Something you’ve probably picked up on over the course of the last 21 months is that Republicans have a lot of extremely stupid things to say about COVID-19. Unfortunately, since the pandemic has lasted longer than anyone could have imagined, conservatives have had to up their game re: the absurd things coming out of their mouths, from just stupid to historically moronic. And unlike ensuring that women are able to decide what to do with their own bodies or that democracy lives to see another day, this is a challenge they have been more than willing to take up, rolling out an official idiot brigade of commentary that belongs in a study of people who’ve suffered traumatic head injuries.
Take Marjorie Taylor Greene, a congresswoman who needs no introduction, though, just for yucks, we’ll simply say the words “Jewish space laser.” Over the weekend she took to Twitter, and in a thread meant to argue against COVID public health measures, she suggested cancer is similarly airborne. “Every single year more than 600,000 people in the US die from cancer. The country has never once shut down. Not a single school has closed,” the conspiracy theorist wrote. “And every year, over 600,000 people, of all ages and all races will continue to die from cancer.” She continued: “Since #COVID19 tracking has started, 780,000+ people have died in 22 mo [months] in the US, but more than 1 million still died of cancer,” adding, “More have died in 2021 from covid than 2020 in spite of Gov [government] mandated widespread vaccines, mass public masking, & trillions spent. It’s time to take a different approach based on the facts. Covid predominately targets obese & older people. Shutdowns, masking, and vaccines are not stopping covid, that is just government control. Ivermectin, monoclonal antibodies, & other treatments are saving lives.”
While vulnerable people like the elderly are at increased risk of a severe COVID case, the virus does not actually discriminate against whom it transmits to; as The Independent notes, because the virus exists in droplets, masking is a proven way to protect oneself, while ivermectin, often used as a livestock dewormer, is not. While Greene initially claimed that being asked to reveal her vaccination status was a HIPAA violation, she later bragged she hadn’t been inoculated because “I’m an American.“ She also relishes the theater of refusing to wear a mask on the job, having racked up more than $60,000 in fines for not doing so in Congress, a mandate she has compared to those of the Holocaust. “You know, we can look back at a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star,” she said in May. “And they were definitely treated like second-class citizens, so much so that they were put on trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany, and this is exactly the type of abuse that [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi is talking about.”
What other tidbits of COVID advice did Republicans dole out this weekend? Well, on Saturday, Rep. Matt Gaetz suggested that people would be better off contracting the virus.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci responded to Senator Ron Johnson’s claim that he has “overhyped” a disease that has killed more than three quarters of a million people in the U.S., with Johnson saying that Dr. Fauci did the “exact same thing with AIDS.” (In fact, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director was criticized by activist Larry Kramer, who would later become his friend, for not doing enough about the early AIDS outbreak.)
In related news, also on Sunday, NPR reported that people living in counties where votes heavily favored Donald Trump—a guy Greene, Gaetz, and Johnson would love to see return to the White House in 2024—have been “nearly three times as likely to die from COVID-19 as those who live in areas that went for now president [Joe] Biden.”