Saturday, October 31, 2020

From Jenna Orkin

To the filmmaker Mikki Willis who released a film revealing “the secret no one wants you to know” about COVID19:

Your film is a huge slap in the face to all frontline workers who are risking our lives to keep you and your mother fed and safe. You are elevating the unintelligible talking points of Neonazis who show up with swastikas and nooses and assault rifles into the state capitol of Michigan. The “scientist” you interviewed believes that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that millions of people will die from is a form of the influenza virus, that has been in circulation since 2013. That’s like saying kale is actually butternut squash. Yes, these are both plants. And they are both edible. But they are actually two different species. The “scientist” who is giving you wet dreams of a big government takeover believes that masks make you sick. She was put in jail for stealing lab equipment from her place of work. She’s a darling of the anti-vaxx, anti-science, pro-I’m going to be OK if I just juice community.

The problem with your analysis is it fails to demonstrate the toxic nature of individualistic thinking. There are good reasons to be distrustful of our murderous government. There are good reasons to be distrustful of medicine and the pharmaceutical industry when we live in a capitalist society. There are sound reasons to push back against mandatory vaccinations and the government forcing us to do things or not do things with our bodies. There are good reasons to push against authoritarian measures that come up as we face the first of many global pandemics made possible by climate change. I’m a fan of total structural change to uplift people and the planet. I work for it every day.

But the way in which you do it undermines the work of others who are working deeply on these issues for the good of all. It highlights the thoughts of those who believe in radical individualism and does not give a deeper voice to the concept of collective action for the greater good. You are preying on people’s fear in the most toxic and irresponsible way.

My personal safety is at risk when I go to the hospital to do my work as a physician. So is the safety of my friends. And colleagues have died because of this virus, because they didn’t have adequate masks and protection while doing their duty of serving the people who are sick. The “scientist” you interviewed believes it’s the masks making us sick. I welcome her to come to UCSF on my shift and walk around without a mask. 

Rupa Marya, MD