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8                       Eight Persistent COVID-19 Myths

          Eight Persistent COVID-                        As coronavirus cases surged in the U.S., Trump Worrying reports have emerged that many
                                                         frequently claimed that the spikes were merely people may refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine
         19 Myths and Why People                         the result of more people being tested. He has once it is available. Conspiracy theories about
                                                         tweeted that “without testing ... we would be potential vaccines have circulated among anti-
                    Believe Them                         showing almost no cases” and has said in vaxxer groups and in viral videos. In Plandemic,

                                                         interviews that the reason numbers appear to Mikovits falsely claims that any COVID-19
                                                         have gone up is that testing has increased.      vaccine will “kill millions” and that other
                 Continued from Page 6                                                                    vaccines have done so.  Another conspiracy
                                                         Why It’s False: If this scenario were true, one theory makes the ludicrous assertion that Gates
                                                         would expect the percentage of positive tests to has a secret plan to use vaccines to implant
        Why People Believe It: Wealthy or influential    decrease over time. But numerous analyses have trackable microchips in people. Most Americans
        figures such as Gates and Fauci are often the    shown the opposite.  The rate of positive tests still support vaccination, but the few voices of
        target of conspiracy theories.  Trump has at     rose in many states (such as Arizona, Texas and opposition have been growing. A recent study
        times attacked Fauci, a member of his own        Florida) that had big outbreaks this past summer, observed that although clusters of anti-vaxxers
        coronavirus task force, calling him an           and it decreased in states (such as New York) on Facebook are smaller than pro-vaccination
        “alarmist.” Some of the president’s followers    that controlled their outbreaks. In addition, groups, they are more heavily interconnected
        may find it more palatable to believe that Fauci  hospitalizations and deaths increased along with with clusters of undecided people. One Gallup
        is exaggerating the severity of the outbreak than  cases, providing more evidence that the national poll found that one in three Americans would
        to acknowledge the  Trump administration’s       increase in positive tests reflected a true increase not get a COVID-19 vaccine if it were available
        failure to contain it.                           in cases.                                        today and that Republicans were less likely to be
                                                                                                          vaccinated than Democrats.
        #5: Hydroxychloroquine is an effective           Why People Believe It:  There was a severe
        treatment.                                       shortage of tests in the U.S. early on during the Why It’s False: Vaccines save millions of lives
                                                         pandemic, and their availability has increased every year. Before a vaccine is approved in the
        When a small study in France suggested the       (although actual testing remains far short of U.S., it must generally undergo three phases of
        malaria drug hydroxychloroquine might be         what is needed). It is logical to wonder whether clinical testing to show that it is safe and
        effective at treating the disease,  Trump and    more cases are simply being detected—if you effective in a large number of people. The top
        others seized on it.  The study is now widely    look only at total cases and not at the proportion COVID-19 vaccine candidates are currently
        criticized, but some people have continued to    of positive tests or the rates of hospitalization being tested in large-scale trials in tens of
        tout the medication despite growing evidence     and death.                                       thousands of people.
        that it does not benefit COVID-19 patients. In a
        tweet,  Trump called the hydroxychloroquine #7: Herd immunity will protect us if we               Why People Believe It: There is good reason to
        treatment “one of the biggest game changers in   let the virus spread through the                 be cautious about the safety of any new vaccine
        the history of medicine,” and he has mentioned                                                    or treatment, and the politicization of the fda
        it repeatedly in his public coronavirus briefings,                                                under the  Trump administration has raised
        continuing to hype the drug. In late July he                                                      legitimate concerns that any vaccine approval
                                                         Early on in the pandemic, some speculated that
        retweeted a video featuring Stella Immanuel, a                                                    will be rushed. Nevertheless, previous safety
                                                         the U.K. and Sweden were planning to let the
        Houston, Tex.–based physician (who has made                                                       trials of the top vaccine candidates did not find
                                                         coronavirus circulate through their populations
        questionable assertions in the past, including                                                    major adverse effects; larger trials for safety and
                                                         until they reached herd immunity—the point at
        that doctors had used alien DNA in treatments                                                     efficacy    are    now     underway.     Nine
                                                         which enough people are immune to the virus
        and that demons cause certain medical                                                             pharmaceutical companies developing vaccines
                                                         that it can no longer spread. (Both nations’
        conditions by having sex with people in their                                                     have pledged to “stand with science” and not
                                                         governments have denied that this was their
        dreams), claiming that hydroxychloroquine is                                                      release one unless it has been shown to be safe
                                                         official strategy, but the U.K. was late to issue a
        an effective treatment for COVID-19. The video                                                    and effective. []
                                                         full lockdown, and Sweden decided against
        was viewed tens of millions of times before
                                                         widespread restrictions.)
        social media companies took it down.
                                                         Why It’s False:  There is a fundamental flaw
        Why It’s False: Several studies have shown
                                                         with this approach: experts estimate that roughly
        that hydroxychloroquine does not protect
                                                         60 to 70 percent of people would need to get
        against COVID-19 in those who are exposed.
                                                         COVID-19 for herd immunity to be possible.
        The Food and Drug  Administration initially
                                                         Given the high mortality rate of the disease,
        issued an emergency use authorization for the
                                                         letting it infect that many people could lead to
        drug, but the agency later warned against its use
                                                         millions of deaths.  That tragedy is what
        because of the risk of heart problems and
                                                         happened during the 1918 influenza pandemic,
        ultimately revoked its authorization.  And in
                                                         in which at least 50 million people are thought to
        June the National Institutes of Health halted its
                                                         have perished. The U.K.’s COVID-19 death rate
        clinical trial of the medication, stating that
                                                         is among the world’s highest. Sweden, for its
        although it was not harmful to patients, it did
                                                         part, has had significantly more deaths than
        not provide any benefit.
                                                         neighboring countries, and its economy has
                                                         suffered despite the lack of a shutdown.
        Why People Believe It: Initial reports
        suggested hydroxychloroquine might be a
                                                         Why People Believe It: They want to get back
        potentially promising drug, and people are most
                                                         to normal life, and without a widely available
        likely to believe the first things they learn about
                                                         COVID-19 vaccine, the only way to achieve
        a topic, a phenomenon called anchoring bias.
                                                         herd immunity is to let a substantial number of
        And because Trump has repeatedly claimed that
                                                         people get sick. Some have speculated that we
        the drug is effective, his supporters may be
                                                         may have already achieved herd immunity, but
        more likely to believe reports that confirm their
                                                         population-based antibody studies have shown
        views rather than those that challenge them.
                                                         that even the hardest-hit regions are far from that
        #6: Increases in cases are the result of
        increased testing.                               #8:  A COVID-19 vaccine will be
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