But, that wasn’t a bad thing, insisted Prager. In fact, getting sick with COVID was his plan from the start, he announced on Monday on his show, which airs daily on YouTube.
“It’s infinitely better to have natural immunity than immunity from a vaccine and that’s what I’ve been hoping for all the time,” Prager told listeners at his home, where he is in quarantine. “Therefore… I engaged with strangers, hugging them constantly, taking pictures with them, knowing that I was making myself very susceptible to COVID… [It is] what I wanted, in the hope of obtaining natural immunity and being supported by therapy. This is exactly what happened.
Prager, who became a staunch supporter of Trump after initially criticizing the ex-president, said he tested positive last week, which is why he did not do his show on Wednesday, Thursday. or Friday. He described having “a lot of chills” but “improving steadily” and has not required hospitalization so far. He received a course of monoclonal antibody treatment from Regeneron and told his audience he was following the “Zelenko Protocol,” an ineffective combination of prescription drugs popular with the far right but not intended to treat COVID, and is now also taking ivermectin, an unapproved drug that is used in animals and humans to treat infections caused by parasitic worms and certain skin conditions, but again, not COVID.
Prager’s wife Susan acknowledged The Daily Beast’s request for comment and said she would forward a detailed list of questions that Prager should answer and email it back. He still hadn’t responded several hours later.
The Regeneron monoclonal antibody cocktail is still in the experimental stage and has not been approved for use by the FDA. Yet countless vaccine skeptics, including comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan, Rudy Giuliani and Texas Governor, GOP hopeful Allen West, have chosen to forgo a COVID vaccine. in favor of monoclonal antibody treatments to fight the virus after being infected. It costs around $ 2,100 per dose, compared to $ 20 for the vaccine, and has put a strain on healthcare workers and hospital resources in areas – primarily red states – where monoclonal antibodies have become popular.
As for the so-called Zelenko Protocol, the unproven treatment was created by Monroe, New York, family doctor and conspiracy theorist Vladimir Zelenko, a doctor who attended former President Donald Trump’s rally on January 6 before his supporters never stormed the US Capitol. Zelenko’s patients are being treated with three drugs he claims to be prophylactics against COVID: hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial that has little or no effect against the virus; azithromycin, an antibiotic widely used to treat sinus infections, Lyme disease and some STIs but is no more effective than a placebo against COVID; and zinc sulfate, which has not shown a significant effect on people hospitalized with COVID.
Zelenko came to the attention of federal prosecutors last year for falsely claiming that his COVID treatment received government approval when in reality it did not.
Prager told his audience on Monday that he had done his best to be infected with COVID by hugging “strangers by the thousands, literally by the thousands, without being vaccinated.”
“And finally, I got it from someone,” he said, adding: “And it was a bet, based on knowledge, not on being a player, I am not a player, ”Prager said. “I certainly don’t play with my health, but I believe so much in the science and science of ivermectin, not the lies of Le New York Times. »
In reality, the Times reported that ivermectin “has repeatedly failed in clinical trials to help people infected with the coronavirus,” which is no lie.
As The Daily Beast previously reported, Prager has long been spouting false information about the effects of COVID, claiming the virus is no more harmful than the flu. (He also downplayed his risk of developing cancer by smoking cigars, a habit he said he picked up as a teenager.) COVID is “not a killer,” Prager said, adding he would accept COVID lockdowns though the United States’ death toll has never reached 30,000. Some 724,000 people nationwide have now died from COVID.
Prager’s reach is extensive – his YouTube channel has over 2.4 million subscribers. And it is not known how many of them believe everything Prager says.
For starters, he told his audience on Monday that there was “no argument for young people to get vaccinated.” Not at all. “
However, young people, mostly unvaccinated, but not exclusively, have recently died from COVID.
Prager also neglected to provide important context on the studies he said he used to make his decision to obtain natural immunity, which he incorrectly described on Monday as “by far the most robust immunity than the we can have against COVID or any other virus ”.
As Martin Makary, professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, and editor of MedPage Today, wrote in Le Washington Post, the natural immunity to COVID is powerful, [but] policymakers seem to be afraid to say so.
In fact, the study Makary cited found that COVID gave those who had been infected with the virus a degree of natural immunity, but that people who got vaccinated after being infected were much better protected against a second infection. than those who had. not.
Public health experts took issue with the study’s design, according to the University of Nebraska Medical Center. A doctor in St. Louis cited a different study which found that those who are not vaccinated after COVID infection are 2.34 times more likely to contract the virus again than those who have been vaccinated.
In short, doctors and researchers recommend that people do the exact opposite of the “treatments” advocated by Prager.
“What we don’t want people to say is, ‘Okay, I should go out and get infected, I should throw an infection party,’” immunologist Michel Nussenzweig told the newspaper. Science. “Because someone might die. “