Climate Deniers Jump on the Viral Disinformation Wagon

March 30, 2020

For those that believe windmills cause cancer, and up until last week, were convinced that Corona virus was a hoax, it’s a great moment to double up on health scams, and maybe even make some quick cash?

Local Anti-Wind activist in Michigan writes:

If the stated goal is to “flatten” the curve (as opposed to eradication of the virus), we have to abandon the black-and-white thinking, and embrace shades of grey. We cannot any longer claim that masks “are not effective”.

“What if a however partial protection afforded by leaky surgical or even self-made masks reduces transmission probability to an extent that is similar to that of the recommended (equally imperfect) distancing by more than 6 feet from each other or “not touching your face”?

Want to “possibly” make the mask a bit more effective? There is absolutely “no proof” that this will work, but you could pray the mask lightly, VERY lightly with “THIEVES spray” a Young Living Oil product. No proof like I said, but it’s just an idea.

People who use essential oils regularly will know what I am talking about.

The 30 year war on science has made believing in science a tribal identity signifier.

Pulitizer Prize winner Laurie Garret tweets:

America has officially gone berserk. Concern about #COVID19 is now partisan: Democrats fear the #pandemic, Republicans think the #coronavirus is no big deal. This is not science. This is “belief” – as in, “I believe it’s ok right now to party hearty at a beach kegger.”


Scientific warnings are being ignored, misinformation is spreading, and prominent Republicans have said that addressing the problem is either too expensive or too difficult. No, this isn’t climate change: This is the new reality of the novel coronavirus, the deadly pandemic sweeping the planet.

Over the past several weeks, as global cases of COVID-19 have climbed to over 500,000, conspiracy theories and fake news have also been on the rise. On Monday a man died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate, an ingredient in an anti-malarial drug that President Trump had heralded as a coronavirus cure.

Meanwhile, the website Snopes has been forced to scale back its fact-checking work in response to the overwhelming number of fake stories around the pandemic. (Some disturbing highlights: claims that the coronavirus was released by world governments to distract from a planet-ending doomsday asteroid, or that breathing hot air from a hair dryer can kill the virus.)

But these wild conspiracy theories hide a larger problem: widespread skepticism about the severity of the crisis. President Trump downplayed the risk of the virus for months, saying the situation was “very much under control” and that the pandemic would go away by April. Anchors on Fox News initially denied that the coronavirus was a significant threat, calling concerned scientists and policymakers “panic pushers” conspiring to take down the president. Sean Hannity referred to it as “a new hoax.”

Evidence shows that such spreading of misinformation can put more people in danger. According to a working paper released last year, when public figures dismissed warnings of destruction posed by oncoming hurricanes, people were less likely to evacuate.

Similar dismissals of the coronavirus pandemic might be swaying how some states respond. Twenty-four states have yet to close non-essential businesses, including traditionally “red” states like Texas, Nebraska, and Wyoming. Phone data has also revealed that residents of red states are less likely to be practicing social-distancing measures. Meanwhile, at conservative Liberty University in Virginia, students are being invited to return to campus this week, even as other universities around the country lock down. And, according to polls, Republicans are more likely to say that the media is exaggerating the crisis, and less likely to be “extremely concerned” about the pandemic.

New York Times:

Updated March 30, 2020: This story has been changed to reflect the first known positive coronavirus test of a Liberty University student. 

LYNCHBURG, Va. — As Liberty University’s spring break was drawing to a close this month, Jerry Falwell Jr., its president, spoke with the physician who runs Liberty’s student health service about the rampaging coronavirus.

“We’ve lost the ability to corral this thing,” Dr. Thomas W. Eppes Jr. said he told Mr. Falwell. But he did not urge him to close the school. “I just am not going to be so presumptuous as to say, ‘This is what you should do and this is what you shouldn’t do,’” Dr. Eppes said in an interview.

So Mr. Falwell — a staunch ally of President Trump and an influential voice in the evangelical world — reopened the university last week, igniting a firestorm. As of Friday, Dr. Eppes said, nearly a dozen Liberty students were sick with symptoms that suggested Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Three were referred to local hospital centers for testing. An additional eight were told to self-isolate.

As of 8 p.m. on March 29, of those three students tested, one was positive, one was negative and one student’s results are still pending, according to Dr. Eppes, who added that the student who tested positive for Covid-19 lives off campus. 

“Liberty will be notifying the community as deemed appropriate and required by law,” Mr. Falwell said in an interview on Sunday when confronted with the numbers. He added that any student now returning to campus would be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“I can’t be sure what’s going on with individuals who are not being tested but who are advised to self-isolate,” said Kerry Gateley, the health director of the Central Virginia Health District, which covers Lynchburg. “I would assume that if clinicians were concerned enough about the possibility of Covid-19 disease to urge self-isolation that appropriate screening and testing would be arranged.”

After initial publication of this article, the university said it had asked four students who returned from the New York area and two of their roommates to self-quarantine, but none of them were referred for testing and none had symptoms. One student who returned from a county with a high number of cases was running a fever and had a cough. He was tested and elected to go home pending the results rather than self-isolate, the university said.

Of the 1,900 students who initially returned last week to campus, Mr. Falwell said more than 800 had left. But he said he had “no idea” how many students had returned to off-campus housing.

8 Responses to “Climate Deniers Jump on the Viral Disinformation Wagon”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    If we could only guarantee that CV-19 would kill off way more Republicans than anyone else (and particularly the mindless members of the Trump Cult), it might almost be worth it for the country to go through this catastrophe.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Forgot to clearly point out that would also eliminate a lot of climate deniers as well—two piles of horseshit cleaned up with one shovel.

  2. Bill Haaf Says:

    Did not work.

    From: Climate Denial Crock of the Week Sent: Monday, March 30, 2020 1:29 PM To: Subject: [New post] Climate Deniers Jump on the Viral Disinformation Wagon

    greenman3610 posted: ” For those th

  3. doldrom Says:

    Never thought I’d defend Delingpole, but the efficacy of chloroquine is that is acts as a zinc ionophore, transporting zinc ions across the cell membrane where it interferes with production of a protein that plays a part in RNA transcription and inhibits virus replication. So the zinc reference is not completely bogus. The mechanism is described in various Chinese publications about candidate medicines and clinical trials.

    • jimbills Says:

      I actually take zinc supplements during cold/flu season and anecdotally I haven’t gotten sick in the 3+ years I’ve done so. I used to get sick 1-2 times a year before then. Zinc is a normal part of cold remedies, and the common cold is a coronavirus. Here’s an article on zinc and the novel coronavirus:

      It’s way too early in the research phase to claim it has a real effect on Covid-19, though.

      I’ll also defend the masks thing from the anti-wind person (although not the concoction idea). I’ve been skeptical about the masks not being effective for the general public, too. Why would the entire nation of China be required to wear them in public if they had no (or even a negative) effect on preventing the spread? It’s seemed to me that there have been a lot of mixed messages about them because we had such a critical shortage of the things in this country. And now, we see this:

      But, there is a real point to Peter’s post here. Delingpole is displaying a behavior that is common in the deniersphere. These guys all think they are far smarter than any and all of the trained experts who have spent entire careers on the subject. And it’s not just one or two cases of this. They think it happens with every subject. They somehow know better than everyone else under any situation (Dunning-Kruger).

      This belief underpins their climate denial and leads to them claiming all sorts of wacky ideas. It’s not a coincidence that coronavirus ‘remedies’ are being sold on sites like Alex Jones’s.

  4. John Kane Says:

    James Delingpole QC? Yah sure.

    That’s a bit like the potty peer claiming to to be a member of the House of Lords, well at least Moncton is a real peer.

    Delingpole has been a twat for years and is carrying on well here. If you can find the Sir James Nurse/James Delingpole interv.ew

    @ doldrom March 30, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    Delingpole may have a point and there are several chloroquine trials going on at the moment. The problem is that f*** idiots like Delingpole and Trump are too ignorant and/or stupid to understand that spreading stupid rumours can kill people.

  5. mboli Says:

    It seems that Richard Epstein, the famous libertarian law professor, is both a climate denier and a coronavirus quack. Another example that the two go together.
    In his weekly column in the Hoover Institution journal “Defining Ideas”, Epstein published three weeks in row during March his theories of why epidemiological projections of the course of the pandemic are overblown, and why the public health response is doing more harm than good. Apparently the first of these columns was popular in the White House, and is credited with Trump’s belief that it was important to end the shelter-at-home quite soon.
    Epstein also publishes articles about how global warming isn’t a big problem. His October 9th column “A Climate Change Emergency?” is filled with blather about chaotic systems, CO2 is good for plants, temperatures declined after 2016, yada yada. His March 2 column “The Revenge of the Paris Agreement” is partly a warning (from a UK court decision about) that the Paris Agreement could have impeded Trump’s environmental deregulation.
    Epstein’s articles on the two topics are not mostly about law. They strike me as mostly about rationalizing a belief that these two things are not as bad as the scientists say. So even if I don’t see the logic, they do seem like parallel belief systems.

  6. J4Zonian Says:

    I’ve come to the point now where I ask about almost everything that happens, “Why are they doing this? What exactly does it accomplish?”

    I would never have imagined that anything could reduce my opinion of Delingpole below what it is already. I mean, below zero is below zero…how much can it matter? But it’s comforting to know this ignoring of health recommendations and offering of quack remedies comes from exactly the same people who have delayed rational responses to climate catastrophe for decades. It has a function; that fact keeps my world intact.

    The function of this will be to thin out the herd, even if it’s only a little—separate those unable to think clearly or adjust to reality, and infect large numbers of them at their own request with a potentially deadly virus. As a form of feedback it’s a bit abstract, especially considering the harshness of the lesson, but with accurate enough reporting of statistics everyone but the reality-impaired right wing will get the meaning: COVID-19 is real and dangerous, science works, and the prize goes to those who make the inductive leap to: climate catastrophe is real and dangerous. It won’t be many, but maybe there will be a few more in touch with reality once this is over than there were before.

    The world is made just a bit more clear—though sad and scary—as the lunatic right wing engages in superstition worthy of Medieval peasants. For years we’ve been saying the Republicans were leading us to energy sources of the 19th century, on the way to the 12th. Suddenly,

    we’re there.

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