Republican Senator Ron Johnson has been promoting various conspiracy theories about Covid-19 on the Fox Business Network, despite the growing number of hospitalizations and infections. Public health officials are urging Americans to get vaccinated, but Johnson and Fox personality Maria Bartiromo are spreading false information about vaccine efficacy and safety, and falsely claiming that ivermectin is an approved treatment.
In addition, Johnson is reviving baseless conspiracy theories propagated by anti-vaccine influencers, such as Robert F Kennedy Jr., who has come under scrutiny for suggesting that the virus is a biological weapon targeting certain demographics while sparing Jewish and Chinese people. Johnson stated, “This was all pre-planned by an elite group of people…that want to take total control over our lives.”
Johnson and Bartiromo also falsely claimed that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved ivermectin to treat Covid-19. These claims came after a recent appeals court hearing in a lawsuit accusing the FDA of overstepping its authority by advising against the use of the drug. However, a federal judge appointed by Donald Trump dismissed the lawsuit last year, and the FDA has only issued guidance recommending against its use.
Bartiromo admitted to taking ivermectin, which is still not authorized for use in Covid-19 prevention or treatment, and falsely stated that the FDA says it’s “fine” to use. The FDA has not made such a statement.
These false claims come at a time when Covid-related hospitalizations are surging across the US, with a 12.5% increase in the last week alone. The EG.5 variant, a subvariant of the omicron variant, is responsible for over 17% of Covid infections in the US.
It is worth noting that last month, Kennedy, an anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist, revived an antisemitic conspiracy theory blaming Jewish people for the emergence of the disease, stating that there is an argument to be made that the disease is “ethnically targeted.”
The Independent has requested comment from Fox and a spokesperson for Senator Johnson.
(Source: The Independent)