Antivaxxers love to claim the mantle of the oppressed, even going so far as to use the Yellow Star of David to liken their “oppression” to that of the Jews under the Nazis. Now they’re trying to top even that by co-opting Juneteenth.
Scientists have generally concluded that evidence points to a natural origin for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, as a far more likely explanation for the pandemic than a laboratory origin. Recently, there has been a lot of media chatter about the “lab leak” hypothesis. Is there new evidence? Nope. The “lab leak” hypothesis is fast becoming a conspiracy theory.
There’s a new paper out analyzing how antimask activists weaponize the tools of data visualization and scientific argumentation to produce convincing antimask propaganda. Antimaskers are claiming that it shows that they are more “scientific” than those supporting the consensus viewpoint with respect to COVID-19 and masks. What it really shows is that they are good at weaponizing the tools of data visualization and scientific arguments to come to the conclusions that they want to come to.
John Ioannidis is one of the most published and influential scientists in the world, someone whose skewering of bad medical research we at SBM have frequently lauded over the years. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Since then, Prof. Ioannidis has been publishing dubious studies that minimize the dangers of the coronavirus, shown up in the media to decry “lockdowns,” and, most recently, “punched down”, attacking a graduate student for having criticized him. What happened? Did Prof. Ioannidis change, or was he always like this and I just didn’t see it? Either way, he’s a cautionary tale of how even science watchdogs can fall prey to hubris.
Antivaccine propagandist Del Bigtree’s ICAN is waging a legalistic war on state health departments’ efforts to promote COVID-19 vaccination based on attacking them for “false advertising.” This is largely an unforced error on the part of health departments, which now need to be very cautious over their wording promoting these vaccines.