“Well, I’m young and I’m not at-risk for COVID. “Well, well, well, um … this is weird, isn’t it? Still, Trump tried to assuage the public with a speech on Wednesday that Oliver described as “a complete mess – despite the fact he was reading from a prepared statement, he managed to mistakenly claim that imports from Europe were being cut off – which they were not – that insurers would waive co-pays not just for testing but for treatment, which at present, they won’t. “You’re only there because the President of the United States is in the building behind you with a pretty bad case of fear-mongering,” he said, before redirecting his anger. And how plausible is this theory as a practical matter? With the survival rates that we’ve seen, it’s frankly hysteria what we’re seeing with COVID,” the man said. “And all of this would be dangerous enough before you take into account that one of the most prominent spreaders of conspiracy theories on earth is the current president of the United States.”. John Oliver on coronavirus conspiracy theories: 'People are going to get burned' This article is more than 2 months old. It’s seen as fear-mongering. Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. Not me, because I’m smart and strong. Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now. After a three-week hiatus, John Oliver returned to Last Week Tonight to discuss the lure and prevalence of conspiracy theories, particularly at such a high-risk, high-information time as the coronavirus pandemic, which has created a “perfect storm for conspiracy theorists”, he said. Last modified on Mon 16 Mar 2020 17.58 GMT. “It has been a genuinely extraordinary week for the White House,” Oliver said, before citing the bombshell New York Times story on Trump’s tax returns, an audiotape of First Lady Melania Trump denigrating Christmas (“Who gives a fuck about Christmas stuff?”), and the president’s failure to condemn white supremacy during the first debate. The practicality is especially pertinent given what we know about humans’ inability to keep secrets, let alone the estimated 411,000 people whose silence would have been required to pull off a moon-landing hoax, according to scientists. Vanity Fair may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. And he’s been repeating the same pattern throughout the pandemic. The comics give us a roundup in Best of Late Night. Every time you see him, he’s wearing a beekeeper suit. “Keep as much distance as you can, avoid physical contact at all costs, and if any one of them tries to give you a hug, reject it. Trump’s conduct and downplaying of the outbreak has been “both frustrating and extremely unnerving, and is actively contributing to a sense of confusion in the country at the moment”, said Oliver. No, as the host noted, everything took a back seat to late Thursday night and Friday morning, when President Trump revealed both he and Melania had tested positive for the coronavirus. Oliver recapped some basic rules encouraged by health experts: wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, make sure you cough or sneeze into a tissue or elbow, not your hand. “Nothing is fine here. But the fact is, even though this should not be the case, it seems we’re going to be a little bit on our own here.”. The host also focused on the September 26 White House event announcing Amy Coney Barrett as Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, a gathering of top Republican leaders and elected officials that has been pointed to as a possible superspreader event. So what can be done? Conspiracy theories also aren’t unique to the digital age, particularly when it comes to global health – a bogus theory in the 1400s blamed the bubonic plague on Jews, some attributed the Russian flu of 1889 to the new technology of electric lightbulbs, and during the 1918 flu pandemic, rumors spread that the German company Bayer had tainted its aspirin. “These theories can be innately appealing and, thanks to the internet, can spread with ease,” he added. All rights reserved. Ad Choices, “This week, more than ever, proves that in the midst of a pandemic, when you act without caution, you cannot expect the virus to simply ‘stand back and stand by,’” the host said on. And instead pay attention to trustworthy information from the CDC, experts like Anthony Fauci, and of course TikTok hamsters. And while “it is completely natural to want to scream at them ‘why do you believe this nonsense, you titanic fucking idiot,’” Oliver concluded, “now, more than ever, it might be important for you to try” to reach loved ones deep in the web of conspiracy theories. © 2020 Condé Nast. Not that the host would have been surprised by those events, either. “It was news that felt both shocking and utterly inevitable,” Oliver said about the diagnosis, pointing out that even during the debate, Trump was dismissive of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wearing masks in public settings. “I put a mask on when I think I need it,” Trump said. The host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” said he’s “fucking furious” about it, especially since many of those figures have the ear of President Donald Trump. John Oliver Outraged by Trump’s “Utterly Inevitable” Coronavirus Diagnosis “This week, more than ever, ... but said Sunday she too had been diagnosed with COVID-19.) John Oliver’s just about had it with right-wing media figures ― including radio host Rush Limbaugh, Fox News personalities and TV preachers ― for spreading conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic. It’s obviously not feasible for everyone, so if you do go out, maintain a distance of six feet between other people – “Basically, pretend you’re a British parent and everyone else in the world is your child,” said Oliver. The pseudo-documentary Plandemic was viewed more than 8 million times in one week – a “shockingly high number”, Oliver said, not only for its numerous falsehoods but in that it racked up more views than Oliver’s preferred TikTok of a cat matching a piano’s pitch. And they’re still doing it.”, Those who attended the event and have been diagnosed with coronavirus include Senators Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, Notre Dame president John I. Jenkins, and former White House senior staffer Kellyanne Conway. “Rush Limbaugh gets it,” said Oliver, “and that’s a sentence I never thought I’d say unless I was talking about toilet-transmitted chlamydia.” Worse, there’s high stakes to throwing gasoline on the pandemic fire, Oliver continued, as “people are going to get burned, making those flames not quite as fucking fun to watch”. “What I do know is that so far, the White House has handled this situation terribly,” Oliver said, noting that the Trump administration has not been forthcoming with news about the spread of the disease inside the White House or the tracing of Trump’s contacts. Social distancing is “absolutely crucial right now”, said Oliver. Available for everyone, funded by readers. All products featured on Vanity Fair are independently selected by our editors. All rights reserved. I can only imagine what Trump would be like standing next to a beekeeper. “As much as you want to shout to that guy, you have to remember that this administration has been downplaying the virus so much and for so long that for Trump’s die-hard supporters, any sort of concern isn’t seen as a sensible precaution. “I know that they didn’t, because there’s absolutely no evidence that they did, but the idea still lingers. More importantly, it’s that they’re risking infecting others. Wear masks only if you have symptoms or if you are caregiver. Last modified on Mon 20 Jul 2020 19.21 BST. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. Until then, stay safe.”, Available for everyone, funded by readers. The Last Week Tonight host dissects the allure of conspiracy theories, and the particular risk they pose during the pandemic, Mon 20 Jul 2020 17.23 BST “And there is something utterly infuriating about watching them hugging each other when many in this country haven’t seen their families for months or have died alone in a hospital. Asked if he was concerned about spreading the disease himself as a potential asymptomatic career, the Trump supporter said, “Yes, I do have those concerns but I don’t buy into the fear-mongering.”, The clip left Oliver irate. Social networks have started to step up their flagging of false content, but that won’t be enough given their lack of expertise in global health and the sheer amount of information, garbage or not, posted on the platforms each day. He could be speaking 200 feet away, he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”, “What are you doing?” an incredulous Oliver said in response. Always, TikTok hamsters.”, “Take care of yourself,” he said, signing off for now, “take care of each other, and we will be back in some form, sometime in the future.
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