This article was published on July 28, 2020

Blame the neanderthals

Blame the neanderthals
Tristan Greene
Story by

Tristan Greene

Editor, Neural by TNW

Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: He/him

Coronavirus in Context is a weekly newsletter where we bring you facts that matter about the COVID-19 pandemic and the technology trying to stop its spread. You can subscribe here.

Hola Pandemic Pals,

Sorry we’re late today. My toddler has a stomach bug and we’re out of toilet paper. I had to print out a bunch of copies of Breitbart’s home page to handle the mess.

Why the unsolicited jab at Steve Bannon’s propaganda outlet? Because it published a video last night spreading purposely harmful COVID-19 misinformation from a group of medical “experts” called America’s Frontline Doctors composed of several anti-vaxxers and at least one exorcist. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good exorcism as much as the next person. I think Linda Blair is an institution.

But the general public’s willingness to accept anyone with an MD as an expert on COVID-19 is chilling. Take Doctor Stella Immanuel of America’s Frontline Doctors for example. 

She’s one of the “doctors” pushing hydroxychloroquine for Breitbart as part of the “coalition” in the video. Here’s a tweet from her in response to Facebook removing the viral video:

Immanuel is a pediatrician and exorcist who received her medical degree in Nigeria and currently operates a medical practice out of a strip mall in the US.

She believes that ovarian cysts, infertility and other reproductive-related medical conditions are caused by demons and witches raping people in their dreams and that the medical community uses alien DNA to treat patients. 

FFS y’all, she said the Magic 8-Ball was a psychic device that turned children into witches and, in 2015, claimed the people ruling the US were “half-human, half-ET” reptilian hybrids from another planet.

These people are idiots who’ve chosen to disregard their Hippocratic Oath for political clout. Hydroxychloroquine is a malaria medication that has been proven dangerous for use as a treatment for COVID-19. 

The bottom line: This isn’t a “both sides” issue. Hydroxychloriquine is dangerous and ignoring legitimate PEER-REVIEWED science for religious mythology is lunacy. 

You’re either on the same side as the people who literally believe Joe Biden and Barack Obama are aliens from another planet and that demons rape women in their dreams to make them infertile, or you’re on the side of people who aren’t stark raving mad. 

By the numbers

Last week we looked at how deadly COVID-19 is, so far, compared to previous pandemics and outbreaks.

This week, we’re going to compare COVID-19 to Breitbart because we’re tired of comparing things in juxtaposition. Sources: (Worldometers, Washington Post)

  • COVID-19 – 16.7M infected, 660K deceased between December 2019 and July 2020.
  • Breitbart News: 17.3 million readers in 2015, 4.6 million in 2019 with a 90% decrease in advertising revenue.

Tweet thread of the week

Credit: Twitter

What to read

? Here’s some simple tests you can do to make sure your mask works. (The Conversation)
? I kid you not, a scientist wrote about how we might have neanderthal DNA that makes us more susceptible to COVID-19 and that means robots might take over humanity. Seriously, check it out.
? Hydroxychloroquine fails to pass yet another stage 3 clinical trial. (MedCityNews)
? We thought AI was supposed to save us from stuff like global pandemics. Here’s what went wrong.
? There’s a vaccine on the horizon. We’d better get ready for the pro-diseasers (also known as anti-vaxxers) and their stupid pseudoscience. (Vox)
? Donald Trump Jr. and Breitbart both got their Twitter privileges temporarily suspended over that stupid video. (Washington Post)


In this little section, we’d like to talk about the tech that’s getting us through the pandemic. This week, I’m back on video games.I know, I know, we talk about gaming a lot in this newsletter. But that’s because we’re all stuck inside. What else are we going to do?

Rather than gush about any specific game, I wanted to shout out Ubisoft’s UPlay Plus. I found out a couple of days ago that UPlay Plus had a seven day free trial. I’d never tried it because, frankly, it’s too expensive. $15 a month is more than Netflix or Xbox Game Pass. I just can’t justify that kind of expense for a catalog limited to one publisher.

Or can I?

Here’s the thing, I love Ubisoft games. I enjoy the Far Cry, Assasin’s Creed, and Ghost Recon franchises immensely and the company’s back catalog has a lot of hits in it. Unfortunately this means I’ve already played the majority of the games on offer for the subscription.

However, I haven’t played the super deluxe, fully packed with DLC, extra goodies versions of most of the games. And even the ones I did (Far Cry 5 Deluxe was a must-have for me at launch), I played on consoles.

But I just happen to have a badass Alienware tower with an RTX graphics card that chomps through modern AAA titles on Ultra settings with ease and a fancy new fiber-optic internet connection that can download a 70GB game in under an hour.

I spent my weekend playing dozens of Ubisoft titles including AC: Odyssey, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, and Far Cry New Dawn, complete with all the DLCs and expansions. It was glorious!

I’m not sure if I’ll be keeping the service because of the cost. Then again, it’s about the same as a premium channels add-on for a cable package and I still haven’t gotten around to playing a few titles I’m itching to dive into. And back in the day it was nothing to spend 15 bucks at Blockbuster to rent three games for a weekend. I can always cancel after the first month right?

I’m just not sure what to do.

This sounds like a job for the Coronavirus in Context readers and our weekly poll (you can participate by signing up for the newsletter here).


We’ll be back next Tuesday. And every Tuesday after that until the pandemic ends. Because we’re all in this together.

In the meantime, here’s a few links to help you manage the misinformation as the disease hits its peak:

The Center for Disease Control’s myth-busting section on COVID-19

After Recovering from COVID-19, are you immune?

John Hopkins Univeristy COVID-19 myth vs fact

Don’t believe everything you read on social media. Stay healthy and take care of each other,


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