Fact-Checking "Plandemic" [Part 2]

covid-19 May 07, 2020

This is part 2 of a 3 part series fact-checking the claims made in Mikovots' 26-minute preview of the film Plandemic. Quick reminder, this series was compiled by two integrative health clinical researchers [Jessie Hawkins, PhD and Christy Hires, MPH]. We are not being paid to write this and obviously we have no agenda against the natural community as we ourselves are integrative health professionals.

At the end of the first part, we left off in the midst of the retelling of an argument she had with Fauci about access to a paper in the 1980s. Leaving that drama aside, as its relevance to the current pandemic is never discussed, we resume with a brief clip of Bill Gates. 

 

20. Aaaaand here is Bill Gates 

...making the mandatory conspiracy theory video appearance. Because of course he is.

 

21. “If we activate mandatory vaccines globally, I imagine these people stand to make hundreds of billions of dollars.”

This statement packs several false claims into a single sentence. First, “we” can’t mandate globally. “We” make laws for American citizens. Using the word "activate" implies there is some underlying plot to enforce an intervention at a global scale which can be "activated" at any given time. This is another example of implied, but not stated, claims which are wholly separate from reality.  

It’s not clear who “these people” are, though the implication of this conversation happening right after Bill Gates’ cameo is presumably that he’s involved somehow.

Finally, vaccines are nowhere close to being among the most profitable products that pharmaceutical companies produce. They earn far less than drugs for chronic conditions that can be sold over and over again. See here, here, and here. And no single person is making billions off of vaccines, let alone hundreds of billions.

 

22. "They would kill millions of people, as they already have."

Where are these millions of dead people? And who is they? Fauci? Bill Gates? Big Pharma? 

 

23. “There is no vaccine currently on the schedule for any RNA virus that works

Oh. This is awkward. I’d like to introduce you to the flumeaslespolio, and Hep A, all of which are RNA viruses with vaccines. 

 

24. “Are you anti vaccine?” "Absolutely not... but..." 

I’m not racist but …. 

 

25. "You can’t say 'naturally occurring' if it was by way of the laboratory. So, it’s very clear this virus was manipulated, this family of viruses was manipulated and studied."

Notice the bait and switch here. She starts talking about COVID-19, then switches to "this family of viruses." 

Of course the coronavirus family has been manipulated and studied in a lab. It's responsible for many common colds and two previous pandemics. We absolutely want researchers studying it. That provides zero evidence that the current virus was created in a lab. 

 

26. “This is what was released, whether deliberately or not...” 

The claim that this virus originated in a lab recurs regularly during this pandemic but has yet to be substantiated when even a shred of evidence. This is a MASSIVE claim to make, particularly with zero substantiation. 

It also has nothing to do with anything that has been discussed in the video so far, so it’s a bizarre and rapid shift in topics. 

Furthermore, not only is there a lack of evidence to substantiate the claim, there is ample evidence that the claim is wrong.  See here, here, and here 

 

27. “The virus didn’t jump directly to humans; that’s not how it works.” 

Oh. Once again, this is awkward. Viruses do transmit from animals to humans; we call them zoonotic diseases. That’s also how SARS and MERS originated. 

 

28. “If it was a natural occurrence, it would take it up to 800 years to occur. This occurred from SARS-1 within a decade.”

 Skipping right over the 800 year claim because real scientific estimates require parameters and disclosures of assumptions.

SARS-CoV-2 is not the offspring of the first SARs. The two are related, obviously, but SARS-CoV-2 is not a mutation of SARS. 

It’s also worth noting that SARs was first diagnosed in 2002 and was contained in 2004. This is 2020. 2020 minus 2002 ≠ “within a decade. That’s not how counting works. 

 

29. “I am sure it came … North Carolina labs, Fort Detrick US Army Research Institute of Infectious Disease, and the Wuhan laboratory.” 

“I am sure” is not scientific evidence. It is also worth noting that her career with governmental research agencies ended prior to the onset of the first SARs pandemic. She was bartending at the time of the SARs outbreak. She has zero insider knowledge of this new virus. 

Again, this sort of claim demands evidence. It can't just be thrown out there as speculation. 

 

 <Timeline Comment: We now switch to what appears to be a clip from a news report, but is actually a voiceover on top of backgrounds from multiple sources. Backgrounds include lab footage from China Global Television Network, an image of an article written by Patrick Howley (Editor in Chief of Big League Politics, a notorious conspiracy theory peddler), and an interview with Fauci from the mainstream media show CBS Sunday Morning.> 

 

30. “3.7 million dollars flowed from the National Institutes of Health, here in the U.S. to the Wuhan lab in China…” 

Research dollars ≠ a virus flowing. The US funds a lot of international research. Clinical research as a whole is global. Our little research team here at FSIHS works with many international partners. International collaboration is a good thing, not a bad thing.

The US spends billions each year on global health and research. Much of this is to protect human health as the research is focused on microbes, such as coronaviruses, which pose a threat. 

 

31. <paraphrased> Departments under Dr. Fauci's direction were conducting coronavirus research in a Wuhan lab.

The film does this multiple times… they begin discussing COVID-19 and switch to coronaviruses as a whole. The two are not interchangeable. Studying coronaviruses is a priority due to SARs and MERs. Of course people responsible for health-related defense are studying coronaviruses. Not doing so would be a dereliction of duty. 

 

32. “If Dr. Anthony Fauci cannot be honest with the public about his connection to this lab” 

When accusing someone of lying, it’s helpful to first point to where they lied. If the claim is that Fauci has financial ties to a lab in China and that he is denying such a relationship, then it needs to be explicitly stated. Name the lab, name the connection, and show the soundbite where he denies such a relationship. Otherwise, this is just a baseless allegation. 

[Note: This is a popular pseudoscience approach. To be factual, something must be falsifiable. By keeping the claims and accusation vague and nonspecific, they cannot be disputed with evidence.]

 <Timeline Comment: We are now back to Judy Mikovits talking.> 

 

33. “In 1999 I was working in Fort Detrick …  my job was to teach Ebola how to infect human cells …  [it] could not infect human cells until we took it into the lab and doctored it” 

This is a bizarre claim to make. The director of one of our alma maters (LSHTM) co-discovered the Ebola virus in 1976 during the first documented epidemic. Yet it could not infect human cells until you taught it how in the late 90s?  

Here’s a glimpse at what was actually happening at the Fort Detrick lab in the late 90s: “USAMRIID researches vaccines, treatments, and disease pathologies, primarily to protect military service members from biological threats.” 

 34. “People are dying from this in alarming numbers. How do you reconcile that?”  “It’s pretty easy when you see what the government has done … they took, quoting Dr. Birx, ‘a very liberal approach’ “  

Here they have jumped from discussing treating Ebola to classifying COVID-19 cases in the US. The implication being that Dr. Birx has instructed hospitals and providers to lie about cases and death counts. 

She goes on to claim that her husband’s COPD would be classified as COVID if he died. That’s not how medical diagnosis works. It's not how death certificates work. Care providers can tell the difference between a COPD death and a COVID-19 death; this is literally what they are trained to do. It's also important to note that COPD predisposes a patient to more serious COVID-19 complications; the two don't exist in a patient independently. Furthermore, as you can see here, the CDC asks for every potential contributing cause of death, when that cause began, and the level of certainty associated with each cause. In short, no, her husband’s COPD would not produce a death certificate claiming COVID rather than listing COPD.

Here’s how classifying a case of COVID-19 actually works. You can see the complex requirements outlined for the different case definitions; it's not just something a care provider can randomly claim without any substantiation.

Furthermore, there is no evidence to substantiate the claim that providers are exaggerating the number of cases or deaths. There is, however, evidence that the current tallies are underestimating the total impact of COVID-19. 

  

35. “I've seen so many doctors online that have made their own webcam videos just perplexed at the protocol the CDC is giving them.” 

If doctors are perplexed, the appropriate thing to do here is to ask their contacts at public health departments about the protocol, not create youtube videos telling the general public that everyone is being duped.

Many care providers have never worked through an epidemic before. Epidemiological norms may be unfamiliar. It’s fair to be “perplexed” at the protocols. Ask public health officials to help you understand the process. 

 

36. “You don’t die with an infection; you die from an infection” 

The implication of this statement is unclear, but the statement itself is inaccurate. Many infections are chronic infections that do not lead to death. You die “from” the cause that killed you and there's a formal process for identifying the cause of death. It’s completely normal for people to die with underlying conditions that were not the actual cause of death. Epidemiologists and public health professionals understand that death is complex and that underlying factors can play a role in whether or not a condition becomes fatal. 

[Note: This is a good time to point out again that Judy Mikovits' expertise is in the lab, not clinical or public health. It’s fair that these medical and/or public health concepts are unfamiliar to her as that’s not within her area of expertise. The professional thing to do in that scenario is to defer to someone who is an expert and can better explain the areas in which you are confused rather than assuming nefarious intent and twisting norms into conspiracies.] 

 

37. <paraphrased> Doctors who have “admitted” that they are being incentivized to list COVID-19 on death certificates… $13k for Medicare if you call it COVID-19 and $39k if they go on a ventilator 

The implication here is that hospitals are engaged in widespread insurance fraud. That has been debunked elsewhere.

Medicare reimburses in accordance with what normal treatments would cost. More serious conditions typically produce bigger hospital bills. These reimbursement guidelines are determined by the average cost to treat the diagnosed condition.  It's not a COVID-19 bonus; it's directly related to the fact that COVID-19 often requires more serious intervention and a lengthy hospital stay.

 

38. “You killed them with a ventilator 'cause you gave them the wrong treatment”

 Skipping over the inflammatory language designed to trigger an emotional response... this is yet another HUGE claim to make without substantiation. If you're going to accuse the entire medical system of killing people, you should bring some solid evidence. 

 

39. “Italy has a very old population... sick with inflammatory disorders… untested new form of influenza vaccine that had 4 strains including the highly pathogenic H1N1… grown in a dog cell line… dogs have lots of coronaviruses …. that’s why they are not testing” 

This is... a lot. Is it one of those things? All of those things? 

In terms of age, epidemiologists control for age when evaluating morbidity and mortality. Yes, many COVID-19 deaths are in older individuals and age may play a role in Italy's death toll. 

The quadrivalent influenza vaccine is produced by multiple manufacturers; it's not a universal product. Italy progressed from a trivalent to a quadrivalent vaccine (which included the H1N1 strain) in 2014. Why that would be related to the late 2019/2020 pandemic is unclear. 

This then takes a bizarre turn into dogs having coronaviruses and the dog/its virus being in the flu vaccine. Vaccines made from cell lines are not the same thing as injecting a person with animal parts. 

Finally, the Madin-Darby Canine Kidney cell line originated in 1958. Is her implication that dogs were infected with COVID-19 in 1958 and due to the use of this cell line, we're now experiencing a global pandemic in 2020? Or that dogs had other viruses in the coronavirus family and those transform to COVID-19 when the cell lines are used for flu vaccines? The claim leaves a lot to the imagination, and a vivid imagination is exactly what's required to make much sense of this. 

 

 <Timeline Comment: We now jump to a clip of an unidentified angry man wearing scrubs shouting at the camera, followed by another voiceover designed to look like a news clip with background images of various online articles. While Mikovits' Plandemic film does not identify the man, he has been identified as Eric Nepute, a chiropractor in St Louis; this begs the question of why a chiropractor is portrayed as a medical expert on COVID-19 as the pandemic does not fall within a chiropractor's scope of practice.>

 

40. “What happened to the hydroxychloroquine?... polling doctors in 30 countries…” 

Polling doctors to see which treatments they like ≠ conducting rigorous clinical research. The point of clinical research is to test our perceptions of what is working and what isn’t working so that we can focus on what works. It is not at all unusual to find that something which appeared effective in a few case studies actually fails to offer a clinical benefit when tested through rigorous clinical trials. 

In this case, we’re seeing that hydroxychloroquine, and related drugs, are not the miracle workers we had hoped for. See here, here, and here

 

 <Timeline Comment: We are now back to Judy Mikovits speaking.>

 

41. “The AMA was saying, you know, Doctors will lose their licenses if they use hydroxychloroquine." 

No, they scolded physicians and pharmacists for hoarding the drug when early reports indicated it may be an effective treatment and cautioned them that, “decisions to use these medications off-label must be made with extreme caution and careful monitoring.” No threats to lose their licenses, just reminders of their professional obligations. 

 

 42. “[Hydroxychloroquine] that's been on the list of essential medicine worldwide for 70 years, Dr. Fauci calls that anecdotal data” 

Here she implies that hydroxychloroquine is considered by the WHO to be an essential medicine, but Dr. Fauci is dismissing the WHO's classification as anecdotal data. This is an intentional distortion of facts. The WHO’s list of essential medicines is a list of medicines that are considered to be the most effective and safe to treat conditions many countries face. It has absolutely nothing to do with the pandemic or COVID-19 and it certainly offers no implication that items on that list are miracle drugs that cure everything. 

This list includes drugs that are safe and effective for certain conditions. Each drug on the list is associated with specific conditions. Substances can be on this list and still be contraindicated for certain conditions. These drugs are for specific uses, not widespread cure-alls. In the absence of controlled, clinical trials, claims that any substance cures COVID-19 is anecdotal data. Fauci is not calling the WHO’s list of essential medicines anecdotal; that list has nothing to do with this pandemic. 

 

43. “It’s not storytelling if we have thousands of pages of data saying it’s effective against these families of viruses...”

Having thousands of “pages” of data (which is an odd way to refer to scientific evidence in epidemiology, but we digress) does not constitute a clinical trial. It's one thing to have a large quantity of data; it's another thing to have sufficient evidence to establish causation. Data are meaningless unless they are determined to be of high quality, appropriate to the research question, and then analyzed using established methodology. Merely having data does not produce causation; those data have to produce evidence of causation. 

 

44. “This is essential medicine and they keep it from the people...”

 Again, essential medicine does not make it essential *to this pandemic.* This is another bait and switch. Furthermore, it is not being kept from use; the drug remains approved by the FDA for use under certain conditions, including scientific research studies evaluating its potential for this pandemic. 

It is worth noting here that the early recommendations of using these drugs to treat COVID-19 *did* cause a shortage which threatened access by patients who for whom it is essential. The shortage was caused by hoarding of the drug, due to public excitement about its overinflated potential. 

This IS essential medicine–for people with lupus, malaria, and other conditions. And the supply of this medication was threatened due to inflated promises from anecdotal observations. 

That's all for now. In installment three, we'll progress to the discussions of autism, natural medicine, and who gets funded/published. 

 
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