Fact-Checking “Plandemic” [Part 3]

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This is part 3 of a 3 part series fact-checking the claims made in the 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.

You can find part one here and part two here. We resume mid-sentence as Judy Mikovits is jumping from claiming that Anthony Fauci is withholding essential medicine from COVID-19 patients to discussing autism.

45a. “Back in autism with our discovery….” 

This feels like yet another wild twist in the Plandemic film. We were discussing HIV-AIDS, coronaviruses, vaccines… and now autism? However, this isn’t new; Judy Mikovits first tried to generalize her work to autism in 2011, as she was being investigated.

From the Chicago Tribune, when covering her scientific misconduct, “The lead researcher, Judy Mikovits, began making sweeping unsupported statements about the finding, including tying XMRV to autism without publishing any data to support that statement.”

45b. “hundred-year old drug called suramin on the WHO list of essential medicine. It literally gave kids with autism a voice, a life.” 

The way this is introduced, it is implied that her work was related to suramin and that she was responsible for a breakthrough that cured autism. So it needs to be noted that she does not have any work on suramin; her area of expertise has nothing to do with autism or this drug.

Additionally, she uses the same tactic identified in part two, where she implies that presence on the WHO list of essential medicines means that a drug is required as a cure-all. Drugs on that list are for specific conditions.

Suramin is a drug, which is listed on the WHO list of essential medicines for its ability to treat African Sleeping Sickness and River Blindness.  The work on suramin and autism was conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and was published in May 2017.

The study in question included ten boys, 5 of whom received the drug. All 5 experienced some sort of adverse reaction to the drug. Verbal ability was one of several outcomes measured; the research team found that the boys who received the drug experienced “dramatic, but transient improvement in core symptoms of autism.” In other words, the improvements did not last. Because the results were temporary and the drug poses significant risks, the researchers warned: “We strongly caution against the unauthorized use of suramin.”

This is consistent with other warnings about use of the drug. The drug has many side effects which range from a mild rash to loss of consciousness. As one report describes it, “In higher doses, it is known to cause anemia and problems with the adrenal gland, which makes hormones, including the stress hormone cortisol.”

45c. “What did Bayer and Monsanto do?” 

Suramin was first discovered by Bayer scientists in 1916. While Monsanto is a popular villain, the company was purchased by Bayer in 2018. However, what Monsanto has to do with suramin is unclear.

45d. “You couldn’t get it [suramin] to save your life right now…

Actually you could get it to save your life. It’s available for those who have the type of infections it is used to treat. It is also available for clinical research, such as this recent study on breast cancer. Interestingly enough, not only is it attainable by those who need it, it is available for free from the World Health Organization for those in countries affected by these diseases.

[Note: It’s not clear what suramin and autism have to do with the current pandemic.]

46. “When you take away a medicine, and not just the W.H.O., not just the WHO, the FDA, the CDC, Toni Fauci, close everything. Just end it all and we’ve got a healthy world again and we got tons of money cuz we can take all that money they’re making on their patents and we can give it to the victims of this plague of corruption.” 

[Note: Yes, that is the unedited quote.] We listened to this section countless times and are still unclear on what she’s trying to say. The implication appears to be that the “plague of corruption” involves pharmaceutical companies refusing to sell necessary drugs to patients who need them. This withholding of the sale of drugs is then supposed to provide “tons of money” which can then be used to compensate patients who were restricted from purchasing the necessary drugs.

She doesn’t explain how refusal to sell products makes a company “tons of money.” Refusing to sell products is a counterproductive step for a for-profit company to take.

Additionally, it’s not at all clear what Dr Fauci has to do with any of this, how the WHO is involved, or where the extra money is coming from in a plot to withhold the sale of drugs. Wouldn’t they *need* to sell the drugs to get all this money to pay off the victims?

Nothing in this sentence has anything to do with what was said immediately before or after. It looks more like throwing a bunch of fear mongering words against the wall to see what sticks.

47. “Is it safe to say that anything that cannot be patented has been shut down intentionally because there’s no way to profit from it, all these natural remedies that we’ve had for…ever?” 

This is particularly confusing for us to hear because that’s literally what we do here as the Franklin School of Integrative Health Sciences research team. We actually paused our clinical research work on natural substances to prepare this fact-checking series.

Not only do we conduct clinical research in integrative health, we have a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity which raises money to conduct research, in addition to the work we conduct at the request of national integrative health organizations, international organizations (including those with governmental funding), and private companies in the wellness industry.

Furthermore, there is an entire division of the National Institutes for Health which focuses exclusively on funding integrative health research. Qualified scientists receive federal grants to study everything from mindfulness to dietary supplements.

Finally, not only is integrative health research published in just about every scientific journal available, there are numerous scientific journals which focus exclusively on integrative medicine. For example:

Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine

Complementary Therapies in Medicine

Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine

47a. “That’s exactly what is going on in COVID-19…”

This is an easily disputed claim. She states that natural remedies exist to treat COVID-19 but are being withheld.

As of yet, we have no evidence of ANY substance being capable of treating COVID-19 because it is a novel disease. It takes time to produce evidence sufficient to classify a substance as a safe and effective treatment.

Researchers are currently studying a wide range of substances for COVID-19 patients. Over 1300 studies are currently registered on the ClinicalTrials.gov registry alone. These include everything from natural products such as vitamin C to prescription drugs. Nothing is being withheld or blocked.

48. “…prevent the therapies until everyone is infected and push the vaccines…”

A claim like this demands evidence. She doesn’t state who is doing this intentional withholding of treatments to intentionally infect the entire world for the purpose of selling a low-profit prevention. At a bare minimum she should be specific about who is behind this global plot of destruction.

It would also lend some credibility if the claim made logical sense. If the goal is widespread murder to sell a vaccine, it does not make any sense to get everyone infected and then push the vaccine. The conspiracy that this pandemic is an intentional plot to sell vaccines loses credibility as each day passes, filled with widespread morbidity and mortality, while we are still a long time away away from the earliest possibility of a vaccine.

Additionally, the numbers don’t add up. If [whoever they is] wanted to make a fortune on a global pandemic, the way to do that is not to push a vaccine that does not yet exist. The way to do that is to develop a drug that cures the disease. Drugs for treatment can enter the market faster than vaccines, are far more profitable, and by the time someone is sick, they are an absolute necessity. Nothing about this outlandish claim makes any logical sense.

49. “knowing that the flu vaccines increase the odds by 36% of getting COVID-19” 

She proceeds to substantiate this claim by referencing a paper published in June 2019, which was conducted on data from the 2017-2018 flu season and involved the coronavirus family of viruses. Nothing about this study has anything to do with COVID-19, as it did not exist during the 2017-2018 flu season.

In other words, her claim is absolutely untrue.

If the study had anything to do with COVID-19, we could take time here to discuss its limitations and how to interpret it more accurately. But since it has absolutely nothing to do with her claim, we will continue…

50. “…coronaviruses are in every animal…” 

This is another false claim. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses which do commonly infect animals. As with humans, the infection is acute, not chronic. So not only do all animals not have every coronavirus, it is not even accurate to say all animals experience it within their lifetime. In dogs, for example, population studies have shown that about 50% of dogs have had a canine respiratory coronavirus at some point in their lifetime. This is a large figure, but is far from every.

50a. “…so if you’ve ever had a flu vaccine, you were injected with coronaviruses” 

Aside from this being immediately deemed false because its premise is false (see above), the implication is that the flu vaccine injects humans with all viruses contained in dogs. This is an outlandish distortion of the role of animal cells in vaccine production.

To begin, there are different types of flu vaccine; they can’t all be grouped together. Most influenza viruses for vaccines are grown in hen’s eggs. Only a few come from canine cell lines. Furthermore, the use of a cell line is not at all the same as injecting someone with the cell lines. Nobody is being injected with coronaviruses. Finally, coronaviruses are not interchangeable; canine viruses are completely unrelated to COVID-19.

 <Timeline Comment: We now shift to a clip from the video with two Bakersfield urgent care doctors, whose press release has already been widely discredited; for the sake of continuity, however, we will address the claims from this short blurb here.>

51. “We are not wearing masks because… we want a strong immune system.” 

The implication is that masks negatively impact the immune response. Of course there is nothing to substantiate this claim. Research on mask wearing, however, does find that whether or not someone will engage in preventive behaviors such as wearing a mask is associated with their personal perception of severity and susceptibility of a disease. Refusal to wear a mask reveals more about the individual’s subjective belief system than their immune function.

52. “When you take that [the daily exchange of viruses with other people] away from me, my immune system drops. As I shelter in place, my immune system drops.”

The immune system, as the name implies, is a complex system that protects the body from microbes and fights invaders. It is not a temperature gauge which simply rises and falls.

Additionally, while it is clear that, particularly in children, exposure to a wide range of microbes can be beneficial for immune development, the current social distancing recommendations do not prevent exposure to all microbes, only COVID-19.

Being at a distance safe enough to avoid catching COVID-19 does not require total sanitation and removal from all microbes. We are still exposed to a wide variety of microbes in daily life through outdoor activities, consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, interactions with individuals in our homes, and numerous other sources. See here for more info on the problem with this claim.

53. “Worried about things that are indeed what I need to survive.”

Here he claims that concern about exposure to COVID-19 is the same as living in a sterile environment. Public health professionals are not recommending sterile environments; there is a difference between sterile and clean. Additionally, outdoor exposurephysical activityeating fresh produce… these are all healthy, beneficial things that produce a wide variety of microbial exposures.

54. “[Wearing a mask and gloves] reduces your bacterial flora.”

The relevance of bacterial flora and COVID-19 is not clear. Additionally, there is no evidence that a mask and gloves play any role in the gut microbiome, which is primarily established by the age of 3.

Similarly, there is nothing to indicate that a mask or gloves affects the skin microbiome. While hygiene does play a role, it does not negatively impact the microbial flora on the skin in a way that would play a role in the transmission of COVID-19.

[Side Note: This is immediately after instructing those with immunodeficiencies to wear a mask and gloves. Which is contradictory if wearing a mask and gloves reduces the immune response.]

53. “Your bacterial flora, your viruses, your friends, that protect you from other diseases go away. Now you are more likely to get opportunistic infections.”

In addition to overstating any potential loss of “friendly flora,” this claim overstates the relationship between microbes and immune function. While the body’s microflora do play a role in immune health, the immune system is complex and its overall health is not determined by any one specific factor.

56.“When we come out of shelter in place with a lower immune system and start trading viruses, … disease is going to spike.”

Actually, as public health professionals, we anticipate that these new healthy habits will result in a reduction of infectious disease. By emphasizing the importance of hand hygiene and avoidance of fomites, the public will have gained valuable new habits with widespread benefits.

For example, hand hygiene not only prevents COVID-19, it has also been shown to reduce the incidence of gastrointestinal infections and respiratory infections as a whole.

57.“The building blocks of your immune system is virus and bacteria. End of story.” 

No, the building blocks of your immune system are the many cells, tissues, and organs which make up the system as a whole.

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

58. “Wearing the mask literally activates your own virus. You’re getting sick from your own reactivated coronavirus expressions and if it happens to be SARS CoV-2, then you’ve got a big problem.” 

[Note: Yes, this does come immediately after hearing that wearing masks prevents exposure to microbes; now we hear a claim that it increases pathogen exposure. The storyline makes many erratic shifts and turns.]

This is a nonsensical claim. If someone is infected with COVID-19 and expelling the virus in their respiratory droplets, they are already infected with COVID-19. There is no evidence that wearing a mask while sick makes someone sicker; the infection is already in the body. If someone is infected with a different coronavirus, wearing a mask will not turn that virus into COVID-19.

59. “Why would you close the beach? You’ve got sequences in the soil, in the sand, you’ve got healing microbes in the ocean, in the salt water. That’s insanity.” 

We agree. That’s insanity.

We have no idea what sequences [of what?] in the sand have to do with COVID-19. Similarly, because there are no currently known cures for COVID-19, there is nothing in the sand, the ocean, the soil, or a laboratory that we can say with any degree of scientific certainty heals anything related to COVID-19.

60. “These institutions that are polluting our environment and our bodies; there was a time when they actually had to fight their own battles. But they’ve done such a great job at manipulating the masses… There is no dissenting voices allowed anymore in this free country.” 

[Again, this is an interesting claim to make in a film of dissenting voices.]

At no point is the identity of “these institutions” or “they” specified. We don’t know who was previously fighting their own battles but now has succeeded at manipulating the masses.

Fear mongering: 100%.

61. “We win because we’ll take down the whole program…”

Who is “we” and what is the “whole program?” The two of us have watched the film several times and none of this is specified. This nonspecific manner of speaking feeds into conspiracy theories as it forces the viewer to fill in the blanks. Conveniently, viewers can insert their confirmation bias and the “whole program” can be anything from Monsanto (which no longer exists) to Fauci to the WHO.

<Timeline Comment: We now shift back to Eric Nepute, the chiropractor from part 2 who is now shouting at the audience, banging his hand on the table and pointing at you.>

63. “I am blown away why there are not more doctors like me talking about this all over the place.”

The misleading implication that this man treats COVID-19 patients is noteworthy here. Perhaps his confusion about why “other” doctors are not talking about this is because the actual professionals treating patients in this pandemic understand the science? An angry doctor in an unrelated field does not substantiate a point. COVID-19 is not within his scope of practice.

[It is worth pointing out that earlier in the film, it was implied that all doctors are upset about this; now we hear a chiropractor angry that these doctors are not.]

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

64. “So it’s not the scientists who are in any way dishonest; they are listening to people who for more than 40 years have controlled who gets funded, what gets published...”

As published clinical researchers, we can attest that the people who controlled whether or not our work was conducted and/or published are those who evaluated our ethics and methods. Clinical research in this country requires authorization from an ethics review committee prior to recruiting a single patient. And publication requires submission of your methods, analysis, and results for peer review.

It is worth circling back around to: her work was retracted due to scientific misconduct. There was no organized take-down of her work; the gatekeepers in science are ethics and quality. She failed on both accounts.

65. “We’ve been taught now in our schools a very different science. You don’t get funded if you don’t speak the party line. You don’t get published” 

[Note: This is her response to what she would say to medical professionals. Despite her use of “we,” she is not a medical professional.]

She is referencing something being taught in schools but she does not work in formal academia and has never worked in the practice of medicine. There is no “party line” in research. Again, the only requirements for funding and publication are ethics and quality.

The burden of substantiation of this claim is on her. So far, the only thing close to evidence she has brought is a story of her own scientific misconduct. Her story is evidence against her final claim here, as it reveals how the scientific process identifies flaws and self corrects.

66. “Scientific journals would twist the discovery that should have healed all.” 

Now we’ve shifted to yet another villain. “The scientific journals” is not a single entity; journals are owned by publishers all over the world and articles in journals are approved by authors prior to publication.

 <Timeline Comment: The film concludes with a couple of video blurbs of Dr Fauci discussing the importance of pandemic preparedness.>

67. “The issue of pandemic preparedness and if there’s one message I want to leave with you today is that there is no question that there will be a surprise outbreak…. The thing that we are extraordinarily confident about is that we are going to see this in the next few years.” 

This is an utterly ridiculous and outlandish implication. It is presented, like many blurbs in the Plandemic movie, in such a way that feeds confirmation bias. It leads the viewer to believe that this pandemic was intentional and that Dr Fauci caused it to occur.

Public health professionals and scientists have been warning for many years that we are overdue for a pandemic. President George Bush invested a significant amount of effort into pandemic preparedness. As did President Barack Obama.

Public health experts warning officials that we are going to see a pandemic soon is science, not conspiracy. See examples hereherehere, and here. Dr Fauci is hardly alone in issuing these warnings; as public health professionals, we have been talking about the likelihood of a pandemic for many years.

Conclusion

Aaand that’s a wrap! This definitely wasn’t the first conspiracy theory to threaten public health and it won’t be the last. Keep an eye out for more COVID-19 updates.

Meet Dr Hawkins

Dr. Hawkins brings 20 years of expertise in the integrative health field to her role as Executive Director of the Franklin School of Integrative Health Sciences and the leader of our clinical research team.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Health from Union Institute and University, a Master’s Degree in Health Education & Promotion from the University of Alabama, a post-graduate certificate in epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a PhD in Health Research from Middle Tennessee State University, and is completing the post-doctoral Global Scholars Research Training Program at Harvard Medical School. She also holds certifications in numerous natural health fields including aromatherapy, aromatic medicine, herbalism, childbirth education, and labor support.