Rightwing culture warrior Dennis Prager announced yesterday that finally, after lots of effort, he has achieved a major item on his bucket list: He's tested positive for COVID-19, and he couldn't be happier. On his YouTube "radio" show, Prager said he'd actually been working at getting the virus, because he's adopted the false belief, newly popular on the Right, that "natural immunity" resulting from surviving an infection with COVID is way better than any vaccine. (Big surprise: That's a very dangerous assertion: Vaccines are safer and more reliable than getting a disease that so far has killed more than 700,000 Americans.)

Here's Prager proudly explaining that he's got the bug, and how he worked so hard to get it, via Media Matters:



Prager said he tested positive for COVID last week and has "been steadily improving," insisting — without offering medical evidence — that "At no point was I in danger of hospitalization." He did note that he had received a course of treatment with monoclonal antibodies, which actually are very effective at preventing hospitalization, but not a guarantee, and certainly not a cure. He also listed the full range of quack "treatments" that fellow anti-vaxxers are excited about, despite their utter lack of proven effectiveness in clinical trials, from hydroxychloroquine to horse paste. So hooray, he probably won't get malaria or mange. Probably.

Prager proclaimed he had "done what a person should do if one is not going to get vaccinated," but he didn't explain why he considered monoclonal antibodies an acceptable product of Big Pharma while he's been urging people to avoid the vaccines.

But HA HA, that's obvious! Donald Trump made a big public show of calling monoclonal antibodies a miracle treatment, but when Trump got vaccinated, he did it off camera and barely said a word about it. Therefore vaccines must be bad and liberal, monoclonal antibodies (and sheep dewormer) are good and patriotic.

Are we doing Dennis Prager's thought process correctly?

Prager explained how he'd actively sought out a nice infection, because that's the new thing rightwing crazies are touting.

Before we get into that, let's Truth Sandwich his lies about "natural immunity," because there's a LOT of bogus bullshit out there, from people who have been lying about science from the start of the pandemic. Here's a nice guide about what's known, and what isn't (so far) about "natural" immunity versus vaccination, from the University of Nebraska Medical Centers:

The data is clear: Natural immunity is not better. The COVID-19 vaccines create more effective and longer-lasting immunity than natural immunity from infection.

• More than a third of COVID-19 infections result in zero protective antibodies
• Natural immunity fades faster than vaccine immunity
• Natural immunity alone is less than half as effective than natural immunity plus vaccination

The takeaway: Get vaccinated, even if you've had COVID-19. Vaccine immunity is stronger than natural immunity.

"Natural immunity can be spotty. Some people can react vigorously and get a great antibody response. Other people don't get such a great response," says infectious diseases expert Mark Rupp, MD. "Clearly, vaccine-induced immunity is more standardized and can be longer-lasting."

You'll see a lot of rightwing claims that "natural" immunity is supposedly far stronger than vaccines, even suggestions that it's X times better, but the evidence just isn't there yet, and the claims are often based on cherrypicked data from studies that haven't yet been peer-reviewed.

But we do know vaccines are safe and effective. More to the point, remember that "natural" immunity — when it does arise — only occurs after people have survived an infection. Seeking out a deadly virus is no way to "protect" yourself.

OK, so now that we've inoculated you against misinformation, let's look at Prager's weird quest to get himself infected, because if he stumbles he might fall. He claims he's wanted to get infected "the entire time," which suggests to us he's been slacking, since if he'd really wanted a case of COVID, he probably could have rushed out and done it before it was trendy (and well before monoclonal antibodies were available at no cost to the patient, the wuss).

But never mind. Prager says that in hopes of getting the virus,

I have engaged with strangers, constantly hugging them, taking photos with them knowing that I was making myself very susceptible to getting COVID. Which is, indeed, as bizarre as it sounded, what I wanted, in the hope I would achieve natural immunity and be taken care of by therapeutics. That is exactly what has happened.

Then this line, which ought to terrify anyone who thinks about it even a little bit: Prager believes that "It should have happened to the great majority of Americans."

That's some heavy-duty Angel of Death stuff; remember that when Trump's Let God Sort 'Em Out adviser Scott Atlas was pushing "herd immunity" through widespread infection, the Washington Post estimated that just getting 65 percent of Americans infected — which we now know is well below the threshold needed to stop the spread of the virus — would kill at least 2.1 million Americans.

But Prager is quite certain the virus isn't a big deal anyway, since in May 2020 he advocated eating from forks he's dropped on the floors of restaurants to "prove" that's a perfectly smart thing to do. (The video did not actually show him going to a restaurant to lick other diners' utensils, we'll note.)

In fact, Prager is quite angry that too few Americans have been infected, because the virus is so very harmless:

The number of deaths in this country owing to COVID is a scandal which one day will be clear to Americans. The opposition of therapeutics on the part of the CDC is owing to the corruption of the belief in the value of vaccine and only vaccine. Whether it is because of all the money that goes into the CDC from the pharmaceutical companies or a simple unquestioning faith in vaccines, or both, only God knows. So, I have walked the walk on this matter and here I am.

You see, if only we'd gotten more people sick with a deadly virus that actually isn't cured by most of the useless shit that wingnuts think cure it, then everyone who survived would be just fine. Apart from the millions who would've died, as if they'd have mattered. At least Prager walks the walk, and then picks up any forks he stepped on and puts them in his mouth.

It must be the fault of the pharmaceutical industry, which also sells hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin for treating other diseases, although they're apparently useless against COVID. Big Pharma also sells genuinely effective monoclonal antibody treatments like Regeneron — which is vastly more expensive than the vaccines, at $2,100 a dose (paid by the government) compared to about 40 bucks for two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, or $30 for two doses of Modernas. Darn you, Big Pharma, for promoting safer, more effective, and cheaper vaccines. Dennis Prager is on to you!

We wish Mr. Prager a speedy recovery, because we are not monsters, and genuinely hope he's not the next person to fill the blank in the prefab headline "_________, Radio Host Who Urged Listeners To Skip Vaccines, Dies of COVID." We would far rather make fun of him where he's alive and can see it.

The fucking idiot.

[Media Matters / Nebraska Medicine / Stat News]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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