Death Threats and Lawsuits Have Been Made Against Covid Experts.
In May, Marc Van Ranst, a virologist best known in Belgium for his knowledge in the Covid-19 outbreak, was at home for his first afternoon off in months, unaware that his life was in danger and that he would soon be forced to flee.
Jurgen Conings, a soldier associated with right-wing extremist organisations who had announced his intention to harm Van Ranst, was in a car nearby, loaded with four rocket launchers.
Van Ranst didn’t find out he was in danger until the next day.
Van Ranst told AFP that “they called me around midday and half an hour later they appeared with heavily armored automobiles.”
“They took my son from school, my wife from the hospital, and myself… to a safe home,” says the narrator. Over the course of a month, we were in different safe homes.” Since the pandemic began, Van Ranst has given hundreds of interviews on Covid-19 and claims to have a dossier of over 150 threats relating to his pandemic expertise.
“Some are minor,” he explained, “some compare you to Hitler or Mengele.” “Then there are the death threats.” According to a poll published in the scientific journal Nature, he is one of dozens of experts who have been harassed as a result of the pandemic.
After speaking about Covid-19 in the media, 81 percent of the 321 specialists who answered to the journal said they had received “trolling or personal insults.”
Fifteen percent said they had received death threats, and more than half said their veracity had been questioned.
Nature stated in its article on the study that it contacted scientists in the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, Taiwan, New Zealand, and Germany who had given interviews regarding the pandemic.
The prominent magazine admits that intimidation of scientists who speak out about contentious matters like gun violence, vaccines, and climate change is nothing new.
However, they claim that even well-known experts have noticed an increase in abuse as a result of the pandemic. Respondents to the survey indicated threats from email, internet comments, phone calls, and other sources.
Karine Lacombe, a French virologist, rose to fame during the epidemic as a result of her expertise, which she shared on a regular basis on television and radio, as well as in papers.
She told AFP that the attacks on her began in earnest after she spoke out publicly against controversial doctor Didier Raoult’s proposal to treat Covid with hydroxychloroquine, which was predominantly fueled by French right-wing media.
She claims to have been ridiculed on the street, received anonymous letters threatening rape, and had her inbox swamped with personal messages insulting her.
“It was completely unfamiliar territory for me.” The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.