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GOP Is Pushing Anti-Vaxx Disinfo… and Acting Like an ‘Authoritarian Regime’

·2-min read
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty

Dr. Peter Hotez has been battling vaccine disinformation for years. But he was still shocked to see United States senators like Ron Johnson peddling anti-vaxxer agitprop.

“Historically, this is what the authoritarian regimes do,” Hotez tells Molly Jong-Fast on the latest episode of The New Abnormal.

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“The anti-vaccine anti science aggression has extended to the individual scientists,” he adds. “They did this in China [where scientists who tried to raise the alarm about COVID were brutally repressed]… and this is what’s going on right now by elected members of the United States Congress. And we’ve got to do something about it.”

“Why, why, why do you need to show your allegiance to the GOP by trying to delegitimize science?” Hotez asks. “It shows this lack of understanding of American history… Our nation is a nation built on science and technology, right? Or it’s built on our great research universities and land grant universities. And this is what allowed us to defeat fascism in World War II and the Cold War, and makes such great progress in HIV/AIDS, is through science. And this bizarre twist that being a patriot means you have to attack science and scientists, that’s something I never would have imagined.”

But now we can all see the impact: coronavirus cases peaking in Florida; ICUs packed in Arkansas; more than 50,000 dead in Texas.

“This is the destructive nature of the disinformation campaign that we’ve allowed to go unchecked for so many years, and now we’re paying the price for it in a huge way,” Hotez continues. “This is devastating for whole regions of the country, and it’s going to have devastating consequences for the South and some of the mountain West states. And it is going to show itself in young people being hospitalized—you see so many young people with long COVID. And the frustration is you see it coming, and not being able to manage it is extremely frustrating for me.”

Listen to Bonus Episodes of The New Abnormal Podcast

Plus: NBC’s Jon Allen talks about how the realtors’ lobby is pushing to kill the eviction moratorium. And James Carville practically salivates at the thought of Val Demings running against “slippery little prick” Marco Rubio.

Listen to The New Abnormal on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon and Stitcher.

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