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Plandemic?: “There ain’t no plan.” Judy Mikovits cashes in on chronic fatigue syndrome misinformation.

2020-05-20

Coronavirus by Engin Akyurt via pixabay.com (open access)

From the New York Times: “On Facebook, “Plandemic” was liked, commented on or shared nearly 2.5 million times, according to the CrowdTangle data.”  The NYT counted over 8 million views of the video.  This is absurd and dangerous.  Judy Mikovits went from being a graduate student to tending bar, to working for a Las Vegas millionaire who wanted to research chronic fatigue syndrome because she had a relative with the disorder.  She was fired from that position, arrested for stealing her lab notebooks from work, and released without charges after the multi-millionaire husband was investigated for fraudulently contributing to a political campaign.

At loose ends, she cast about for a new way to make ends meet.  She discovered fringe publishing, writing two books which she arranged for a self-publishing firm to produce.  She hit the jackpot with the second book, in part because of the pandemic.  She used her expertise in virology to advance a fringe theory about vaccines: that they were contaminated with retroviruses.  This idea fit the agendas of “anti-vaxxers”– a group of people opposed to the use of vaccination to prevent (mostly) childhood scourges such as measles, mumps, and polio.

This idea took root in her research for the millionaire family that wanted to find a cause for chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as “myalgic encephalomyelitis”).  This poorly understood syndrome has a series of baffling and disabling symptoms that wax and wane over years: fatigue, weakness, intolerance to exercise with exacerbation of symptoms, muscle pain (myalgia), and other relapsing symptoms such as fever, sore throat, swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, and so on.  Many of these symptoms are shared with other disorders of known cause.  For example, mononucleosis (caused by a known virus) causes fever, sore throat, and marked cervical (neck) lymph node swellings, followed by weeks or months of fatigue, especially in teenagers, and is popularly known as “the kissing disease” because it is particularly prevalent in early adolescence.

Here is a list of symptoms, from  health.harvard.edu:

The most prominent symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome is an unexplained feeling of fatigue, which is not relieved by rest. This fatigue is severe enough to decrease a person’s activity level at home, work or school by 50% or more. In addition, the diagnosis requires that patients should have at least four of the following symptoms that also are present for at least six months:

  • Impaired concentration or short-term memory, severe enough to affect routine activities at home, work, school or social functions

  • Sore throat

  • Enlarged lymph nodes (swollen glands) in the neck or underarm area

  • Muscle pain

  • Pain in several joints, with no redness or swelling

  • Headaches that are different in some way: a new type of headache pain, a new pattern of headaches or headaches that are more severe than before

  • Sleep that doesn’t refresh, or not feeling rested on waking

  • An extreme reaction to exertion: feeling sick after exercise or strenuous activity, often not starting until the next day

The syndrome of “myalgic encephalomyelitis” has been much-studied, with little result.  Ms. Mikovits’ contribution, published in 2011 but later retracted, was to blame a mouse retrovirus.  The paper was retracted because all of her samples were contaminated with this virus, for unknown reasons.  (Retroviruses are known to be an abstruse type of virus that integrates its genome into the DNA of its host, ensuring that it is transmitted to all descendants of the infected cell.  Retroviruses do not directly cause cell death and are compatible with long-term survival of the host.  They can cause cancer in some cases.)  To date, no known cause for “myalgic encephalomyelitis” has been established with any certainty, and the condition remains frustratingly real but beyond the grasp of medical science to unravel.

Enter the pandemic.  The video “Plandemic” was produced by a hitherto little-known videographer who shall remain nameless here.  It was widely publicized and struck a nerve because it made some serious (but unfounded) charges in regard to both the novel coronavirus and vaccination.  As mentioned, it has been viewed over eight million times, before and since being taken down from Facebook as being full of misinformation.  Other authors have refuted its charges point by point; factcheck.org pops up first when I Google “refutation of plandemic” but there are many others.  One of the reasons for the video’s popularity is that it includes just enough truth and half-truth to resound with skeptics and people with low information levels.

I don’t know how much money Ms. Mikovits has made off of this second book or the video but I’m sure it’s substantial, more than me.  I can’t help but feel a little envious of her “success” and worse than that, it comes at the expense of truth and perhaps some people’s health.  Karma will certainly catch up, but don’t hold your breath waiting.

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