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FROM OHIO TO IRAN
At a school board meeting in August in the Talawanda School District in Ohio, a man stood up. “My name is Sean Brooks, PhD uh… Oxford, ”he said, claiming to have written 23 books. He then warned, with perfect authority, that people who took the mRNA vaccines would die within the next six months to five years. “If you take a booster, you’ll die. That’s it! “He said. He was treated to shouts and applause from the other participants.
The recording of an uncrowded 2.5 hour school board meeting in the Midwest makes for a very boring watch. But that didn’t stop Brooks from becoming a bit of a global sensation.
Soon tens of thousands of people around the world were watching and sharing clips of Brook’s speech on Facebook, TikTok, Telegram, and BitChute. “Stay strong brothers and sisters. Do NOT conform to the government. Our freedom is at stake, ”wrote a viewer on the Infowars video site run by far-right conspiratorial influencer Alex Jones, where the clip has been retrieved and viewed at least 1.8 million times.
The video also proved to be very popular in Iran, where it was posted on several websites and some of the country’s biggest Telegram channels, including one owned by the Iranian Cyber Corps, a group of hackers loyal to the leader. Supreme of Iran. Iranian fact-checking site Fact Nameh said it received numerous requests to debunk the content.
But it turns out it’s not just Sean Brook’s baseless vaccine claims that need to be debunked. It is the man himself.
Brooks went to the University of Oxford. Oxford, Ohio, that is, where he received his Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Miami. Ohio’s second oldest university is a well-respected institution, but it’s not the old British university that most people outside of Ohio thought he was referring to.
As one Facebook user put it, “This man is so DANGEROUS because he seems to know what he’s talking about.
IN OTHER NEWS:
This week, Italian police officers lined the stations from Naples to Milan, bracing for major disruption from anti-containment protesters. Last week, members of the Italian anti-vaccination movement attacked journalists, politicians and doctors in major cities, calling them traitors and threatening to slit their throats. More violence was expected as the government enacted the requirement for a vaccine pass for public transport on Wednesday, but when the day broke the protests unfolded with a groan , not a bang. Officers only encountered a few dozen silent protesters. The anti-vaxxers are already planning a new big day: September 15, where they plan to all gather in Rome.
Panzanella pandemic, are you interested? Uzbekistan hopes to develop the first edible vaccine to fight Covid-19. And it will take the form of a … tomato. Scientists from the Tashkent Academy of Sciences told local Sevimli TV that they had altered tomato cells by inserting parts of the virus into them. Eating this modified tomato should – in theory – allow a person to produce antibodies. It’s not as crazy as it sounds: edible vaccines have been developed and tested since the 1990s (the most promising with potatoes to fight against hepatitis B). A Covid-19 lettuce vaccine developed by Canadian scientists with the University of Ottawa is currently in the first phase of trials. Edible vaccines are seen as a potentially promising vaccination method for developing countries, where distribution and production are a challenge.
At least some Covid patients are having fun. Health officials in Thailand’s Samut Prakan province have decided to separate a Covid-19 field hospital into male and female areas, after reports last week that some patients were having group sex and smuggling in cigarette cartons. Following information from a staff member, police raided the hospital last Thursday, giving everyone a blame.
WHAT WE READ:
- This new report from Australian researchers examines how China has used the pandemic to expand its already massive surveillance and data collection infrastructure, outlining how the State Council plans to retain these new capabilities over the long term, so they can better monitor citizens. The researchers discuss their findings in this Conversation article. The pandemic, according to the researchers, was a golden opportunity to “fill in the gaps” in their surveillance grid, “using the Covid crisis as a cover to avoid reactions from citizens”.
- And if I may – here is my own investigation into the bizarre case of the great Chinese infectious disease specialist Zhang Wenhong – who is sometimes referred to as “China’s Dr Fauci”. The most attentive Infodemic readers will recall that I brought up the case last week. We now have more for you here.
Coda Story’s Mariam Kiparoidze, Sasha Tyan and Katia Patin contributed to this week’s Infodemic. register here to receive the next edition of this newsletter, directly to your inbox.
Talawanda is the name of a school district in Ohio, not a city. The college is the University of Miami. An earlier version said University of Miami.