Far-right conservative pundit Dennis Prager has been one of many conservatives eagerly advancing disinformation regarding the pandemic that's killed over 700 thousand Americans. Since the first cases reached the United States in 2020, the right repeatedly dismissed the severity of the virus, claiming it was little more than the flu.
Now, with the widespread availability of lifesaving vaccines proven to be safe and effective , conservatives like Prager are spreading lies about their effects while characterizing any efforts to encourage vaccinations as a gross federal overstep.
But Prager's pandemic denialism became even more bizarre this past week, when he announced on the air that he was broadcasting from home because he had COVID, which he insisted he wanted to contract all along.
Prager told listeners:
"I'm broadcasting from my home because I'm not going into the station as I have COVID. I was tested positive last week and I have been steadily improving. At no point was I in danger of hospitalization. ... I have done what a person should do if one is not going to get vaccinated."
After bragging about discredited treatments endorsed by Prager's leader, former President Trump, Prager announced that he'd wanted to contract the virus all along:
"I t is infinitely preferable to have natural immunity than vaccine immunity and that is what I have hoped for the entire time. Hence, so, I have engaged with strangers, constantly hugging them, taking photos with them knowing that I was making myself very susceptible to getting COVID. Which is, indeed, as bizarre as it sounded, what I wanted, in the hope I would achieve natural immunity and be taken care of by therapeutics."
While limited evidence has suggested that natural immunity is slightly more effective than immunity induced by inoculation, this is far from definite. A third of people who contract COVID don't gain any protective antibodies . Natural immunity also recedes faster than vaccine immunity, and is less than half as effective as natural immunity coupled with vaccination.
What's more, while Prager may have access to expensive treatments, most Americans do not, and listening to the unhinged medical advice of a delusional conspiracy theorist could get them killed.
People condemned the deranged rant.
There was debate and speculation on whether or not Prager had been secretly vaccinated.
Again, the vaccines against COVID have proven to be safe and effective, despite Prager's fantasies.