Controversial podcast host Joe Rogan has welcomed a doctor on his show who is known for pushing debunked and misleading claims about Covid-19 and the vaccine.
Dr Peter McCullough appeared on a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, where he claimed that health officials withheld treatments for Covid-19 in the early days of the pandemic in order to spread fear among the population and push the public to take a vaccine.
“Multi-drug therapy, as an outpatient, works substantially, and we’ve had a giant loss of life – a giant number – millions and millions of unnecessary hospitalizations,” he said.
“And it seemed to me – and I told Tucker Carson and many more – it seems to me early on that there was an intentional, very comprehensive suppression of early treatment in order to promote fear, suffering, isolation, hospitalization, and death."
Mr McCullough also claimed that The Gates Foundation, major pharma companies including Moderna, and the lab in Wuhan where some have argued the virus originated had together predicted the pandemic and were working on a response to it long before the virus was discovered.
Since the start of the pandemic Bill Gates and The Gates Foundation have long been a target for bizarre conspiracy theories around the virus and the Covid-19 vaccine.
Mr McCullough claimed that the plan was “to utilise all that in order to railroad people into mass vaccination”.
The doctor has repeatedly pushed false and misleading claims during the pandemic which contradict the science coming out of the medical community.
Back in September, he posted a video message on social media where he called on Malaysia to stop its vaccination rollout, claiming that the vaccines were unsafe and cause mutations in the virus.
He also claimed that people under 50 who contract Covid-19 do not need treatment, that the virus does not spread through asymptomatic people, and that people who have contracted Covid-19 in the past have a "negligible risk" of becoming infected again.
Each of these claims has been exposed as misleading.
For example, according to the World Health Organization, “whether or not they have symptoms, infected people can be contagious and the virus can spread from them to other people”.
And the CDC recommends that, while the virus is more severe among older people, younger people are still at risk of serious illness and should be vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
The move to bring the controversial doctor on Mr Rogan’s podcast comes after the host has spent months courting controversy with his own comments about Covid-19 and the vaccine.
The media pundit sparked a storm back in April when he told his listeners that young people should not get vaccinated.
“I’ve said, yeah, I think for the most part it’s safe to get vaccinated. I do. I do,” he said on this show.
“But if you’re like 21 years old, and you say to me, should I get vaccinated? I’ll go no.”
Mr Rogan later insisted that he is “not an anti-vax person” and that he does “believe they’re safe and encourage many people to take them”.
In August, one of his guests poured cold water on his comments and the misinformation being spread about the virus and vaccine which she said are “causing harm”.
Among the conspiracies she sought to debunk were that Covid-19 is “not that bad” and that “vaccines basically don’t prevent transmission”.
Dr Rhonda Patrick pushed back at Mr Rogan’s comments about young people not needing to get the vaccine, saying that the risks of getting dangerous side effects from the vaccine are small.
She said that strokes, blood clots, and myocarditis – rare side effects from the vaccine – among young people were on the rise prior to the vaccine rollout and that they are still more common in people who are unvaccinated.
“If you look at the data, young people are also experiencing those things at a higher rate,” she said.
“You’re either going to get infected with SARS-COV-2, most people are eventually, we’re all going to be exposed to it, so you’re either going to be vaccinated when you’re exposed to it or you’re not,” she said.
“People are dying from heart attacks and blood clots, and even myocarditis, 100-fold times more than the vaccines.”
Mr Rogan announced he had tested positive for Covid-19 in September and had “immediately thrown the kitchen sink” at his infection - including with the use of a drug that the FDA advises against using.
“We immediately threw the kitchen sink at it: all kinds of meds. Monoclonal antibodies, ivermectin, Z-pack, prednisone – everything,” he said.
“Crazy times we’re living in, but a wonderful, heartfelt thank you to modern medicine for pulling us out so quickly and easily.”
Ivermectin is a drug approved for use in humans and animals to treat parasitic infections – not illnesses caused by viruses, like Covid-19. It has become a popular drug of choice for treating the virus among conservative circles.
The FDA has urged people not to use the drug against Covid-19, saying there is no evidence it is an effective treatment, and that it can be dangerous in the wrong dosage. The agency has reported many patients needing medical attention, including hospitalization, after treating themselves with ivermectin intended for livestock.
Mr Rogan has also hosted several other controversial figures on his show including Alex Jones, who was found liable last month for defamation after he spread the false conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax.
This article was amended on 17 December 2021 to add additional material relating to ivermectin. It previously referred only to ivermectin as a medication for animals, but it is approved for use in humans for the treatment of parasites.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies