On November 29, Facebook profile ბიბლიის მორწმუნე ქრისტიანები (Bible Believing Christians) published a lengthy post, noting that the pandemic was planned intentionally and that this claim is supported by relevant evidence. To back up this opinion, the author provides various arguments, among others a documentary “Plandemic.” The post reads that the Plandemic has exposed a COVID-19 “criminal operation.”
The post published by ბიბლიის მორწმუნე ქრისტიანები (Bible Believing Christians) is accompanied by a photo collage, showing a crowd of people gathered in the street. The post also mentions mass protests in Europe organized by a group of German medical doctors called “Doctors for Information.” According to the post, the group believes that the coronavirus pandemic is a hoax and it even organized a large protest rally on August 29, 2020 gathering several millions of people.
On December 1, Facebook profile Georgian Page published an identical post in a group ✅GEპროქართულიGE✅. The post refers to an English-language blog as its source and provides its link in the end. The blog named Madison Area Lyme Support Group posts an English-language text identical to the Georgian-language post.
As of December 9, the posts published by the Bible Believing Christians and ✅GEპროქართულიGE✅ have 316 shares and 126 shares, respectively.
The video Plandemic referred to by the author of the post as a documentary has already been removed from the Internet; however, according to the information searched through open sources, Judy Mikovits, former medical researcher, promotes the following claims about the coronavirus:
- Flu vaccine is used to inject humans with the coronavirus.
- Hydroxychloroquine “is effective against this family of viruses.”
- People get infected after wearing face masks.
- The coronavirus cannot survive on surfaces for over an hour.
- The novel coronavirus is not natural, it came from a lab.
Moreover, the post itself provides the following claims about the coronavirus:
- Richard Rothschild patented a testing method for COVID-19 in 2015.
- Millions of test kits for COVID-19 were sold on World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) in 2017-2018.
- The World Bank defined the period of COVID-19 project until 2025.
- Event 201 held in 2019 was a simulation for the coronavirus outbreak.
Among the claims voiced in the Plandemic, two are conspiracy theories, two more lack evidence, and one is false. 1. The claims as if a flu vaccine is used to inject humans with the coronavirus and as if the coronavirus came from a lab are conspiracy theories; 2. The claims as if hydroxychloroquine is effective to treat the coronavirus and people get infected after wearing face masks lack evidence; 3. It is a false claim as if the coronavirus cannot survive on surfaces for over an hour. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus can remain viable on certain surfaces for up to 72 hours.
To back up the opinion that the coronavirus pandemic was planned intentionally, the post provides four more conspiracy theories. The post is accompanied by visual manipulation, because one of the photos illustrating protests was shot before the coronavirus outbreak, in 2016. Moreover, about 30 000 people, not one million, participated in the Berlin rally in 2020.
The Plandemic is a 26-minute documentary-style film, which racked up millions of views on Facebook and YouTube. The video was taken down from social media for violating misinformation policies.
The video features filmmaker Mikki Willis conducting an interview with a former chronic fatigue researcher, Judy Mikovits, who he says has been called “one of the most accomplished scientists of her generation.”
A person who was fired from job for falsification of research findings is referred to as the source of the video.
The video refers to a single source who has largely been discredited in the scientific community. Judy Mikovits co-authored a study in 2009 that linked chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) to a mouse retrovirus.
Two years later, Science Magazine retracted the paper for inaccurate conclusions linking it to the contamination of laboratory samples. In 2011, Judy Mikovits was fired from her job for falsification of research findings.
Mikovits was also accused of misappropriating laboratory notebooks and computer data from the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease (WPI) in Reno. Eventually, the prosecutor’s office dropped criminal charges against her in 2012 after the Whittemore family came across some legal problems.
- Components of flu vaccine confirm that it is not used for injecting the coronavirus
Mikovits claims in the video that influenza vaccines contain coronaviruses. This claim is a conspiracy theory and lacks scientific evidence.
SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus causing COVID-19 has nothing to do with the influenza virus. Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses.
In addition, the influenza vaccine was created tens of years before the coronavirus outbreak. The first influenza vaccine was approved for military use in the United States in 1945 and civilian use in 1946. The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in November 2019.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu vaccines given with a needle (i.e., flu shots) are made with either inactivated (killed) viruses, or with only a single protein from the flu virus aimed to develop immune protection.
- The claim as if people get infected after wearing face masks lacks evidence
Mikovits claimed that mask-wearing activates the virus and continually re-infects the wearer.
This claim lacks evidence. Richard Peltier, an assistant professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, said in the interview with Politfact that “there is nothing about wearing a mask that would have any biologically relevant impact on viral activity.” He also noted that wearing a mask simply catches the droplets before they reach mouth or nose.
The World Health Organization recommends wearing face masks to protect against and limit the spread of COVID-19.
- Hydroxychloroquine did not prove effective to treat COVID-19
Mikovits notes that hydroxychloroquine, a medication used to prevent and treat malaria, is effective against the families of coronaviruses, including COVID-19. This claim lacks evidence.
On 17 June 2020, the WHO announced that the hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) arm of the Solidarity Trial to find an effective COVID-19 treatment was being stopped. It clarified that data from Solidarity (including the French Discovery trial data) and the recently announced results from the UK’s Recovery trial both showed that hydroxychloroquine does not result in the reduction of mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, when compared with standard of care.
- The coronavirus can remain viable on certain surfaces for up to 72 hours
Mikovits claims that the coronavirus cannot survive on surfaces for over an hour. It is a false claim.
According to the information provided on WHO’s website, studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel surfaces, less than 4 hours on copper surfaces, and less than 24 hours on cardboard surfaces.
- There is no scientific evidence to prove that the coronavirus was created in a lab
In the video, Mikovits promotes a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) did not originate naturally, but was created in a lab following a series of experiments.
The vast majority of scientists who have studied the virus agree that the virus evolved naturally and crossed into humans from an animal species, most likely a bat.
The genetic makeup or “genome” of SARS-CoV-2 has already been studied by scientists and if the virus had been genetically engineered in a lab there would be signs of manipulation in the genome data. But no such evidence exists.
See the article published by Myth Detector on the same topic:
Factcheck.org and PolitFact have fact-checked Mikovits’ most misleading claims from the video.
Manipulative images accompanying the post and disinformation about the number of protesters
The post is accompanied by a photo collage containing three images, which, as the author claims, depict millions of protesters participating in the Berlin rally held on 29 August 2020.
Protesters really gathered in Berlin on 29 August 2020 to express their protest against the government-imposed restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic. Two images of the photo collage depict this rally. The third photo, according to TinEye, an image search engine, can be searched back in 2016 suggesting that the photo was not taken in 2020.
The identical photo collage is also spread by Russian-language sources.
Moreover, number of protesters has been exaggerated in the post. It notes that millions of people participated in the rally. According to Deutsche Welle, Berlin authorities estimate that some 30,000 people attended the rally.
Besides false information provided in the Plandemic video, the post published by the Bible Believing Christians also contains conspiracy theories, which have been verified by Myth Detector:
Conspiracy theory No.1: Richard Rothschild patented a testing method for COVID-19 in 2015.
Conspiracy theory No.2: Millions of test kits for COVID-19 were sold on World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) in 2017-2018.
See Myth Detector’s article about these two conspiracy theories: Three Lies and Two Manipulations about COVID-19 Spread in Facebook Group “Let’s Stop 5G in Georgia”
Conspiracy theory No.3: The World Bank defined the period of COVID-19 project until 2025.
See Myth Detector’s article:Who spreads the Russian conspiracy about the World Bank strategy 2025
Conspiracy theory No.4: Event 201 held in 2019 was a simulation for the coronavirus outbreak.
See Myth Detector’s article: Troll disseminates conspiracy about Rockefeller Foundation’s 2010 document and Lugar Lab
Links of archived Facebook posts:
Bible Believing Christians – https://archive.ph/0hujR
✅🇬🇪პროქართული🇬🇪✅ – https://archive.ph/lSEt4
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