Jonathan Howard, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health and Chief of Neurology at Bellevue Hospital, who has been writing about vaccines long before COVID-19, has published a new book, “We Want Them Infected.” His book recounts much of the denial and pseudoscience that surrounded the US response to the pandemic and the anti-vaccine nonsense that followed.
For the past three years, I’ve spent many thousands of words debunking the rubbish about COVID-19 vaccines, ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, and whatever else that got traction in the internet world about the pandemic.
Dr. Howard’s book, however, goes into much more detail about some of the crackpot thinking and actions, especially among officials who should have been more responsible for the health of Americans. These people attacked things that should have worked (masking and social distancing), denied the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines, and pushed false and dangerous ideas.
It was remarkable that individuals, who should know better because of their education and experience, denied the severity of the pandemic. The facts are that 1.1 million Americans have died of COVID-19, about ⅙ of all COVID-19 deaths across the world. And a lot of the blame goes to Donald Trump and many of his COVID-19-denying advisors.
“We Want Them Infected” by Jonathan Howard is a very readable book that critically examines the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It leads you through several stories about the leading COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccine deniers who seem to have inordinate influence over that response to the pandemic.
The book’s title is apropos — there appeared to be people in the US who wanted to have people, everyone, infected by the disease. It comes from a US Department of Health and Human Services epidemiologist under Donald Trump, Dr. Paul Alexander, who said, “So we use them to develop herd… we want them infected.”
The book is well researched with citations to respected news outlets and peer-reviewed medical journals. Every claim made by Dr. Howard appeared to be supported by facts.
I give this book the highest possible recommendation, so I want to highlight a few key points of the book so that you might be interested in reading it.
A review of “We Want Them Infected”
Here are some key points I want to make:
- The book deconstructs the failed predictions of certain scientists and physicians who prioritize wishful thinking and invented data over real evidence. For example, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya advised the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, that “we have protected the vulnerable by vaccinating the older population.” Except that’s not who was vulnerable — it was everyone including children.
- The book also illustrates how previously mainstream physicians became mouthpieces of information, especially about the COVID-19 vaccine. These physicians were pushing claims that repeated most of the anti-vaccine balderdash that continues to be said today.
- As I mentioned above, the book provides a scathing and unwithering critique of the overall response to the pandemic. Of course, Donald Trump gets a lot of that criticism. Before we knew anything about if and when we would have vaccines, the aforementioned Dr. Alexander was advocating for the mass infection of infants, children, young adults, and middle-aged individuals to provide the population with herd immunity. By doing so, he claimed, we can avoid mass sickness and death. He was wrong about that.
- The book documents the harm caused by the Trump administration’s policy of mass infection as its pandemic response before vaccines became available.
- The book outlines the inconsistencies, incompetence, ignorance, logical fallacies, disinformation, and outright lies from those who spread claims about the COVID-19 pandemic and its vaccines.
- This book can be a guide or resource that can provide insights and knowledge into how we might respond to future viral pandemics (or epidemics).
This book was filled with stories about people, often in important positions, and had the ear of the country’s leaders, who passed along false and dangerous claims about the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccines that led to control of it. Not only was I flabbergasted by what people wrote and said about COVID-19, I also grew more angry and frustrated as I kept reading. There were times, I had to put the book down just to relax.
As you can imagine, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in what was going on in the conversation about the pandemic. These people really wanted them infected.
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