Debunking Salt Lake County Council Meeting Mask Mandate Conspiracy Theories

Public comments against mandatory face coverings on Tuesday included references to right-wing conspiracy theories.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) People gather inside the chamber of the Salt Lake County Government Center on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022 to protest the recent mask mandate issued by the county health department of Salt Lake and Mayor Jenny Wilson. Several public commentators have referenced fringe conspiracy theories to oppose the mask order.

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Salt Lake County Council took hours of public comment Tuesday night on the mandatory 30-day face-covering order signed into law by county health department executive director Dr. Angela Dunn last week. The board will hold a vote on the end of the term later this week.

Several speakers referred to debunked claims that masks would be ineffective in stopping the virus and misinformation about vaccines. While other speakers, hoping to sway the council to end Mask’s tenure, referenced fringe conspiracy theories that have crept into the political mainstream.

Let’s take a look at some of them:

One of the speakers was Aaron Davidson, who said he was the Utah area representative for People’s Rights, a right-wing website that provides information on self-reliance in the event of government collapse. Davidson repeated the misinformation that “heart attacks and strokes are a side effect of the vaccine.” In reality, heart problems resulting from the COVID-19 vaccination are very rare – and most of those rare cases are mild.

Austin Abecht referred to the “McCullough Protocols” for treating COVID. Cardiologist Peter McCullough has made several inaccurate claims about COVID-19 and vaccines. In an interview with podcaster Joe Rogan, McCullough repeatedly claimed the pandemic was planned, a plot advanced by the discredited pseudo-documentary “Plandemic.”

Carola Michel de Sandy told council members that “all codes, rules and regulations are unconstitutional and lack due process” and that “the common law is the real law”. She also said that “all fiction of law is null and void”.

Michell was referring to the familiar rhetoric of the “sovereign citizen” movement, which believes that the original American government enacted by the founders, called “common law”, was secretly replaced by an illegitimate government during the 1800s. believe they are immune to all government laws and regulations and reject government legitimacy. The anti-government extremist movement is considered a domestic terrorist threat by federal law enforcement.

One woman implored the advice not to ‘let this country down like Australia’. Right-wing media has falsely portrayed Australia’s response to the pandemic as a sudden slide into authoritarianism.

There were references to hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin as effective treatments for COVID-19. There is no evidence that either drug is an effective treatment for the virus.

Jamie Pack of Utah County said her best friend died after being given remdesivir to treat COVID-19. It’s a conspiracy in right-wing circles right now that people who go to hospital with coronavirus are being murdered by doctors who have a financial incentive to use therapies they know will kill them. .

One speaker referenced Children’s Health Defense, a charity run by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and cited as a major source of vaccine misinformation during the pandemic.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) People gather outside the Salt Lake County Government Center on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022 to protest the recent mask mandate issued by the Salt Lake County Health Department and the Mayor Jenny Wilson.

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