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The 3 biggest claims made in new documentary, Plandemic. And why they're complete bullsh*t.

As we continue to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, it’s becoming more and more evident that the world is currently battling not one, but two global pandemics: COVID-19 and misinformation.

With social media providing the perfect platform for falsehoods to circulate, conspiracy theories – such as the theory that COVID-19 was a “biological weapon” released by the United States – have been able to spread like wildfire.

You may have seen them pop up on your friend’s Facebook page. Or maybe they’ve made an appearance in your family’s group chat. But this weekend, the coronavirus conspiracy theories made their way onto the streets of Melbourne.

On Sunday, dozens gathered at Victoria’s state parliament to protest against 5G, vaccinations, and what they called the “coronavirus conspiracy”. The protestors were also heard chanting “arrest Bill Gates”, in response to a bizarre conspiracy theory which connects the billionaire to the pandemic.

The protest comes just days after 26-minute conspiracy theory documentary, Plandemic, began making waves online.

The documentary, which has been removed from various social media platforms on multiple occasions, was produced by Mikki Willis’ Californian-based production company Elevate, which has been known to produce other conspiracy theory-fuelled videos in the past.

The documentary’s description reads: “The Hidden Agenda Behind COVID-19,” and ask, “Was COVID-19 a plan?”

The video, which is part of an upcoming full-length documentary, claims that the COVID-19 pandemic is part of an elaborate plan by billionaires – including Bill Gates – to enforce globally mandated vaccinations.

The main ‘expert’ used within the documentary is anti-vaccination activist Judy Mikovits.

The documentary makers describe Mikovits as “one of the most accomplished scientists of her generation”, however, the former medical researcher had her research on chronic fatigue discredited in 2011.

On top of that, Mikovits has not published any scientific literature since 2012. She also spent five days in jail for allegedly stealing material from a lab, and is well known for her controversial, baseless theories about vaccinations.

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coronavirus protest
Dozens of Victorians protested against 5G, vaccinations, and what they called the "coronavirus conspiracy" over the weekend. Image: AAP.

Of course, in the current climate, it's no surprise that conspiracy theories are spreading even more than usual.

As The Atlantic reported in April, political scientists Joseph E. Uscinski and Adam M. Enders have noted the increase in conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19.

"We have a global pandemic, a crashing economy, social isolation, and restrictive government policies," they wrote.

"All of these can cause feelings of extreme anxiety, powerlessness, and stress, which in turn encourage conspiracy beliefs."

In a time where it has never been more important to address misinformation, here are three of the biggest claims in the Plandemic documentary, and why they're complete bullsh*t.

Myth: Wearing a protective mask can make you sick.

In the documentary, Mikovits claims that wearing a mask can make you sick and less immune from other diseases. She also claims that washing your hands increases the risk of getting the coronavirus.

"Wearing the mask literally activates your own virus," she says.

"You're getting sick from your own reactivated coronavirus expressions and if it happens to be SARS-CoV-2 then you've got a big problem."

This is categorically and completely false. There is simply no evidence to support Mikovits' claim.

While there are no current recommendations from the Australian government to wear masks outside of a healthcare setting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States advises anyone who goes out in public to wear a mask.

Masks are encouraged because wearing them can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a mask does not make people any more susceptible to getting the coronavirus.

Likewise, good hand hygiene is an important practice to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Washing your hands does not increase the chances of contracting the virus.

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Mamamia's daily news podcast, The Quicky, debunk COVID-19 conspiracy theories. Post continues below. 

Myth: The flu vaccine "increases the odds" of getting COVID-19.

In a popular theory that has been peddled by many online, Mikovits alleges that having the flu vaccine "increases the odds" of getting COVID-19.

"The game is to prevent the therapies until everyone is infected and push the vaccine, knowing that the flu vaccines increase the odds by 36 per cent of getting COVID-19," she states in the documentary.

There is no evidence to suggest that the flu vaccine increases your chances of getting the coronavirus.

Mikovits' claim completely misrepresents the findings of a study by the US Department of Defence in 2017, which looked into whether the flu vaccine could increase the chances of contracting other viruses.

The study ultimately found that there was "little to no evidence supporting the association of virus interference and influenza vaccination".

The study was also conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning any claims linking COVID-19 to the study are entirely bogus.

READ: The 5G coronavirus conspiracy: How to have a conversation with someone who believes 5G is the cause of COVID-19.

Myth: "If you've ever had a flu vaccine, you were injected with coronaviruses."

Mikovits, a prominent champion for believers in medical conspiracy theories, asserts in the documentary: "If you've ever had a flu vaccine, you were injected with coronaviruses".

This claim, which has come up multiple times amid the pandemic, has been completely debunked.

The flu shot protects you from either three or four strains of influenza. The vaccine does not include any of the coronaviruses, and does not protect you from coronavirus. There are currently no human coronavirus vaccines.

Likewise, getting a flu shot will not cause you to test positive to the coronavirus, as some conspiracy theorists have said.

This is evident thanks to testing, which has been conducted around the world. If the coronavirus was a dormant virus in our bodies, the COVID-19 test would show it. This means that if Mikovits' theory was true, there would be no negative COVID-19 test results from anyone who has ever had the flu shot.

Feature Image: YouTube.

For more on COVID-19:

To protect yourself and the community from COVID-19, remain in your home unless strictly necessary, keep at least 1.5 metres away from other people, regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face.

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000. 

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.


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