Dr Peter Hotez’s fight against the ‘anti-science confederation’ is a life in the making

Dr Peter Hotez's fight against the 'anti-science confederation' is a life in the making

The anti-vaccine movement taught vaccine researcher Peter Hotez do not ignore conspiracy theories, also scientifically unfounded. But in late spring 2020, the virulence of the made-up stories he started hearing about COVID-19 amazed him.

A hoax claimed that Bill Gates created the novel coronavirus to force all Americans to get vaccinated with eensy devices that would create a sci-fi global surveillance network. Another said the launch of a 5G network in Wuhan, China spawned the virus. Some people have claimed, wrongly, that Gates, Hotez and Dr Anthony Fauci were ready to get rich off patents related to the COVID vaccine.

Hotez watched the anti-vaxx movement – with its hippie roots in liberal mistrust of chemicals and Big Pharma – connect with far-right groups. The “choice of vaccine” has become an issue during protests between mask demands and business closures. He was particularly alarmed that in Michigan in late April and early May, supporters of President Donald Trump, dressed in camouflage and armed with rifles, demonstrated on the steps of the state capital.

Worse yet, some of the misinformation came from white people …

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