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Fake News At WND: Coronavirus Edition, Part 8

The falsehoods and misinformation about COVID and its vaccines never stops at WorldNetDaily, even though all that fake news doesn't make anyone want to read the cash-strapped site.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 11/20/2023

Bob Unruh

If there is a study that touches on COVID vaccines or face masks, it's pretty much a certainty that any reporting WorldNetDaily does on it will be highly misleading or false in a way that falsely demonizes them and ignore flaws in the study that have been identified by others. For one recent study, WND started off with an April 23 article it stole from the right-wing Daily Mail, with the provocative claim that "Face masks may raise the risk of stillbirths, testicular dysfunction and cognitive decline in children." This was so alarming -- and so clickbait-y -- that Bob Unruh cranked out his own article on the study on May 10:
A new study suggests that those COVID masks, pushed on the American public by the likes of Biden medical adviser Anthony Fauci and multiple state and local officials, actually caused problems with high blood pressure.

And they "reduced thinking ability."

And "increased respiratory problems."

And more.

Essentially, they were having people "effectively poisoning oneself by breathing in too much carbon dioxide."

"What can breathing too much carbon dioxide do to you? The authors write that 'at levels between 0.05% and 0.5% CO2,' one might experience an 'increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and overall increased circulation with the symptoms of headache, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, rhinitis, and dry cough.” Rates above 0.5 percent can lead to 'reduced cognitive performance, impaired decision-making and reduced speed of cognitive solutions.' Beyond 1 percent, 'the harmful effects include respiratory acidosis, metabolic stress, increased blood flow and decreased exercise tolerance,'" explained a City Journal report.

It was based on a study from Germany that quantifies "the harms" from wearing masks.

You will not be surprised to learn that the study's results are being overstated and may not actually hold up. As a fact-checker found:

Experts told us the article is flawed.

Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said the review article relied partly on studies of animals that are chronically exposed to carbon dioxide.

Those studies are not applicable to humans intermittently wearing face masks, he said.

Jeremy Howard, a scientist at the University of San Francisco, said the review article overestimates by 60 times the amount of carbon dioxide people breathe when wearing masks.


Scientists have found little evidence that the kind of masks worn by schoolchildren negatively affect oxygen or carbon dioxide levels. Scientists also say contamination levels on masks are no worse than contamination levels on other common objects.

Studies have not found significant health problems even from prolonged mask wearing.

But Unruh cares about fearmongering, not facts, so he uncritically repeated partisan claims from the right-wing City Journal that "Evidence continues to mount that mask mandates were perhaps the worst public-health intervention in modern American history" and that wearing masks "ignored centuries of Western norms, the best medical evidence, and common sense."

Smearing Chelsea Clinton

It took two articles for WND to fully attack Chelsea Clinton for advocating that children receive vaccinations. The first was a May 6 article stolen from right-wing fake-news content mill The People's Voice with the false headline "Chelsea Clinton: 'It's time to force-jab every unvaccinated child in America'." In fact, nowhere in the original People's Voice article is Clinton quoted as actually saying that, so it's a blatant lie to put those words in quotes.

Two days later, Bob Unruh wrote an article that was lighter on Chelsea Clinton slander but continued to fearmonger about vaccines, citing as a prime source the anti-vaxxer site Children's Health Defense:

Chelsea Clinton, daughter of ex-President Bill and two-time failed presidential candidate Hillary, now is campaigning to give all the children in the world many more vaccinations.

Following shortly after the catastrophic results of the COVID-19 vaccinations that many people were forced to get, resulting in injury up to and including death, a report at Children's Health Defense explains how Clinton, long an executive for her parent's foundation who attended a long list of elite schools, at one point taking a a master's degree in "public health" from Columbia, is pursuing her agenda.

And she's working with the World Health Organization and Gates Foundation, both ardently pro-vaccination ideologues, on the project.

It's called the "Big Catch-Up" initiative, and WHO said it's a "targeted global effort to boost vaccination among children…."

Chelsea Clinton, "via the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) — along with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation" wants to make it the "largest childhood immunization effort ever."

She talked about her desires at a recent elite conference in Marina del Rey, California.

Note Unruh's portrayal of Clinton as some kind of "elite," as if vaccines are only the realm of rich people. Still, his anti-vaxxer fearmongering continued:

During the recent conference, Chelsea Clinton said there's a problem with "vaccine hesitancy" as well as those who simply reject vaccinations.

"No one should die of polio, measles, or pneumonia — including in this country, where we also need people to vaccinate their kid," she said.

In addition to traditional vaccinations, the program also is pushing the politically charged HPV vaccine and Gates Foundation spokesman Chris Elias said, "We must double down to reach all children..."

Unruh didn't explain why children shouldn't be vaccinated against polio, measles, or pneumonia, nor did he explain why the HPV vaccine is "politically charged."

On the other hand, WND appears to have accepted the fact that Chelsea is Bill Clinton's child, after years of suggesting that Webb Hubbell is her real father, so that's something.

Bob Unruh found another COVID vaccine-related study to mislead about in a May 31 article:

A study done during the COVID pandemic, preliminary at the time, charged that people actually were more likely to get COVID if they'd had multiple vaccine doses.

But it was dissed widely by political leaders and health industry officials because it had not been peer-reviewed.

Now it has. And it is delivered the same stunning verdict: "The risk of COVID-19 ... varied by the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses previously received. The higher the number of vaccines previously received, the higher the risk of contracting COVID-19.

It was Joe Biden, among others, who tried to shame and coerce Americans into taking the experimental shots.

It wasn't until the 10th paragraph of his article that Unruh got around to quoting from the actual study:

The results documented by Open Forum Infectious Diseases said, "The association of increased risk of COVID-19 with higher numbers of prior vaccine doses was unexpected."

It suggested a "simplistic" explanation is that those who got more doses were more likely to be at higher risk.

But, it said, "the majority of subjects in this study were generally young individuals and all were eligible to have received at least 3 doses of vaccine by the study start date, and which they had every opportunity to do. Therefore, those who received fewer than 3 doses (46% of individuals in the study) were not those ineligible to receive the vaccine, but those who chose not to follow the CDC's recommendations on remaining updated with COVID-19 vaccination."

It continued, "One could reasonably expect these individuals to have been more likely to have exhibited higher risk-taking behavior. Despite this, their risk of acquiring COVID-19 was lower than those who received a larger number of prior vaccine doses."

Much of the rest of Unruh's article quoted from an unhinged commentary at the right-wing PJ Media, which insisted on calling vaccine supporters "COVIDians," whined about the "sponsored-by-Pfizer media" and ranted that "The pharmaceutical companies’ ill-gotten blanket immunity from damages caused by their products needs to be retroactively revoked because they were granted on fraudulent premises." Unruh couldn't be bothered to talk to one of the actual researchers about the significance of that finding, like a fact-checker did:

Incorrect claims about the paper have been circulating since before it was peer-reviewed and published. Recently, a widely viewed social media post jumped to the conclusion that the study shows that “a higher number of COVID-19 vaccine doses received increases the risk of infection with COVID-19.” Another widely viewed post sharing the study results incorrectly concluded that the vaccines were a “failed experiment.”

The original COVID-19 vaccine series was initially very effective against infection and without question “saved a lot of lives,” co-author Dr. Nabin Shrestha, an infectious disease physician at the Cleveland Clinic, told us. Determining whether getting more doses of the COVID-19 vaccines can later cause greater susceptibility to infections “wasn’t the point of the study,” he said.

Shrestha said he did not know the explanation for the findings. The paper mentions immunological mechanisms that “have been suggested as possible mechanisms whereby prior vaccine may provide less protection than expected.” But Shrestha said that the result could also be from a confounding factor — some characteristic of people who got more vaccines that led them to have a higher number of positive tests.


Observational studies like the Cleveland Clinic one can turn up associations between things, but it can be difficult to assess what caused these patterns.

Shrestha said the finding in his study on prior doses and infection risk “should certainly give us some pause.” But he also said that “a study like this, one study, is not going to prove any cause-effect relationship.” The goal in presenting the findings, he said, was to prompt other researchers to also look at the relationship between past doses and infection risk.

In other words: The study didn't prove what Unruh claimed it did, nor was it designed to -- it was an observation that calls for additional research. Of course, misleading and fearmongering about COVID vaccines is what WND does.

Peter LaBarbera served up his fake-news offering in a June 21 article, under the alarmist headline "CDC chief KNEW COVID vaccine didn't work while pushing shots":

A newly unearthed email by former CDC Director Rochelle Walensky reveals that she, former NIH Director Francis Collins and COVID point man Dr. Anthony Fauci discussed dangerous “vaccine breakthroughs” of COVID infections at the same time they were telling the public that the vaccines would prevent people from becoming infected – a narrative she continued for months.

Walensky's redacted email, produced through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, is dated Jan. 30, 2021, shortly after the Biden government began rolling out the COVD vaccines, which quickly became mandatory for military servicemembers and government workers, as well as in the corporate world – punishing those who refused to take the shot.

In the email, Walensky writes: "I had a call with Francis Collins this morning and one of the issues we discussed was that of vaccine breakthroughs."

"This is clearly an important area of study and was specifically called out this week here," she writes, linking to a January 8, 2021 "viewpoint" article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, on COVID vaccine breakthroughs titled, "SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines and the Growing Threat of Viral Variants." The article discusses new COVID mutations that "immediately raised concerns among vaccine researchers."

Walensky writes in the email: "Nancy and I discussed this briefly a few weeks ago and I understand that –" whereupon a large chunk of her email is redacted.
LaBarbera rather deliberately missed the point -- and, thus, chose to mislead and lie to his readers. Contrary to LaBarbera's headline, the original COVID vaccines did work, providing a high degree of effectiveness in prevention of transmission and in reducing severity of symptoms in those who did catch it. The JAMA article LaBarbera mentioned in passing did not attack those vaccines because they "didn't work"; it argued that new COVID variants would make them less effective, which is exactly what happened. And that's why the vaccines are regularly reformulated to target newly circulating variants. And as experts have pointed out, all vaccines have some degree of breakthrough infections, and no vaccine is 100 percent effective. And those who got COVID after being vaccinated saw milder symptoms than those who were unvaccinated.

But rather then tell his readers these facts, LaBarbera chose to push a right-wing anti-vaxx narrative instead:

Reaction poured in from conservatives and others outraged by the revelation that Walensky and others key COVID policy figures were well aware of the experimental vaccines' shortcomings, even as they championed the vaccines and pushed mandates on the public while demonizing people who refused the shots for various reasons, including that they had no need for them because they'd gained natural immunity by contracting COVID.

It's shoddy, biased and incomplete reporting like this that is costing WND readers. But WND is choosing to stay rooted in conspiracy theories instead of trying to improve the quality and reliability of its "news" product.

Bob Unruh lied in a July 21 article:

A new study, conducted by respected medical researchers and published in The Lancet, a renowned medical journal, indicated that the COVID shots themselves actually killed people – and the study now has been killed.

That's according to a report from Liberty Counsel, which has been one of the key fighters in court against the Biden administration's various COVID shot mandates during the pandemic.

The report said the "bombshell" study was done by Dr. Peter McCullough and others and was published in The Lancet.

But it "was quickly censored within 24 hours after its publication because it showed clear evidence that the COVID-19 shots were responsible for many deaths."

Of the 325 autopsies reviewed, "the study revealed the COVID shots directly caused or significantly contributed to up to 74% of those deaths."

But as an actual fact-checker at AFP pointed out, the study was never published in The Lancet; it appeared on a preprint server where studies typically appear before peer review, and it was never even accepted for publication by The Lancet.

Unruh went on to hype the alleged credentials of the study authors:

The report said McCullough, a renowned internist, epidemiologist and "one of the most published cardiologists in American with more than 1,000 peer-reviewed publications," did the study with eight other researchers.

They included Yale researcher Dr. Harvey Risch, pathologist Dr. Roger Hodkinson and Dr. Paul Alexander, formerly of the Department of Health and Human Services.

McCullough, of course, is a prolific COVID misinformer whom WND has repeatedly touted. And Risch, Hodkinson and Alexander are COVID misinformers as well. Their study was removed from the preprint server because it was highly flawed, as AFP documented:

Zhou Xing, an immunology professor at McMaster University, found the methodology to be flawed as it did not seem to factor in medical conditions and age as possible reasons that death could have occurred after vaccination.

"It seems an astoundingly ridiculous analysis and conclusion and I believe one does not have to be a scientific or medical expert to find the major flaws," Xing said in a July 12 email.

Xing noted that because a large majority of people have received Covid-19 shots, mortality rates will inevitably be higher for vaccinated individuals regardless of the cause of death.

AFP also showed how the paper's claims of having been "independently reviewed" is bogus:

Brian Ward, a professor of experimental medicine who studies the adverse effects of vaccines at McGill University, said he questioned the study's claims of independent researchers, given the physicians' histories of spreading Covid-19 misinformation could lead them to be invested in reaching a conclusion that supports their previous statements.

"The way they use the word 'independently' here simply means that each of the biased individuals sat in a separate room to reach a personal conclusion before sharing their (largely pre-determined) classifications with each other," Ward said in an email on July 12, 2023.

Ward added he believed it was unlikely the paper would ever be published in a medical journal.

AFP also noted a professor who lamented that the claims in this "zombie paper" will become part of the discourse despite its having been discredited and retracted. But the truth does not matter to WND; indeed, Unruh uncritically quoted McCullough making the blatantly untrue claim that "They are trying to kill [the study] so the world doesn’t see the data."

Mad that science will be followed

LaBarbera spent a July 31 "news" article ranting that the new director of the CDC will (gasp!) follow the science instead of right-wing anti-vaxxer narratives when it comes to COVID (bolding in original):

The CDC will soon recommend annual COVID shots, much like the current annual flu shots, said Dr. Mandy Cohen, the embattled federal health agency's new director, in an interview Thursday.

President Biden picked Cohen, the former head of North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services, to replace the controversy-prone Rochelle Walensky to head the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost a month ago despite Republicans' objections.

Asked by a Spectrum reporter if the CDC were moving toward recommending one COVID shot per year for Americans, Cohen said, “Well, we’re just on the precipice of that, so I don’t want to get ahead of where our scientists are here ... but yes, we anticipate that what COVID will become is similar to flu shots, where it's going to be: you get your annual flu shot and you get your annual COVID shot.”

LaBarbera offered no evidence that Cohen is wrong about the coming need for an annual COVID vaccination; instead, he simply parroted right-wing attacks on her as "unfit for the position" for purportedly "engaging in partisan left-wing politics," also uncritically quoting from an attack piece by the anti-vaxxer Epoch Times, which LaBarbera claimed "laid out her North Carolina record, which is in line with other states that applied overbearing mandates and policies for fighting COVID."

So LaBarbera is mad that Cohen did what every other responsible state medical official did in response to COVID by supporting vaccines and other measures to slow transmission? That just shows how out of the mainstream both medically and politically WND is -- and just how desperate it is to smear anyone who refuses to go out on that fringe with it.

Old fake news

An anonymously written Aug. 10 article repeated old fake news smearing COVID vaccines:

A new report reveals that a secret Centers for Disease Control document confirms that nearly 120,000 children and young adults died "due to the COVID-19 vaccine's dangerous side effects."

That includes more than 78,000 excess deaths in that age group during 2021 after the shots were available, and governments started demanding people accept them, and the 39,000 plus in 2022.

It is Expose-News that said, "The CDC report should spark widespread outrage and be on the front page of every single major newspaper. But instead, it has been and will continue to be met with a deafening silence. Despite the staggering death toll the report will be buried and swept under the carpet."

The report elaborated, "Compared to other countries, the U.S. government has been terrible at publishing relevant and up-to-date data allowing us to analyze the consequences of rolling out the COVID-19 injections. However, we have finally managed to stumble upon it thanks to an institution known as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OEC)."


It said, "Excess deaths among children and young adults were significantly higher every single week in 2021 than they were in 2020 except for weeks 29 and 30."

The report said the number of excess deaths surged after the rollout of the COVID-19 shots.

"If we are to believe the official narrative that COVID-19 injections are safe and effective, then how can one explain the further increase in death among children and young adults in both 2021 and 2022?"

The fact the claim comes from the British website Expose should raise a red flag, because it has been repeatedly busted for spreading COVID misinformation -- and that's the case here as well. On top of that, this is old fake news, which first came out late year; an actual, fact-based media outlet talked to actual experts who debunked the claim:

But Brian Tsai, a spokesperson for the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, told The Associated Press that the claim misrepresents CDC data.

Tsai said that from the start of 2021 to the 43rd week of 2022, there have been about 124,000 excess deaths in the U.S. among 0- to 44-year-olds compared to the 2015-2019 average. However, he said, there’s no indication this was vaccine related.

This number is higher than the numbers published by OECD because the CDC’s data is now more complete, according to Tsai.

The 124,000 excess deaths break down to about 80,000 excess deaths in 2021 and about 44,000 excess deaths in 2022. Tsai also noted that excess deaths for 2022 are similar to those in 2020, when there were about 46,000.

Confirmed reports of deaths caused by vaccination are extremely rare, even with millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses having been administered in the U.S.

Scott Pauley, a spokesperson for the CDC, told the AP that outside of nine deaths confirmed to be associated with rare blood clots following the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the agency has “not detected any unusual or unexpected patterns for deaths following immunization that would indicate that COVID vaccines are causing or contributing to deaths.”

Instead, Tsai wrote in an email to the AP, likely reasons for excess deaths in this age group since 2020 include “increases in accidental deaths (mainly drug overdoses), suicides, homicides, heart diseases, liver disease, and diabetes.” He said a substantial number of the excess deaths are the result of COVID-19 itself.

A surge in excess deaths among children and young adults in the summer of 2021, for example, corresponded with the delta variant of the coronavirus hitting the U.S., which affected younger people more than previous variants of the virus, Tsai explained.

WND didn't tell its readers about any of this, let alone that it's an old story. It doesn't seem to understand that this insistence on publishing fake news is what is making readers flee in droves and pushing it to the brink of extinction.

Unruh returned to spread even more misinformation a Sept. 7 article:

The Food and Drug Administration is charged with making sure products, including medicines, delivered to American consumers have been tested for safety.

And a Pfizer booster shot that delivered in 2021 purportedly to help consumers fight off the COVID-19 pandemic was.

On 23 people.

That stunner comes from Judicial Watch, which reported on its access to 58 pages of records from the FDA.

They revealed "a Pfizer study surveyed 23 people in 2021 to gauge reactions to its COVID vaccine booster before asking the FDA to approve it."

But as a credible media outlet reported, this isn't that big of a deal:

The FDA's decision to consider Covid boosters without human data is in line with how it evaluates modified vaccines for influenza each year. Clinical studies in humans aren't required for the approval of seasonal influenza vaccines, even when they're reformulated for strain changes, said Dr. Jesse Goodman of Georgetown University, a former FDA vaccine chief.

In other words, the COVID vaccine itself has already been tested and found safe, so there's no need to do comprehensive testing of the vaccine's safety again when the only thing that has changed is the strains being targeted, which is how flu vaccines are run. But rather than tell readers this relevant fact, Unruh simply chose to serve up fearmongering stenography: "Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch chief, noted that the public "would do well to examine these troubling documents" because of the 'shotgun approach' to earlier boosters, in light of the Biden administration's new push for more shots."

Misleading stories like this do nothing to make anyone want to trust WND.

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