Thursday, May 20, 2021

At least some of them are wearing masks

There's a certain strangely consistent dream logic here. If you can get yourself into these people's heads, you can almost follow the thinking. They are paranoid, meme-fed conspiracy theorists who share a personally defining belief in fringe medicine. It is not entirely surprising that many of them have come to see their perceived enemies not just as evil but as literally infectious. 

Mack Lamoureux writing for Vice:

The conspiracy—which comes in several shapes and sizes—more or less says the vaccinated will “shed” certain proteins onto the unvaccinated who will then suffer adverse effects. The main worry is the “shedding” will cause irregular menstruation, infertility, and miscarriages. The entirely baseless idea is a key cog in a larger conspiracy that COVID-19 was a ploy to depopulate the world, and the vaccine is what will cull the masses. 

Experts say the conspiracy is born from a fundamental misunderstanding of how vaccines work. It has been widely debunked and you can read about it herehere, and here, among other places.  

Anti-vax influencers are instructing their fellow anti-vaxxers as well as anti-maskers (at this point the two communities overlap to a huge degree) that one of the best ways to defend themselves from this blight is to co-opt…social distancing, the very strategy they have long decried. 

Sherri Tenpenny, an anti-vaxxer who was found to be key in spreading COVID-19 conspiracy theories, suggested on a recent anti-vax livestream that you may have to “stay away from somebody who's had these shots…forever.” 

Another prominent anti-vaxxer suggested quarantining people who have been vaccinated. “There is something being passed from people who are shot up with this poison to others who have not gotten the shot,” said Larry Palevsky, a New York pediatrician and anti-vaxxer,  on a separate livestream. They should also “have a badge on their arms that say ‘I've been vaccinated even though it's not a vaccine’ so that we know to avoid them on the street, to not go near them anywhere in society,” he said.

It’s not just social distancing that anti-maskers/anti-vaxxers are begrudgingly accepting. Some conspiracy theorists are wondering if perhaps their longtime bane, the mask, could become their salvation. One perplexed poster on the fringe site 4chan asked their fellow anons if they should “wear a mask around the vaccinated, because they shed the mRNA stuff?” 


Nevertheless, the conspiracy is picking up steam. Recently a private school in Miami went so far as to ban vaccinated teachers from interacting with unvaccinated students. In April, a Gold Shop in Kelowna, British Columbia, caused a stir when the owners put up a sign saying the vaccinated were banned from entering the store, citing worries about vaccine shedding. The store also had a sign that masking was not allowed and instructed customers to “lower their face diaper.” 

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