The hearing encapsulated the competing narratives of the pandemic. On one side was a group of people essentially arguing that the coronavirus was no problem because we had a cheap and easily available therapy. On the other side, I argued that the pandemic is hard, that we have few easy solutions, and that we have to work constantly to protect lives through public health measures while we await widespread vaccinations. It’s easy to see which narrative is more appealing.
The hearing was amplified by right-wing bloggers and social media celebrities, who accused Democrats and me (I was summoned to testify by the committee’s Democratic ranking member) of being responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths. People called for me to be fired and brought to justice.
It was a powerful reminder that not even Congress is immune to toxic conspiracy theories about doctors being in cahoots with government regulators to deny Americans lifesaving therapies.
By elevating witnesses who sound smart but endorse unfounded therapies, we risk jeopardizing a century’s work of medical progress.