We Want Them Infected
How the failed quest for herd immunity led doctors to embrace the anti-vaccine movement and blinded Americans to the threat of COVID
Jonathan Howard MD
“...Based in New York City, Dr. Howard served on the front lines in Covid’s first wave. He witnessed a lot of preventable death and suffering. And then he watched, with growing incredulity, as influential scientists attempted to deny or minimize what he had seen with his own two eyes... It shows how much damage can be caused, in a society that has trouble figuring out who is and who is not an expert by a corrupt or phony expert. It also hints at what we might do, to prevent that damage from happening all over again.”
- Michael Lewis, Author of Moneyball, The Premonition, The New New Thing, and Flash Boys.
Dr. Jonathan Howard is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health and the Chief of Neurology at Bellevue Hospital.He is the author of Cognitive Errors and Diagnostic Mistakes: A Case-Based Guide to Critical Thinking in Medicine as well as several
textbooks in neurology.He has been interested in vaccines long before the pandemic.
Praise For We Want Them Infected
One of the untold stories of the COVID pandemic in the US is the role of medical and public health professionals in spreading disinformation, pushing for policies that exacerbate the virus’ spread, and drive people away from important interventions, particularly vaccines, which blunt the deadly effects of SARSCOV2. Because of professional courtesy, solidarity or just sheer cowardice, many inside the professions have refused to take on these frauds, egomaniacs, purveyors of sickness and suffering in white coats. Jonathan Howard’s book We Want Them Infected, though, names names. In painstaking detail, he builds an indictment of these men and women who have blood on their hands, abusing the trust of millions to peddle lies and falsehoods. This book is one for the ages, making it hard to sweep the complicity of these individuals with the virus under the carpet, leaving a record for the future, a cautionary tale for all of us.
—Gregg Gonsalves, PhD, Associate Professor, Yale School of Public Health, Associate Professor (adjunct), Yale Law School
The legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic will haunt our nation (United States) for many years. This is true not only because of the horrific toll of more than one million American deaths, and those who lost loved ones, but also several failed public health policies that contributed to America’s suffering. In “We Want Them Infected” Dr. Howard tells a dark story of how spurious concepts of herd immunity may have contributed to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States (and perhaps globally). His book provides important information about how we might limit the death and destruction of future virus pandemics.
—Dr. Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, DSc (hon), FASTMH, FAAP , Texas Children’s Hospital: Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics, Co-Director, Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development Baylor College of Medicine: Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine, Professor, Departments of Pediatrics, Molecular Virology & Microbiology, Health Policy Scholar Rice University, Baker Institute Fellow in Disease & Poverty Texas A&M University, Faculty-Senior Fellow, Hagler Institute for Advanced Study & Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs
The Hippocratic Oath enjoins us to “first do no harm”. Yet, throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, some very prominent doctors have done immense harm. While others were struggling to understand the virus and save lives, a few were spreading what we describe as disinformation, but might equally call lies. By aligning with populist politicians they undermined public health responses and cost many lives. Everyone who has suffered from Covid-19, losing friends and relatives or experiencing Long COVID, or who cared for them, owes a debt of gratitude to Jonathan Howard. By cataloging in detail the ways in which the words and actions of those who, for whatever reason, distorted the science, he must surely have destroyed any remaining credibility they possess.
—Dr. Martin McKee, President, British Medical Association, Professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
A comprehensive and sober fact-checking of a disturbing phenomenon: the rise of the COVID contrarian doctor. We Want Them Infected deconstructs the revisionist history and failed predictions of the physicians repeatedly caught prioritizing wishful thinking over data. Dr. Howard has kept the receipts that show these contrarian doctors’ crystal balls are badly broken.
—Jonathan Jarry, MSc, Science Communicator for McGill University’s Office for Science and Society
Jonathan Howard’s important book sheds light on a crucial issue: how previously mainstream doctors became mouthpieces of misinformation, promoting claims as false as those of anti-vaccine activists, and making controlling COVID-19 that much harder. The book is gripping, hard to put down, full of evidence and the personal experience of frontline doctors, and thoroughly explains both the problems with the doctors’ claims and the way they affected the fight against the virus. It is a valuable addition to understanding how misinformation spread during the pandemic, and I would encourage policymakers, doctors, and academics to read and share it.
—Dorit Reiss, Professor of Law and the James Edgar Hervey ‘50 Chair of Litigation at UC Hastings College of Law.
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