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Chester County Press

Editorial: The legend has become fact

12/07/2021 01:34PM ● By Richard Gaw

Following the news that began to circulate recently about the Omicron variant of COVID-19, it did not take long for those who are in lockstep with an alternate reality to begin spreading lies inconsistent with facts. At or near the top of those conspiracy theorists was none other than U.S. Representative Ronny Jackson of Texas who appointed himself Official Explainer.

“Here comes the MEV -- the Midterm Election Variant,” Jackson announced on his Twitter account. “They (referring to his Democratic counterparts) NEED a reason to push unsolicited nationwide mail-in ballots. Democrats will do anything to CHEAT during an election -- but we’re not going to let them!"

It should be noted that Jackson is a physician, who was appointed to the White House Medical Unit by George W. Bush and served as the official physician to Presidents Obama and Trump.

Jackson’s comment was merely the latest layer in a groundswell clog of COVID-19 theories that have come to serve as the working text for a rising percentage of Americans who, stockpiled with the machinery of social media, giddily and defiantly rejoice in their invented reality.

Here’s a few of their most preposterous COVID-19 theories:

  • SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, is an escaped Chinese biological weapon

  • 5G Technology is to blame for COVID-19

  • COVID-19 was released to make big profits for Big Pharma 

  • COVID-19 was released as a method of population control in China 

These only address the cause, not the cure.

Over the past 18 months, while COVID-19 continues its rampage across the country, the arrogance and idiocy of some, once thought to be the crazy residue of the far fringes of our society, has been drummed into the national conversation so often that it has become nearly mainstream. Anti-COVID-19 vaccine sentiment has burst from the gate, and theories are multiplying at a rate faster than the pandemic:

  • Vaccines contain toxins

  • Vaccines don’t really work

  • Natural immunity is safer than vaccine-acquired immunity

  • There are effective natural and homeopathic alternatives to vaccines

  • Good nutrition and hygiene will protect you from most viruses

  • Vaccines are just a way for doctors and pharmaceutical companies to make money

  • Vaccines aren't necessary

  • The U.S. government can’t tell me what to do with my body

Surveys within the past year have shown that  one-quarter of U.S. citizens believe the mainstream media is lying to them about COVID-19, and their opinions of their elected officials are viewed as nefarious plotters against them. Further, about the same percentage believe that it is either “definitely” or “probably true” that COVID-19 was intentionally planned.

We’re getting really bad at being able to disseminate truth from fiction and facts from lies, for the simple reason that accuracy doesn’t tantalize, but the wildfire of theories splayed over social platforms and questionable news sources do. The very nature of conspiracy thinking is to take on as many willing investors as possible in an effort to drive home its malignancies. To those who take the bait, the payoff is often a rich one: their conspiracies provide a way of understanding the world and bring order to chaos; their theories soothe them in a world of uncertainties; and they get to enjoy the fellowship of other disaffected believers, all of whom spin their fears and their untruths into what becomes a world view.

The growing realization is, however, that whatever the driving force is behind these conspiracy theories related to COVID-19, their effect continues to be devastating.

According to the latest statistics from, there were 79,643 newly-diagnosed COVID-19 cases on Nov. 30 alone, and 1,109 deaths on the same day. To date, the U.S. has tallied over 47 million cases of COVID-19 and 714,000 deaths – an average of over 800 deaths a day.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in July that 97 percent of those who enter hospitals with COVID-19 are not vaccinated.

To bring the largeness of this calamity home, only 58 percent of Pennsylvanians have been fully vaccinated, while 33,121 residents of the commonwealth have died.

In John Ford’s film, Who Shot Liberty Valance, Ranse Stoddard, played by James Stewart, incorrectly receives credit for gunning down the savage criminal Liberty Valance, portrayed by Lee Marvin. In fact, however, it was John Wayne’s character Tom Doniphon who down Valance, but Stoddard then parleys the wave of praise into a successful political career. 

In the film’s most famous scene, a reporter realizes that Stoddard’s entire reputation is based on a myth, but after reflection throws his interview notes into the fire. “This is the West, sir,” he explains. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

Right now in America, conspiracy theories about a worldwide pandemic – both in its cause and in its cure – are being passed to ten people at a time, and then to a hundred more and then a thousand, and so it all goes in a deadly game of geometric intention.

Right now in America, legend is replacing truth, and God knows how many people will end up dying because of it.