The 26-minute video, “Plandemic: The Hidden Agenda Behind Covid-19,” has made its way through multiple social media platforms over the last 10 days. The film is produced by a Californian company, Elevate. The company’s founder, Mike Willis, interviews Judy Mikovits, a former scientist at the National Cancer Institute. In the late 2000s, she was known for her study on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which was later retracted due to failure in the validity of its conclusions.
On 7th May, the film was uploaded on the Instagram account standup911 and titled Plandemic Part 1 Dr. Judy Mikovits. It received 110, 213 views in the two days it was uploaded. Since last week multiple copies of this film have been removed from Youtube and Facebook for violating guidelines.
At large, the ‘Plandemic’ video speaks of multiple conspiracy theories around COVID-19 and related public health. It begins with Mikovits explaining that she was disgraced and silenced in relation to her work which aimed at spreading the truth about the reality of science. She alleges that Bill Gates and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, are leveraging the coronavirus crisis to promote their business and political interests.
The video also includes dangerous advice for its viewers stating that wearing a mask and frequently washing your hands goes against building immunity towards the virus and therefore, increases your chances of catching it.
Here is a fact check on some of the misleading claims narrated in the film.
“It’s very clear this virus was manipulated”
Mikovits explains, “I wouldn’t use the word created. But you can’t say naturally occurring if it was by way of the laboratory. So it’s very clear this virus was manipulated.”
A March, 2020 Nature article called “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2,” explains how the genetic structure of the novel coronavirus rules out laboratory manipulation. It states that on observing all notable SARS-COV-2 features, scientists don’t believe “that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible.” SARS-COV-2 is the name of the virus that causes infectious disease COVID-19.
“This occurred from SARS-1 within a decade. That’s not naturally occurring.”
This is an inaccurate explanation for the source of the novel coronavirus. COVID-19 is a new disease and not derived from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Though the two diseases have similarities, they have different characteristics, infectious periods, transmissibility, clinical severity, and extent of community spread.
Hydroxychloroquine is “effective against these families of viruses”
This is not entirely proven since no cure or vaccine for COVID-19 or SARS is known. There are numerous ongoing studies some of which have shown Hydroxychloroquine to mitigate symptoms associated with COVID-19, while others show no different results.
‘Wearing the mask literally activates your own virus. You’re getting sick from your own reactivated coronavirus expressions.’
There is no credible evidence to support this claim. The World Health Organisation in its guidance paper titled “Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19,” suggests that “wearing a medical mask is one of the prevention measures that can limit the spread of certain respiratory viral diseases, including COVID-19.” This of course doesn’t guarantee complete safety from catching the virus and needs to be practiced along with other critical preventive measures mentioned in the paper.
‘If you’ve ever had a flu vaccine, you were injected with coronaviruses’
In response to a 2017-18 study on Influenza vaccination and respiratory virus interference that made its rounds on social media last month, the World Health Organisation concludes that the study shows “little or no evidence of association of virus interference and influenza vaccination,” states this April 2020 news report.
The film promotes numerous baseless claims about vaccines, the origin of the novel coronavirus as well as its preventive measures and treatments among others that haven’t been supported by credible sources.
Given how widely this video has been shared it shows that fear and frustration in these uncertain times tend to increase people’s appetite for conspiracy theories.
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