I’ve long had a penchant for silly conspiracy theories, sometimes the sillier the better. Unfortunately, since the COVID-19 pandemic spread beyond China to the rest of the world earlier this year, I’ve discovered that even the silliest-sounding conspiracy theories are not necessarily that silly given their potential effects in promoting the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. Sure, I might laugh at COVID-19 deniers who blame 5G and glyphosate for the pandemic or claim that the flu vaccine increases your risk of severe COVID-19, but these conspiracy theories spread as widely as the ones claiming that SARS-CoV-2 was engineered by scientists in a Wuhan lab and that shadowy global forces released SARS-CoV-2 to cause a “plandemic” and get less attention from the more mainstream news and science communication sources that have widely debunked conspiracy theories such as the ones promoted by Judy Mikovits and Mikki Willis. That’s when Orac steps in, hopefully before these more obscure COVID-19 conspiracy theories bubble up from the antivaccine and COVID-19 denier underground to the more “mainstream” crank social media sources. So here I go. Have you heard the one from James Grundvig and Sherri Tenpenny “corona brucellosis“?
This latest conspiracy theory comes from James Grundvig of antivax doctor Sherri Tenpenny’s blog Vaxxter. We’ve met Sherri Tenpenny many times before and James Grundvig a few times before. Our most recent encounter was pre-pandemic (albeit not that long before the pandemic started dominating the news), when Grundvig and Tenpenny were desperately trying to deny that measles kills. This time around, they’re peddling a new one on me, namely the claim that food poisoning due to brucellosis will be passed off as COVID-19? No, this isn’t a joke. Yes, Grundvig and Tenpenny appear to be serious. I wish I could make stuff like this up, but I can’t (and if I could I hope that I wouldn’t).
How would this work, you might ask? After all, brucellosis is a form of food poisoning, a zoonosis (an infectious disease that jumps from an animal to humans) usually resulting from the ingestion of unpasteurized milk or undercooked meat or inhalation of aerosols coming from animals infected with a genus bacterial species known as Brucella. (Infection due to aerosols or bacteria entering the body through skin wounds is more of a problem with workers in slaughterhouses, meat packing plant workers, and veterinarians.) Brucellosis has other names, including undulant fever, Malta fever, and Mediterranean fever. Brucella infection in humans resulting in brucellosis is primarily due to four species: Brucella abortus, Brucella canis, Brucella melitensis, and Brucella suis. Animals most commonly infected with brucella include sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, and dogs, among others. Human-to-human transmission is possible, but quite rare. According to the CDC, initial symptoms of brucellosis include:
- pain in muscles, joint, and/or back
Other symptoms can last longer and persist for a long time:
- recurrent fevers
- swelling of the testicle and scrotum area
- swelling of the heart (endocarditis)
- neurologic symptoms (in up to 5% of all cases)
- chronic fatigue
- swelling of the liver and/or spleen
Brucellosis is generally diagnosed either by finding Brucella in samples of blood, bone marrow or other bodily fluids or by serology, finding antibodies against Brucella in the blood and is treated with the antibiotics doxycycline and rifampin in combination for a minimum of 6-8 weeks.
So, given that brucellosis is a very different disease caused by a completely different organism than COVID-19, how do Grundvig and Tenpenny justify their claims? (SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is a virus, specifically a coronavirus, while Brucella species are bacteria, specifically gram-negative, nonmotile, nonspore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria.) Given how weak their “Corona Brucella/Corona Brucellosis” conspiracy mongering is, unsurprisingly they have to do a bit of conspiracy prestidigitation, bringing up multiple unrelated COVID-19 conspiracy theories. First up, there’s one we heard before, the Rockefeller Institute “prediction”:
In 2010, the Rockefeller Foundation published “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development.” In the 54-page report, the globalists war-gamed four “what-if” scenarios set in the near future. The first, called “Lock Step,” profiled a scenario in which “A world with top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership, with limited innovation and growing citizen pushback,” would fill the voids in society after a global pandemic. The year the scenario ran: 2012. The opening summary of this scenario reads, in part:The pandemic also had a deadly effect on economies: international mobility of both people and goods screeched to a halt, debilitating industries like tourism and breaking global supply chains.How clairvoyant. That is precisely what happened with COVID-19 in 2020. No conspiracy theory, just a cold analysis of how a complex global economy might collapse in such a scenario. The globalists’ key takeaway wasn’t the number of dead or infected, but how successful they were in getting citizens to surrender to increased power and control…
This particular conspiracy theory was featured, also unsurprisingly, in Plandemic and has been featured in a number of other COVID-19 conspiracy theories. I’ve discussed it in the context of—of course!—Plandemic and Judy Mikovits and Kelly Brogan‘s and Sayer Ji‘s COVID-19 conspiracy mongering; so I’m not going to go further into this other than to mention that the Rockefeller Institute is a favorite hobby horse of conspiracy theorists going back to conspiracy theories about the last global pandemic this huge, the 1918-9 influenza pandemic.
Next up come the conspiracy theories about Bill Gates, the CDC, and the World Health Organization. (Of course!) This takes the form of a rather twisted fantasy in which Bill Gates, CDC Director Robert Redfield, Anthony Fauci, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus are one-upping each other on how deadly the COVID-19 pandemic should be in a warped drinking game:
Bill Gates grins slightly. The wrinkled, bespectacled, predatory billionaire waves his hands in the air and replies, “Right, that’s a good one. But a little sophomoric. Now, what if I claim ‘millions are going to die by the end of 2021?’ There, that will work!” He sips his next shot.
The shot game of one-upmanship continues.
Anthony Fauci, President Trump’s sidekick, facepalms and shakes his head, saying, “Bill, you’ve been saying that all year. And Bob, Twindemic sounds like a high school musical. But I have the best idea,” Tiny Tony thumps his chest. “Tell everyone we are entering a ‘Pandemic Era.’ That cements it. No one knows history any more thanks to CDC’s fluoride campaigns, Big Tech’s censorship, and Big Media’s brainwashing, no matter what generation of snowflakes we refer to today.” He sips whiskey through a straw.
At the end of the bar, drunk from tequila shots, barfly Dr. Tedros, head of the WHO, raises his head, squints through thick, round spectacles and flags the three drunks. He lifts his shot glass in a toast, and declares, “‘This must not be the last pandemic!’ We must militarize the lockdowns.”
Fauci claps, nodding in approval at Tedros’ support of his Pandemic Era label. “Now pay the tab, Bill.” Fauci pats Gates on the back, calling out, “We must vanquish corona-fatigue from people’s minds and give them the real thing!”
“Yes! I want bodies in the street!” Dr. Tedros yells, slamming the shot glass down.
Yes, COVID-19 conspiracy theorists think this way about public health officials, much as antivaxxers also think this way about Bill Gates, the CDC, and the WHO, and it’s not surprising that Grundvig and Tenpenny ask:
Why sound the klaxon on a new scourge of COVID when there is zero evidence and zero data to show one is coming? Do the architects of the plandemic know something that the rest of society doesn’t know?
One can’t help to answer that question by saying that Fauci, Gates, Tedros, and Redfield do know something that the rest of society doesn’t know: They know the data. They understand infectious diseases. They understand that, given that SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory virus and given that the beginning of the 2020 flu season is upon us, fall could be very bad, as people have to spend a lot more time indoors, where respiratory viruses spread much more easily than outdoors.
After trotting through a “greatest hits” list of other COVID-19 conspiracy theories and pseudoscience, such as the claim that deaths due to other things are being falsely coded as COVID-19 deaths and the “only 6%”” gambit that I recently wrote about, Grundvig and Tenpenny finally get to their claim under the heading Future Scenario: Food Poisoning Masked as COVID tagged as an “October surprise”:
Over Labor Day weekend, I heard two different, unconnected researchers float the idea about a possible brucellosis outbreak. If the plan goes through, brucella bacteria will be released to infect humans and cause food poisoning which would mimic COVID symptoms, if the germ was lab-modified into a bioweapon. One of the researchers, Joe Imbriano, runs several websites including www.5gdangers.com. His analysis has been spot-on regarding the dangerous biological effects of 5G. When I heard another podcaster warn America about a brucellosis attack, my interest peaked.
When I started to dig through peer-reviewed studies in PubMed, I was astonished. The first ten articles on brucellosis came from China. It appears brucella food contamination has run amok in the mainland since the time of Mao. Other articles about brucellosis point out that the CDC uses PCR testing to test for brucella bacteria in blood serum samples. Militaries have designed and tested brucella to be used as a bioweapon and for bioterrorism attacks.
The first link is to a 12-minute video by Joe Imbriano of the Fullteron Informer. A quick look at his Twitter feed and website reveal a conspiracy theorist on par with Alex Jones, only nowhere near as famous, with rants about 5G, wifi, coronavirus, cosmology, and—I kid you not—Apple setting a price of $666 and Disney “promoting” homosexuality. (If you really want a laugh, take a gander at his 5G Dangers website, which is even wackier.)
In the video, Imbriano claims that Brucella will be placed in frozen foods (or even sprayed on us), that the brucellosis outbreak will start out slowly and spread, and that the symptoms of brucellosis are “identical” to the symptoms of COVID-19. That latter claim is, of course, utterly ridiculous, as ridiculous as a common old claim that the symptoms of mercury poisoning were “identical” or “near-identical” to those of autism. (Who remembers that blast from the past from antivaxxers?) Just look again at the symptoms of brucellosis that I listed above and compare them with the symptoms of COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Sure, there’s some overlap, but these are different symptom sets. Moreover, thinking that a brucellosis could be mistaken for COVID-19 requires a lack of understanding of biology, bacteriology, virology, and infectious disease that is truly epic. It also assumes that physicians are either idiots who can’t tell the difference between the two diseases or are all in on the conspiracy and intentionally misdiagnosing brucellosis as COVID-19. To be honest, I stopped lisenting to Imbriano’s video before the end because it was incredibly unscientific and ignorant even by the standards of antivaxxers and COVID-19 deniers. It’s not just about brucellosis as COVID-19, though. Imbriano goes on about mosquitos being released with malaria, 5G amplifying illnesses, and a number of other crank conspiracy theories. The only thing he says that makes sense, albeit for completely the wrong reasons, is to caution people against consuming unpasteurized milk and to urge people to thoroughly cook their meat.
The inherently unscientific, pseudoscientific, and conspiratorial bent of this claim matters not to Grundvig and Tenpenny, though, who warn against the next “false flag” event:
Mass food poisoning, disguised as the second wave COVID-19 outbreak. Finally, targeting children and the young would create brucella-infected clusters across America, and act like a comet striking society in an Occam’s razor attack vector. Imagine this:
If this happens, it would be far worse than merely injecting more dysfunction and mayhem into the U.S. presidential election. It would mean lockdowns that would finish the destruction of store-front businesses, the travel industry and more. Families will never recover and the monolithic, Orwellian police state will be fully implemented, the “New Normal” George Orwell and Aldus Huxley warned us about more than half a century ago.
- The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) provide the weaponized bacterium to be distributed in food plants and production centers across the United States;
- Brucella infection acting as a more virulent version of COVID;
- Children falling seriously ill and perhaps dying;
- Faulty CDC PCR tests lying one more time that a “new strain” of coronavirus is wreaking havoc.
- This seems like a plausible scenario. The Rockefeller Foundation would agree.
Or it could just be the fever dream of antivaxxers turned COVID-19 grifters and conspiracy theorists. You might wonder if this sort of conspiracy theory could ever gain any sort of purchase in the general public. When you wonder this, though, just think of a conspiracy theory that’s really taken hold that is, if anything, even more ridiculous: QAnon, a conspiracy theory positing that elites are running a child sex trafficking and cannibalism ring that was originally run out of a pizza parlor. Even if this particular conspiracy theory strikes you as too ridiculous ever to take off, it is an interesting view into the mindset of COVID-19 deniers, who apparently believe that the Chinese government, the WHO, the CDC, Bill Gates, and various world governments are plotting to spike our food supply with Brucella in order to start a brucellosis outbreak and blame it on COVID-19, all in order to institute a worldwide totalitarian dictatorship.