The Radical Center
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The Radical Center

AIER’s Naomi Wolf Fibs on Fox

Naomi Wolf, invoking her sudden medical credentials from the loony AIER, went on Fox News and lied her way to her position. She’s a rabid Covid denialist, anti-vaxxer and conspiracy theorist and it showed. First, she claimed that the UK and Sweden both had “exactly the same” or “almost the same” (she said both) results in terms of Covid cases. This is false. Now, they are exactly the same if by “exactly the same” you mean Sweden has 37% more infections per million residents. She also claimed the UK placed people under “house arrest” to combat the disease. That is also false.

The first thing to note is Wolf cherry-picked her comparison to get the best results for his position and then lied on top of it. The UK and Sweden are very different places, to the detriment of the UK.

Population density in the UK is 275 people per square kilometer, while in Sweden it is 25.4, so the UK has a density about 11 time higher, which makes it much easier to spread a virus from person to person. Wolf could have compared it to the more similar nations that share the same peninsula as Sweden, but if she did Sweden would look more like a death zone than her fictional Utopia.

There’s a region of Sweden, close to the Norwegian border, and not far from Oslo. This is where some of my maternal family lived until emigrating to the United States. It must be a magical border because on the Norwegian side of it the infection rate per million people is 19,831 while in Sweden it is 89,129. On the Swedish/Finnish border it is similar, 15,184 to 89,129. In other words Sweden, is much, much worse. So, even after cherry-picking her comparison she had to twist a dramatic difference into “almost the same” or “exactly the same.”

Wolf skewed results in her favor by comparing Sweden to one of the most densely populated nations in Europe. Of the major nations in Europe only the Netherlands has a higher population density, while Sweden is among the four least densely populated nations, along with Finland, Norway and Iceland.

In addition Wolf dragged in conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic ones to boot. She claimed Dr. Anthony Fauci was a Jewish agent under control of Israel and “he doesn’t work for us.” Her proof was another lie. “He got a million dollars from the state of Israel for a humanitarian gift.” In fact, the Israeli government has no involvement in the Dan David Prize which is awarded by Tel Aviv University and was funded with an endowment by businessman Dan David to reward academic scholarship. Fauci received it for his work in public health.

This isn’t Wolf’s first insane foray into the Wonderland of conspiracy theories, by any means. She’s still convinced the clouds are being bioengineered, I’m just not sure who she thinks is doing it. Perhaps it’s more of those Jewish lasers from space. In another case U.S. troops went to Angola to help combat an Ebola outbreak. Wolf tweeted furiously that it was a plot to have them bring back Ebola to the United States to justify a military take-over. We saw how that prediction turned out. AEIR sure knows how to pick them.

Second, the “house arrest” that Wolf fantasizes isn’t quite what happened and what lockdown there was was late in the game. Boris Johnson delayed any lockdown measures and did so only after pressure from medical professionals grew. By then infections, especially in London, were rampant. Taking a very different view that than Ms. Wolf—whose only training is in fiction—the British Medical Journal called the UK response “Too little, too late, too flawed.” Italy had implemented lockdowns two months earlier and the BMJ noted, “By the time the UK formally announced a lockdown with a huge package of economic support measures, almost two months of potential preparation and prevention time had been squandered. The delay in the face of emerging evidence that the Italian lockdown reduced viral transmission by about half looks likely to have cost many lives.”

In fact, early in, the British government implied they were following the same “herd immunity” policies of Sweden. Time reported, that Johnson’s “chief medical adviser mentioned the government’s long-term goal was for Britain to develop “some kind of herd immunity” against the disease, or in other words, letting a large percentage of the healthy population catch COVID-19 in order to prevent it from spreading to the most vulnerable.”

A few days later they government flipped positions and Johnson suggested people work from home if possible and avoid public venues. As for Wolf’s claim of “house arrest” Time noted the British “government did not, however, make these measures legally binding, nor did it explicitly tell businesses to close their doors.” That came later and well after other European nations: “By comparison, Italy went into lockdown on March 9, Spain on March 14, and France on March 16.” By the time actual lockdowns came into place it was too late—the virus was everywhere and people were dying—just as they were in Sweden.

But, England did get on board eventually and Covid cases declined, while in Sweden they continued to escalate. New Scientist reported:

Coronavirus infections in England have fallen to their lowest level since September, according to the latest results of a random swab testing survey by the Office for National Statistics. An estimated one in 480 people in communities in England had covid-19 in the week up to 10 April, down from about one in 340 the previous week.

Sweden daily new infections. Please note most recent days underreport and are adjust later as new data is collected.

Meanwhile in Sweden new infections are rampant. Sweden reported 8,879 new cases on April 12th, the fourth highest single day for new infections since the start of the pandemic. Sweden is now in third wave of infections. The first peaked around the end of June at 1,600 cases per day. Trend lines turned up again in September peaking around Christmas at around 11,000. It dropped through January but started rising in early February with daily new infection between 8,000 and 9,000.


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James Peron

James Peron

James Peron is the president of the Moorfield Storey Institute, was the founding editor of Esteem a LGBT publication in South Africa under apartheid.