Celine Gounder is an infectious-disease physician and epidemiologist, and she also happens to be the widow of renowned soccer writer Grant Wahl. After her husband died while covering the World Cup, the anti-vaccine brigade concluded that his COVID vaccine must have been the reason. (It wasn't—Wahl died of a ruptured aorta that had nothing to do with the virus or its vaccines.) In a New York Times essay, Gounder writes that she soon began receiving hate-filled emails, including one with the subject line: "Now you understand that you killed your poor husband. Karma is a bitch." She chose not to engage. But when people started blaming what happened to the NFL's Damar Hamlin on the COVID vaccine, Gounder says she decided to write the Times essay.
"The vaccine disinformation playbook includes the use of fake experts, logical fallacies, impossible expectations, cherry-picked data, and conspiracy theories," she writes. Gounder elaborates on logical fallacies, the most common of which "is to say that because A happened before B, A must have caused B." At this point, about 80% of the US population has been vaccinated, so most Americans dying today would have received their shots. To conclude their shots killed them is absurd. Done staying quiet on all this, Gounder writes that "I'm channeling my grief into something productive: protecting the public's health against those who would profit from the suffering of others." Read the full essay. (Read more Grant Wahl stories.)