Did RFK Jr Conspiracy Theories Turn Out To Be True?!

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Did 5 conspiracy theories promoted by RFK Jr turn out to be true?! Take a look at the viral claims, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : RFK Jr Conspiracy Theories Turned Out To Be True!

People are sharing a post by The Vigilant Fox (archive), which claims / suggests that five conspiracy theorists promoted by Robert F. Kennedy (RFK Jr.) turned out to be true! The Vigilant Fox also posted this on X (formerly known as Twitter):

RFK Jr. Hits Back at Chris Cuomo After Being Labeled a ‘Conspiracy Theorist’

“Tell me a theory that you think I got wrong. Show me facts.”

Kennedy then listed a series of “conspiracy theories” that ended up being true:

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Which RFK Jr Conspiracy Theories Turned Out To Be True?

Let’s take a look at those five conspiracy theories promoted by RFK Jr, and find out if they indeed turned out to be true!

Claim #1 : Glyphosate Causes non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Verdict : Still Uncertain

Glyphosate, a widely-used herbicide, has been the subject of many studies and lawsuits, over claims that it can potentially cause cancer, particularly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

As the City of Hope cancer centre pointed out, it has still not be scientifically proven that glyphosate causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, even though the courts have seen fit to dole out billions of dollars in damages.

In 2019, researchers at University of Washington concluded that using glyphosate increases the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by 41 percent. However, the preponderance of research worldwide has found no connection to glyphosate and cancer risk. And most of the world’s health agencies agree. For instance:

Notably, Bayer settled the majority of current and future lawsuits over Roundup – Monsanto’s glyphosate product, for $10 billion, without admitting that glyphosate causes cancer. In fact, Roundup and other glyphosate herbicides are still sold all over the world today!

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), however, stated in 2015 that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” CNN reported that hundreds of patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma started suing the manufacturers of glyphosate herbicides after IARC made its announcement.

In other words – glyphosate has not yet been proven to cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The research is currently still not definitive.

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Roundup glyphosate herbicide

Claim #2 : COVID-19 Vaccines Would Not Prevent Transmission
Verdict : False

Let me start by pointing out that COVID-19 vaccines were never required to prevent transmission. The main purpose of the COVID-19 vaccines was to prevent death and severe disease (and hospitalisation) from COVID-19, not to block transmission.

Hence, the end points for COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials did not include blocking transmission, although scientists and healthcare professionals were hoping that the vaccines would significantly block transmission.

After vaccinations started in 2021, researchers found that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, for example, was significantly reducing the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

UK study : New data from Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge suggests that a single dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine can reduce by 75% the number of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections. This implies that the vaccine could significantly reduce the risk of transmission of the virus from people who are asymptomatic, as well as protecting others from getting ill.

Israeli study : These results suggest that BNT162b2 is moderately to highly effective in reducing infectivity, via preventing infection and through reducing viral shedding.

While the vaccines’ effectiveness against infection and transmission waned with each new variant (research), they still continue to provide protection, not only against death and hospitalisation from COVID-19, but also infection and transmission.

In fact, a September 2023 systematic review of existing research show that COVID-19 vaccines reduce transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, regardless of variant:

Overall, study results showed the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 transmission (range 16–95%), regardless of vaccine type or number of doses.

The effect was apparent, but less pronounced against omicron (range 24–95% for pre-omicron variants versus 16–31% for omicron).

Results from viral load studies were supportive, showing SARS-CoV-2 infections in vaccinated individuals had higher Ct values, suggesting lower viral load, compared to infections among the unvaccinated.

In short – the RFK Jr. conspiracy theory that COVID-19 vaccines do not block transmission at all has been disproven time and time again.

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Claim #3A : COVID Lockdowns Were Very Harmful To Children
Verdict : Partially True

This isn’t a conspiracy theory, but more of an opinion by RFK Jr., as no one actually disputed even back then that COVID-19 lockdowns would be detrimental to everyone, not just children. After all, human beings evolved to be social animals, and are biologically-driven to seek out the company of others.

The lockdowns were only implemented because the authorities wanted to stop the spread of COVID-19, and determined that the benefits far outweighed the risks. While children were judged to be least affected by COVID-19, they cannot be left out of a lockdown, because they can transmit the virus to vulnerable members of their own family.

While it is indisputable that the lockdowns can have a negative impact on children, the claim that the lockdowns were “very dangerous” to children isn’t borne out in actual studies.

2021 Spanish study : Children, in general, showed high resilience and capability to adapt to new situations. Sleeping problems were reported in more than half of the children (54%) and adolescents (59%), and these were strongly associated with less time doing sports and spending more than 5 h per day using electronic devices. Parents perceived their children to gain weight (41%), be more irritable and anxious (63%) and sadder (46%).

2022 Chart Review : Many children developed educational, social, emotional, and behavioral gaps during LD, and they lost skills to deal with everyday problems due to social isolation. It is important to follow the long-term impact of the lockdowns and social isolation.

In short, while more children experience mental health issues during the lockdown, other children were able to cope with the changes.

Also important to note – the lockdowns helped to prevent vulnerable people – both adults and children, from dying from COVID-19. While mental health issues can be detrimental, it can be treated or mitigated, whereas death cannot.

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Children in Lockdown

Claim #3B : COVID Lockdowns Would Damage Economy
Verdict : True

Well, thank you, Captain Obvious. No one ever said that COVID-19 lockdowns would not damage the economy. RFK Jr. might as well have said that it gets wet when it rains.

To be clear – everyone knows that lockdowns will damage the economy. That’s indisputable when businesses are forced to close, and people are required to stay at home. The lockdowns were only implemented to save lives, by blocking the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, until vaccines and treatments could be developed.

Claim #3C : COVID Lockdowns Would Not Block Transmission
Verdict : False

The claim by RFK Jr. and other people that lockdowns would not block the transmission of viral infections is false. The concept of a quarantine and the wider lockdown is centuries-old, and have proven to be effective in curbing the spread of disease.

More recently, the SARS outbreak in 2002, which killed over 800 people, was contained by blocking all human-to-human transmission through syndromic surveillance, strict isolation of patients and quarantine of their contacts, and lockdowns (community quarantine).

Even though the far more extensive COVID-19 lockdowns did not stop its global spread, they helped to reduce transmission and reduce the impact on healthcare services, until effective vaccines become available:

Even if our public health measures are not able to fully contain the spread of COVID-19 because of the virus characteristics, they will still be effective in delaying the onset of widespread community transmission, reducing peak incidence and its impact on public services, and decreasing the overall attack rate.

In addition, minimising the size of the outbreak or suppressing its peak can reduce global deaths by providing health systems with the opportunity to scale up and respond, and to slow down the global spread until effective vaccines become available.

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Old Voice Note On COVID-19 Deaths In Malaysia Gone Viral!

Claim #4A : Face Masks Won’t Block Transmission
Verdict : False

People like RFK Jr. who claim the face masks don’t work often refer to the 2023 Cochrane report which stated that, “wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference to the outcome of influenza‐like illness“.

However, they fail to point out that the same report urged caution, and pointed out that there was “a high risk of bias in the trials, variation in outcome measurement, and relatively low adherence with the interventions during the studies hampers drawing firm conclusions“.

Cochrane officially said that the report was inconclusive, and the editor-in-chief of the Cochrane Library, Karla Soares-Weiser, called reports saying that “masks don’t work” as an “inaccurate and misleading interpretation“.

It would be accurate to say that the review examined whether interventions to promote mask-wearing help to slow the spread of respiratory viruses, and that the results were inconclusive.

In addition, Michael D. Brown, who serves on the Cochrane editorial board pointed out that the review could not arrive at a firm conclusion because “there were not enough high-quality randomised trials where participants adhered to mask-wearing rules.

Other studies, like this 2020 Japanese study, show that wearing a properly-fitted face mask will greatly reduce the amount of inhaled virus droplets / aerosols, compared to not wearing a face mask at all.

  • Cotton face mask : 20% to 40% reduction
  • Surgical mask : 47% to 50% reduction
  • N95 mask : 80% to 90% reduction

They also show that infected people wearing face masks can block transmission, by reducing the amount of virus droplets / aerosols being expelled into the environment.

Our airborne simulation experiments showed that cotton masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks had a protective effect with respect to the transmission of infective droplets/aerosols and that the protective efficiency was higher when masks were worn by the virus spreader.

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Why Face Masks Are CRITICAL To Prevent COVID-19

Claim #4B : Face Masks Do More Harm Than Good
Verdict : False

There is no evidence that face masks do more harm than good, as RFK Jr. claimed or suggested. In fact, healthcare professionals have been wearing face masks to protect their patients and themselves since they were invented in the late nineteenth century.

Their effectiveness was greatly improved by Malaysian Chinese epidemiologist Dr. Wu Lien-teh, who developed a face mask with layers of gauze and cotton that would protect both the wearer, and other people.

The modern surgical mask as we know it was developed in the 1960s, and has been in use since then. In the 1990s, Taiwanese-American scientist Peter Tsai would invent the electrocharged fibre that would make the N95 mask possible.

To be clear – face masks do not do more harm than good, no matter how many times people like RFK Jr. repeat such claims.

Claim #5 : Social Distancing Not Based On Science
Verdict : Partially True

The claim that Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted that social distancing is not based on science isn’t actually accurate.

In his closed-door congressional testimony, Dr. Fauci said that the US federal social distancing guidance that people keep six feet of social distance “sort of just appeared”. He didn’t actually say that social distancing did not work. He only said that the six feet guidance was not backed up by an actual study.

When the US government first issued its guidance on social distancing, there were no studies on how far the COVID-19 virus can disperse from an infected person and remain infective. The six feet recommendation was based on early assessments that COVID-19 spread by droplets. Later, this was found not to be accurate, as COVID-19 could also spread by aerosols, therefore extending beyond the six feet guidance.

In short – social distancing can help reduce transmission. The further away you are from an infected person, the less likely you will inhale significant amounts of viral particles. What was not based on science back in 2020 was the six-feet recommendation. If we know what we know today – people would have to socially-distance way beyond six feet.

Now, isn’t it fortunate that we now have effective COVID-19 vaccines, and can do away with social distancing?

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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