Category: Politics and Regulation

Brownstone uses flawed data analysis to minimize COVID in NYC; An NYC hospitalist’s perspective

Guest posters Drs. Eric Burnett and Jonathan Laxton provide a lengthy rebuttal to Dr. Jessica Hockett's claims that NYC did not suffer a deadly, almost overwhelming wave of COVID-19 in 2020.

, / December 1, 2022
The Cow-Pock

What does “antivaccine” really mean since the pandemic hit?

We frequently use terms like “antivaccine,” “antivax,” and “antivaxxers.” Critics think it’s a “gotcha” to ask how we define “antivax” or to accuse us of reflexively label "questioning" of vaccines as "antivax." It's not. There are gray areas, but not so gray that the word is never appropriate. Has anything changed since I first tried to define "antivaccine" in 2010? The answer:...

/ November 28, 2022
Quackery duck

The war on the science-based regulation of medicine accelerates

Last week, it was reported how increasingly there is a war on the science-based regulation of medicine and physicians. It's an old story, but unfortunately the forces arrayed against science-based policy have been emboldened by the pandemic and an stronger alliance with political groups that are against government regulation in general.

/ October 31, 2022
Ducks quack

The making of COVID-19 “contrarian” doctors

In 2009, I tried to answer the question: How do doctors become quacks and antivaxxers? A Twitter encounter suggested to me that an update to that post is massively overdue.

/ October 24, 2022
Joseph Ladapo

The State of Florida spreads antivaccine disinformation disguised as an epidemiological “study”

On Friday, Florida State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo released a non-peer-reviewed "study" that recommends against males aged 18 to 39 receiving mRNA COVID-19 vaccines based on bad epidemiology and science. This is the first time that we've seen a state government weaponize bad science to spread antivaccine disinformation as official policy, a dangerous new escalation in antivaccine propaganda.

/ October 10, 2022
Censored

“Censorship” and “thoughtcrime”? Antivaxxers and COVID-19 contrarians attack California AB 2098

One of the oldest tropes favored by quacks of all stripes, including antivaxxers, is to portray any attempt at regulating their quackery as an assault on freedom of speech. It's therefore not surprising that after its passage by the California legislature prominent spreaders of COVID-19 misinformation are labeling AB2098, which seeks clarify and codify the power of the Medical Board of California...

/ September 26, 2022

Dr. Vinay Prasad echoes a common antivax trope that portrays concern about a deadly disease as irrational fear

Before the pandemic, antivaxxers likened concern about childhood diseases to mental illness. In the age of COVID-19, Dr. Vinay Prasad accuses medicine of "legitimizing" irrational anxiety and says we should treat COVID like the flu—with one telling omission. In a recent paid Substack, he doubles down and accuses physicians and scientists of anxiety disorders that "interfere with people's lives".

/ September 19, 2022
Figure 1

Science denial, overconfidence, and persuasion

The pandemic has brought scientists who have rejected science with respect to COVID-19 public health measures a disturbing level of influence. Recent research suggests reasons why and who among the public susceptible to such misinformation remains persuadable.

/ August 22, 2022

The rise and fall of the lab leak hypothesis for the origin of SARS-CoV-2

Two new studies were published last week that strongly support a natural zoonotic origin for COVID-19 centered at the wet market in Wuhan, China. Naturally, lab leak proponents soberly considered this new evidence and thought about changing their minds. Just kidding! They doubled down on the conspiracy mongering, because of course they did.

/ August 1, 2022
Pulse oximeters

COVID-19 puts the spotlight on an unexpected racial disparity in health care

Evidence increasingly suggests that pulse oximeters, the little finger clips that measure blood oxygen, overestimate the blood oxygenation in Black patients. It's a problem that's been discussed a long time that took a pandemic to bring to public consciousness. How can SBM decrease or eliminate such healthcare disparities?

/ July 18, 2022