Members of the medical community agree on COVID-19. Experts around the world consider the novel coronavirus to be an extraordinarily serious threat that has caused more than 1.5 million deaths worldwide, including over 300,000 in the United States. These mortality figures more than justify public health measures such as wearing masks, staying within two meters of others physically, and restricting social interactions.
There are exceptions to this thinking, however – and Dr. Brian Joondeph is arguably the most prominent in Denver thanks to his growing media reach. In addition to appearing regularly on radio programs, Joondeph has penned a blizzard of articles questioning death dates, face cover effectiveness, and more for a variety of conservative publications and news sites including the Daily Caller, Washington Examiner, and Liberty Nation .
Typical is the November 30th article “The COVID Case Con Continues” published on the American Thinker website, in which Joondeph claims that it is fraudulent to say that someone with a positive COVID test is a “case”. For comparison: the blood sugar has a higher test limit of 140. Is everyone above this number a diabetic? Even if he only ate a donut or an ice cream cone before the test? Or does it take more than a blood sugar level to be diagnosed with diabetes? Does the pressure test make you hypertensive? Certainly not. “
But unlike deniers, Joondeph doesn’t see COVID-19 as a real joke, also because his wife was infected with the disease in March and became extremely ill. Many months later she still suffers from persistent effects. Because her illness emerged so early in the pandemic, Joondeph hasn’t been tested to see if he, too, had contracted the novel coronavirus, but it’s likely because a follow-up test found antibodies in his system. However, when he got the disease too, he was asymptomatic.
“I don’t know why some people get very sick and others don’t,” he admits. “But I certainly don’t deny it. I have colleagues, mentors, who have died from it. I know it’s pretty real – but I also know that there are many other diseases that are real too. We’re having a flu season Every year when between 30,000 and 80,000 Americans die and this is some form of the flu. I’m not saying it’s the same, every flu is different. But they are in the same category and we treat this very differently from that The way we treat the common flu. We quarantine, test, and follow no precedent – and it causes immeasurable socio-economic damage. That’s what really bothers me. “
Joondeph is an avowed news junkie who took an interest in writing while receiving a Masters in Health Management from the University of Denver. “As a doctor, I understand the scientific method to be hypothesizing observed events and conducting experiments to prove or disprove,” he says. “I noticed this was not done in climate science – this seedy science was advanced without proving the models work. And now I see that with COVID-19: scare tactics, moving goal posts and disobeying science, especially when Science is inconvenient to political narrative. I’m not trying to be a bomb thrower. I’m just trying to give perspective on what I see as people who put politics above science. “
Not that Joondeph is allergic to filling his own work with ideological abuse. In the American Thinker article mentioned above, he referred to President-elect Joe Biden as “Sleepy Joe” and “Dementia Joe” and COVID-19 as the “Wuhan virus,” a term that some consider racist but he calls it racist just keeps accurate as the disease is believed to have originated in the Chinese city. Still, he doesn’t think he can be influenced by personal politics. “I’m only doing this to liven up writing,” he claims. “I write for a relatively conservative audience, not the New York Times, so I like to keep the writing a little easier, funnier, and bring in things like that.”
Like Scott Atlas, a radiology professor who became an advisor to the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force after advancing President Donald Trump’s beloved COVID-19 theories (he recently stepped down from his position), Joondeph is not an infectious disease specialist. Rather, he is an ophthalmologist and retinal surgeon for a large practice with multiple offices in the Denver metropolitan area and satellites in Frisco and Goodland, Kansas. But Joondeph doesn’t think that this background should prevent him from weighing COVID-19. After all, he emphasizes: “A college dropout with no medical training is an important force behind global vaccination policy. His name? Bill Gates.”
And then there is Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s best-known voice on the virus. “Dr. Fauci is an academic and a researcher,” says Joondeph. “There’s nothing wrong with that, but he’s not been in private practice to see patients for thirty years. So I have a different perspective. Does one of us right and one of us wrong? No.”
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Joondeph adds that “it shouldn’t disqualify someone if they don’t have a specific credential,” citing a recent example in another area: Trump who “never held political office before running for the presidency and it won what disqualified him in some people’s eyes “- but not his. Joondeph confirms: “I proudly voted for Donald Trump.”
Joondeph believes that the drug hydroxychloroquine has been unfairly demonized because Trump denounced it as a COVID-19 therapy (he still believes it could help patients if used before symptoms get so bad they can must be hospitalized), and cites a Danish study that suggests that masks are not as beneficial as advertised and not the many reports that suggest the opposite. He also brings up the Centers for Disease Control’s widely misinterpreted report from August that only 6 percent of people who died with COVID-19 listed the disease as the cause on their death certificates, suggesting the death toll was vastly exaggerated are. “I have cited cases where someone was shot and then tested positive for COVID-19 and when they died they were listed as a COVID-19 death,” he says.
The phrase Joondeph uses to summarize how the media is dealing with COVID-19: “Numbers don’t lie, but liars make numbers.”
Of course, practically all of his colleagues see the virus very differently from Joondeph. But he is not silenced. “I was watching that,” he concludes, “so I spoke – and tried to make it thoughtful.”
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Michael Roberts has been writing for Westword since October 1990 and has worked as a music editor and media columnist. It currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.