went on vacation.
Visited family.
The hair salon.
They arrested you for paddle boarding by yourself.
They shut down the parks and the playgrounds.
They called you a grandma killer if you questioned them.
Suspended you from social media if you didn’t obey the narrative.

They called you domestic terrorists when you demanded your kids get the education your tax dollars paid for.
They mocked you when you demanded a return to normalcy for children.
They sneer at your concern over empty shelves and exploding grocery and utility bills.
They messed with supply chains and emptied store shelves, while the elites partied on yachts and Martha’s Vineyard.
They queered women’s sports and the military, and made the citizenry pay for it.
They sexualized schoolchildren, and persecuted parents at school board meetings.
They denied you the chance to try alternative treatments for COVID.
Then they fired you for not getting the vaccine.
When you stand up for your freedom, they call you Nazis and bigots.

Do not forget what they have done.
Do not forgive them.
They are hoping that, by November, you have forgotten the nightmareof the last 2+ years.
YOU struggle to make ends meet and the best the Biden administration can do is free crack pipes for “racial equity.”
This is on top of the woke, cancel culture bull they shove down our throats, the 2020 riots, being accused of racism and bigotry because we oppose their agenda.
As the election draws closer, they’ll pretend they didn’t do any of this.
They’ll gaslight us.
Blame the GOP (like they tried to when defunding the police went south).

DO NOT give them power.
They haven’t learned a damn thing from this.
You re-elect them, and you can expect masks and lockdowns and nonsense in perpetuity.
Not just for COVID, but for whatever else they deem a “public health emergency” (guns, climate change).
(Remember, they are the very same people who ignore a pubic health emergency aka AIDS.)
They will trample your rights.



6 posted on 04/02/2024 9:16:48 PM PDT by lightman (I am a binary Trinitarian. Deal with it!)
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To: DoodleBob

Just another tool in the tool box now

7 posted on 04/03/2024 2:06:05 AM PDT by ronnie raygun
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Trump signed the cares act for mail in ballots after locking us down and signing lank checks for big pharma. He gets a free pass on bumpstock bans, Syrian rapefugees, an amnesty deal and prison reform.
His amnesty offer and prison reforms told criminals worldwide that the Conservative Party is pro crime and anti borders. Women in NYC are being attacked because prison is racist

8 posted on 04/03/2024 2:26:43 AM PDT by momincombatboots (BQEphesians 6... who you are really at war with.)
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To: lightman

Great post!!! Thank you...

9 posted on 04/03/2024 5:45:05 AM PDT by Thomas Jerome
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To: DoodleBob

When you reread this article insert “my” in front of every word expert(s).

MY experts claim...

10 posted on 04/03/2024 6:30:48 AM PDT by bravo whiskey (Annie Savoy : The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self awareness. )
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Arthur Wildfire! March; Berosus; Bockscar; BraveMan; cardinal4; ...

11 posted on 04/03/2024 7:14:48 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Putin should skip ahead to where he kills himself in the bunker.)
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To: momincombatboots

Republican Presidents are not omnipotent, and they are under continuous attack. They took out Nixon for a two-bit burglary he had nothing to do with. They almost got Reagan with Iran-Contra, but Oliver North scuttled their plans.

You completely ignore the myriad of good things Trump accomplished, just like a good little fascist wannabe.

Name one person who could have done more than Trump.

I dare you.

12 posted on 04/03/2024 11:36:01 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (The worst thing about censorship is █████ ██ ████ ████ ████ █ ███████ ████. FJB.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

And the left is trying to re-write history on Covid and their narratives at the time. They are now pretending they actually listened to those that didn’t agree with their lock-down policies and simply erred on the side of caution. The truth is they not only refused to listen to those such as Jay Bhattacharya but they worked to silence his and other’s well-informed opinions.

13 posted on 04/03/2024 11:41:29 AM PDT by CFW (I will not comply!)
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