Thursday in Whitewater will see partly cloudy skies with a high of sixty-nine. Sunrise is 5:25 AM and sunset 8:17 PM, for 14h 52m 50s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 1.5% of its visible disk illuminated.
On this day in 1856, Lawrence, Kansas is captured and burned by pro-slavery fanatics.
Recommended for reading in full —
Sheera Frenkel, Ben Decker, and Davey Alba report How the ‘Plandemic’ Movie and Its Falsehoods Spread Widely Online (‘Conspiracy theories about the pandemic have gained more traction than mainstream online events. Here’s how’):
There have been plenty of jaw-dropping digital moments during the coronavirus pandemic.
There was the time this month when Taylor Swift announced she would air her “City of Lover” concert on television. The time that the cast of “The Office” reunited for an 18-minute-long Zoom wedding. And the time last month that the Pentagon posted three videos that showed unexplained “aerial phenomena.”
Yet none of those went as viral as a 26-minute video called “Plandemic,” a slickly produced narration that wrongly claimed a shadowy cabal of elites was using the virus and a potential vaccine to profit and gain power. The video featured a discredited scientist, Judy Mikovits, who said her research about the harm from vaccines had been buried.
“Plandemic” went online on May 4 when its maker, Mikki Willis, a little-known film producer, posted it to Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and a separate website set up to share the video. For three days, it gathered steam in Facebook pages dedicated to conspiracy theories and the anti-vaccine movement, most of which linked to the video hosted on YouTube. Then it tipped into the mainstream and exploded.
Just over a week after “Plandemic” was released, it had been viewed more than eight million times on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and had generated countless other posts.
The most recent example is Moderna’s claim Monday of favorable results in its vaccine trial, which it announced without revealing any of the underlying data. The announcement added billions of dollars to the value of the company, with its shares jumping almost 20 percent. Many analysts believe it contributed to a 900-point gain in the Dow Jones industrial average.
The Moderna announcement described a safety trial of its vaccine based on eight healthy participants. The claim was that in all eight people, the vaccine raised the levels of neutralizing antibodies equivalent to those found in convalescent serum of those who recovered from covid-19. What to make of that claim? Hard to say, because we have no sense of what those levels were. This is the equivalent of a chief executive of a public company announcing a favorable earnings report without supplying supporting financial data, which the Securities and Exchange Commission would never allow.
There is a legitimate question regarding what Moderna’s unsupported assertion means. The scientific and medical literature reports that some people who have recovered have little to no detectable neutralizing antibodies. There is even existing scientific literature that suggests it is possible neutralizing antibodies may not protect animals or humans from infection or reinfection by coronaviruses.