A number of Facebook posts share sections of a documentary dubbed Plandemic that contains an interview with Dr Judy Mikovits. The full 26-minute video has been removed from several social media platforms including Facebook and YouTube because some of it was found to contain potentially harmful medical misinformation.
The interview with Mikovits, (here), conducted by filmmaker Mikki Willis, contains a series of claims about COVID-19 and the American scientific establishment.
Mikovits is a scientist who gained prominence for a 2009 paper claiming to prove that a virus played a role in chronic fatigue syndrome (here). The journal Science retracted the paper two years later, saying it had lost confidence in the report and the validity of its conclusions after a number of teams were unable to replicate the findings (here).
This fact check article will focus on a selection of quotes from Mikovits directly related to COVID-19. It does not evaluate all the points she makes and it does not address quotes from other people who appear in the video.
First, Mikovits states that the virus that causes COVID-19 “occurred” from SARS 1 and was not naturally occurring. This is false.
SARS and COVID-19 are both caused by coronaviruses that appear to have originated in bats, and the two diseases have some similar symptoms, like fever, cough and shortness of breath (here). But recent research on the genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, found that it was genetically distinct from SARS-CoV ( bit.ly/3dMqVtq ).
Second, Mikovits states that hydroxychloroquine is “effective against these families of viruses’. This has not been clinically proven.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health as of May 12, 2020 states: “There are insufficient clinical data to recommend either for or against using chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19” (see page 47 (here).
Third, Mikovits falsely states: “The flu vaccines increase the odds by 36% of getting COVID-19”.
In making this statement she cites a study of influenza vaccination among U.S. Department of Defense personnel (here). The research was conducted during the 2017-18 influenza season and was published in January 2020. It did not research the coronavirus causing COVID-19, only the seasonal coronaviruses that cause the common cold.
Fourth, Mikovits says about the use of face masks: “Wearing the mask literally activates your own virus. You’re getting sick from your own reactivated coronavirus expressions and if it happens to be SARS-CoV-2 then you’ve got a big problem.”
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control confirmed to Reuters that this claim was unsubstantiated. Guidance on the use of face masks in response to the pandemic suggests masks can reduce the spread of infection (here)
Facebook cited the video’s claim about masks as grounds for taking it down. “Suggesting that wearing a mask can make you sick could lead to imminent harm, so we’re removing the video,” the company said (here).
False. Several quotes from Mikovits in the “Plandemic” video contain unsubstantiated or incorrect medical information.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts (here).