I saw the documentary Plandemic shared multiple times in my Facebook feed this morning, and as soon as I saw the title “Dr. Fauci’s Ex-Employee Tells All Original 360p”, I knew I was in for a wild ride and a lot of squinting at my screen. I’ve been pretty vocal about my distaste for pseudoscience in the past, but this video did seem to be coming from legitimate scientists, and so I was curious about what I was about to hear. I started the 25-minute video, and I immediately understood how without any context, why Plandemic became viral. Although seemingly legitimate, a fact-check was in order.
As a disclaimer, these are my views, not those of any institution or employer with which I am affiliated. I am not receiving any income for this post; I just want this information to be shared.
Let’s get into it.
The video starts off with a slow-motion montage of Dr. Judy Mikovits walking while the narrator claims that she is “One of the most accomplished scientists of our generation”. She starts speaking about her background, claiming to have done work on HIV in the 80s that contributed to confirming Nobel-Prize winning research. It’s clear that the documentary is setting up Dr. Mikovits to appear as a reputable source of information during the COVID-19 pandemic.
(An aside: I definitely already had my doubts at this point about the spelling of Ph.D. as PHD and the claim that someone is one of the “most accomplished scientists” of our generation with 18 papers listed on PubMed. But I reserved my judgment and watched the whole thing.)
She stated that she worked on studies associating vaccines made with animal and fetal tissues with human disease. As such, Big Pharma has “waged war” on her. Plandemic immediately paints her as a whistleblower, wanting to expose the “agreed-upon narrative” of the medical and pharmaceutical industry.
Without much further context, Plandemic immediately jumps into how she was charged with a crime under no basis and her house searched without a warrant. She states that evidence was planted in her home to frame her with theft of intellectual property.
Who is Dr. Mikovits?
Before the fact-checking, a bit of an introduction. Dr. Mikovits started her post-graduate career at the National Cancer Institute in the 1980s. In the video, she says Dr. Fauci first wronged her by interfering with a paper she was going to publish, handing the paper over to Robert Gallo instead. She claims the research she was working on confirmed that of Luc Montagnier’s study, which won the Nobel Prize.
The timeline here doesn’t make sense. Gallo’s ’83 paper on human T-cell leukemia virus (now HIV) is found in the same May edition in which Montagnier published his work on the isolation of HIV from a patient. It’s tough to believe that Mikovits had her work confirming the Montagnier study “stolen” from her by someone who published a similar finding in the exact same edition.
Following her time at the NCI, she obtained her Ph.D. from George Washington University, and went on to a post-doctorate position at the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity at the National Cancer Institute. She claims that Dr. Fauci again interfered with her work which was “in publication” at the time, but no publications exist from this period, and even work that wasn’t published should still be saved somewhere, right?
Career Breakthrough (kind of)
Most recently, she was the Research Director at the Whittemore Peterson Institute, a private foundation dedicated to researching neuroimmune diseases, and more specifically, chronic fatigue syndrome. The animal-human disease relationship she references in Plandemic is referring to her 2009 Science paper studying XMRV, a retrovirus. The paper claims genetic markers of XMRV were found in 75% of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. This is (assumingly) what she is referring to when she says that animal tissues in vaccines expose us to disease.
Her findings were groundbreaking at the time, but as with any groundbreaking science, the results needed to be validated by other centers. Other centers couldn’t replicate it, and the lab published another paper in 2010 in Virulence claiming that their PCR wasn’t sensitive enough and that it could be due to lab contamination. Following this, two of the original researchers pulled away after coming to the conclusion that the results they had obtained couldn’t be explained by contamination.
(Again, an aside here: PCRs are really easy to mess up. But I also don’t have any publications in Science.)
Towards the end of 2011, a nine-lab study was published in Science, in which the results from Mikovits’ study were further deemed irreproducible. The final study on XMRV, the Lipkin study, was commissioned, again, by Dr. Fauci and was going to continue to investigate the XMRV link. However, upon request for her procedures and data, Mikovits refused to give them up to aid in this study and was fired on September 29th, 2011.
The details of her firing and the subsequent events are outlined in an affidavit from Max Pfost, one of her co-authors on the original study. Pfost in his affidavit stated, “She stated she was going to try to move the R01 grant and the Department of Defense grants and stop the Lipkin study.”
(Despite her efforts to thwart it, the Lipkin study was eventually published in 2012, and only further disproved her hypothesis about XMRV.)
Ok, but why did she go to prison?
Her research and its related discoveries, content, procedures, etc., were considered the intellectual property of WPI, as per a contract she signed upon her entry into the position. Although her refusal to provide data wasn’t criminal, the crime occurred when she recruited Pfost to help her to retrieve notebooks from the lab after she was fired. Pfost’s affidavit aligns well with the criminal charges that were brought against her for which she claims there was no basis.
Dr. Mikovits was charged with two felonies: Possession of stolen property, and unlawful taking of computer data, equipment, supplies, or other computer-related property. Upon her arrest, she was held without bail for 5 days. In her home, 18 laboratory notebooks belonging to her lab at the Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI) as well as a computer, were found.
Plandemic Fact Check
This “documentary” is so laden with fallacies that I couldn’t watch it in real-time and take notes every time I doubted something. I selected those that I considered the most egregious, but this article could be significantly longer. I’ve linked where I deemed it necessary to substantiate my fact checks, but have far more resources if anyone is interested.
Things that Plandemic Got Wrong
The Bayh-Doyle Act doesn’t make researchers (like Dr. Fauci) rich
Mikovits claims the Bayh-Doyle Act has failed science by allowing those who are given a federal grant to pursue a patent for their discoveries. While individual researchers have the right to patents, it doesn’t work the way she claims it does, allowing scientists to “get rich” off of their discoveries.
It’s brought into question in cases like Stanford v. Roche, but inventions are constitutionally considered the property of the inventor, regardless of whether the inventor is federally funded. However, it is up to individual institutions to negotiate contracts with the inventors. However, even in the absence of institutional policy, the NIH has policies that would prevent federally funded researchers from getting obscenely rich off of their inventions.
Assuming there is no institution, the law would still require that federally-funded inventors receive $2,000 and then 15% of royalties, up to $150,000 per year for their inventions. The rest goes back into the NIH to fund further research. This is admittedly a good amount of money, but given that your average Ph.D. is paid $80k after 5-9 years of experience (not including their Ph.D. salary and post-doc time) it’s a garbage get-rich-quick scheme. Definitely a lot easier to launch a dating app or something.
Even more juicy is the complete hypocrisy of this entire situation, as Dr. Mikovits was researching under a $1.5M grant at WPI that contractually gave WPI rights to the intellectual property in her research. If her main critique was the questionable ethics of profiting off inventions intended for the common good, WPI definitely was equally guilty. They were selling $650 tests for active infections and viral cultures of XMRV that Dr. Mikovits herself admitted might not provide conclusive results.
Other XMRV research isn’t promising
XMRV, the retrovirus causing so much controversy, wasn’t discovered by Dr. Mitkovits, but by the Derisi Lab at UCSF. Since their initial publication in 2006, they have also retracted their publication that links XMRV to a mutation contributing to prostate cancer.
Men In Scrubs 1 and 2 probably aren’t filling out death reports
I didn’t really know what to call this counterpoint, as at least on the video I watched, there were a handful of unidentified men in scrubs talking about the epidemic. And as we all know, men in scrubs HAVE to be doctors, so they should instantly be believed.
Upon some research, I found out that the first two of them are Bakersfield, CA doctors Artin Massihi and Dan Erickson who own urgent care centers. They have already come under fire for the dubious research methods they used to back up their claims that COVID-19 was spreading undetected, and therefore wasn’t a big problem. Aside from the obvious sampling bias in only taking samples from those who sought out urgent care, they speak openly about the uselessness of masks.
Despite being boarded in Emergency Medicine, Dr. Erickson and Dr. Massihi don’t seem to be on the staff of any local hospitals, meaning they likely wouldn’t be filling out death reports as they claimed.
Hospitals don’t get more from Medicare for COVID-19 deaths
When you get admitted to a hospital, you get a diagnosis and a provider uses ICD codes to portray said diagnosis. All codes must align with the treatment provided, and codes are used to justify what treatment is performed. These codes are standardized for billing purposes.
The ICD code for COVID-19 is U07.1. If the treatment provided does not correspond with a positive COVID-19 test result, the code that should be used is Z20.828, which is utilized for “contact and exposure to other viral communicable diseases”.
If you have healthcare coverage provided by your employer, the median cost of admission for similar lung disease (pneumonia) without major complications or comorbidities is $13,767. If you require a ventilator for 96 hours or more, the cost is $88,114. Medicare doesn’t have a specific reimbursement amount that they provide hospitals with for utilizing certain codes.
For patients on Medicare, the average payment for the same two scenarios are $13,297 and $40,218, respectively. There’s an additional 20% added on to this cost as a result of the CARES Act, which is providing reimbursement for healthcare providers treating those with COVID-19. It also serves to pay for private rooms (needed with COVID-19 patients but not covered under Medicare), and additional PPE.
Man In Scrubs 3 is generally misinformed
Another (!) unnamed man in scrubs claims that “we know that hydroxychloroquine and zinc are working great for patients”. The claims that they help are dubious at best and they are increasing the risk of cardiac arrest in patients.
Thanks to the Internet, I found out that unnamed guy in scrubs No. 3 is chiropractor Dr. Eric Nepute. He’s previously claimed that drinking tonic water is a possible COVID-19 cure. He is almost certainly wrong, but I’d happily increase my tonic water consumption (with a significant amount of gin) to forget that people gave this guy a platform.
It’s worth mentioning here that chiropractors are not medical doctors and therefore not trained in the same way as doctors, nor does their curriculum set them up to be experts in virology and immunology. Much of the field is filled with rhetoric that isn’t in accordance with science. If you’re looking for a back fix, you’re better off going to a DO who practices OMM as their training is equivalent to MDs, and they’re unlikely to claim that a misaligned back is to blame for your cold.
Narrator: “The natural remedies we’ve had forever aren’t being used because there is no way to profit.” (Not so much.)
Lol. Homeopathy is a $1.2 billion-dollar industry. The only difference between Big Pharma and Big Natural is that one is taking your money for thoroughly vetted solutions, the other is taking your money for things that taste nice and are dubious at best.
Flu vaccines don’t increase chances of getting coronavirus by 30%
As this was the only time Plandemic cited research in the video to back up their claims, I was hopeful that my fact-check hadn’t hit a dead end. But unfortunately, it’s still a misinterpretation of the data. The study in question from Greg Wolff studied the concept of viral interference. The study focused on the idea that receiving the influenza vaccination could increase the risk of other respiratory viruses.
Viral interference is based on the idea that when someone is infected with one virus, they may be more resistant to infection by another virus. In short, the immune system’s response to the first virus can impact how it deals with the second one. In Wolff’s study, coronaviruses (in general) and metapneumovirus were both higher in vaccinated populations.
However, correlation doesn’t equal causation, and just because there was a higher instance of coronavirus in those who had gotten the flu the vaccine does not mean that there is anything inherent in the vaccine that would make someone more susceptible. Being infected with a coronavirus post-influenza vaccine may just be due to the fact that you were not infected with the flu virus (due to the vaccine) and thus, your immune response is different.
Ebola was “taught” to infect human cells, and what Ebola learned in a lab is responsible for the pandemic
Man In Scrubs 4 is irrationally angry about masks
(FOUR? Where are they coming from?) Man 4 claims that only the immunodeficient and elderly need to wear a mask and gloves, and that social distancing is bad for our immune system.
There are a million articles about masks and their utility during COVID-19. I’m not writing another. I just fail to understand why this is the hill to die on. Even if it could worsen our immune systems to social distance, the issue is not social distancing so we, as individuals, don’t get sick. It’s to avoid system failure.
This point is not completely false, however, as social connection is good for our immune systems. But this has more to do with cortisol levels and stress being mitigated by human connection. Our immune systems are better when our mental state and stress responses are healthy. The connections that enable those don’t necessarily have to be in person.
Things that Plandemic got right
“Society is fooled by propaganda, driving us to hate each other.”
Let’s end on a positive note. As with many documentaries, Plandemic serves to prove a point and doesn’t claim to be an unbiased source of information. They’re correct in stating that propaganda drives much of how we interact with each other and our political systems. I guarantee I will probably receive some hate for writing this from someone who takes Trump’s tweets about hydroxychloroquine as the cure for COVID-19 as bible.
It’s just a little ironic as this entire video seems like propaganda, fueled by someone who is attempting to take down Dr. Fauci and other hard-working healthcare professionals because of past beef.
“Funding is only given to certain things”
Vague, yet correct. I touched on this in my last pseudoscience piece, as there are many diseases that are largely ignored by funding sources. Chronic fatigue syndrome (myalgic encephalitis) is a hugely misunderstood condition that deserves more attention and money. But if we are dedicated to seeking the truth as scientists, it’s on us to accept that our hypotheses about these diseases are sometimes incorrect.
I agree that there is not nearly enough financial investment in diseases that primarily affect women or marginalized communities. However, to continue to allow these communities to suffer by tinkering with data and preventing further study is unacceptable.
This concludes my fact check/debunking of the documentary Plandemic. There are many, many, other things I could say but I tried to address the main concerns.
For some final thoughts- I am not a shill for Big Pharma, nor do I fully agree with how the government has handled this scenario. I am not being paid to write this, and I spent way too long putting off my other responsibilities in order to fact check the hot garbage that is Plandemic. Finally, I think it’s worth saying that videos being deleted off YouTube is not a sign of conspiracy, but corporations trying to be responsible. The right to speech is not protected within private companies, and I believe YouTube, etc. are trying to slow the dissemination of information that is legitimately dangerous.
I found many of the sources in this thanks to the hard work of various Reddit users and spent a lot of time digging through documents to find answers. If you have any comments about sources or anything I’ve cited seems incorrect, please let me know either in a comment or by email. I may not retract this post, but I certainly will provide updates.
Thank you for reading and please sign up for my newsletter below if you enjoy science but also playlists and dog pictures.