In the latest edition of pharmaceutical advertising disguised as “news,” former FDA commissioner and current Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb appeared on CBS Face the Nation to fearmonger about the alleged new COVID-19 variants. You’ll never guess what his solution is.
News actress (emphasis added): “For a look at some health concerns on the horizon as we approach the end of summer, including a rise in COVID cases and questions about updates to vaccines, we’re joined now by former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb. He also sits on the board of Pfizer, and it’s great to have you here in person, doctor… The CDC announced a highly-mutated strain of COVID has just shown up in Michigan. BA.2.86. How concerned does the public need to be?”
(Spoiler alert: extremely, highly, white-knuckle concerned!)
Scott Gottlieb (emphasis added): “I’ve talked to a number of virologists who are usually pretty staid, and they’re pretty concerned about this. Right now, it doesn’t appear to be spreading widely. There are seven strains that have been identified and sequenced in five different countries, so the UK, Denmark, Israel, and now in the U.S. We don’t know whether or not this has been spreading quietly, and we just didn’t detect it, or it’s something that’s spreading very quickly. The concern is that when you look at these different strains that have been identified, they’re genetically very similar, so that suggests that it’s probably spreading simultaneously in multiple countries. Whether or not this is going to be more transmissible than what we’ve seen before, that’s the key question. Certainly, at this point, it doesn’t appear more pathogenic, so it doesn’t appear to be more dangerous, but it may be more transmissible than the strains that are circulating now.”
It would be at this point in the interview that an actual journalist would have a few follow-ups along the lines of: “Okay, you have no idea how far it’s spreading. You don’t know if it’s more transmissible than prior strains. You have no evidence whether it is more dangerous than the others. It might be more transmissible, but, again, you don’t have any idea. So what are you doing here, and why is my producer forcing me to talk to you?”
The news actress doesn’t ask any of those questions.
Instead, she chimed in with: “And that set off some alarm bells!” before cutting to the chase. “There is a booster shot that I know Pfizer has talked about coming to market soon. It’s still not available. When do we expect it? And does it protect against these variants?”
No more foreplay, Ms. News Lady? Just right to the climax, huh, and the sweet, sweet release of the needle?
“Well, thank you, doctor, for laying out what the public needs to know,” she concludes, satisfied in post-coital bliss.
I have written extensively about the age-old, time-tested problem-reaction-solution paradigm, perhaps the favorite play that totalitarians have run for time immemorial: create or discover a problem (usually it’s manufactured but not always), induce a reaction in the public (terror or anger), and offer the solution (which may or may not be an actual solution but is guaranteed to generate profit and/or social control).