Alex Berenson: It’s Just Another Pandemic Monday
29 Nov 2021
CLAY: We are joined now by Alex Berenson. His new book, Pandemia, is coming out this week. He’s been on with us quite a bit. Alex, thanks for joining us and let’s dive right into it. Are you currently curled up in the fetal position in your hazmat suit with 18 different masks on over the latest variant from South Africa, or is this more covid fear porn?
BERENSON: (laughing) How did you know? I’m in the closet. I’m in the basement. No. This is… Look, unfortunately, it looks — and I hate to be this cynical and I hate to be this dismissive of the health authorities, but they’ve earned this. This looks like a joke. Okay, the South Africans — and, frankly, it’s not a joke. It looks like an effort to sort of try to get people to get their boosters because booster demand is flatlining.
And first dose demand is flatlining and the vaccine mandate is sort of on the ropes and it looks like a pretty desperate effort, because if you look at what the South Africans — who are the ones who actually have been treating people who have this variant — are saying, “Yes, it’s very transmissible, but it looks actually much milder than others.”
CLAY: We would want this to spread widely.
BERENSON: That’s right. It could be the final evolution of this. We don’t know, okay? It’s very early. Okay? And perhaps there’s a world in which it all goes dead and it’s not very transmissible it’s equally or more pathogenic than the Delta variant or other variants. But we certainly don’t know that. It doesn’t look that way, and so you really have to ask yourself:
“What was behind this sudden coordinated global panic?” Certainly, it looks to me like it was the boosters. People don’t want to get boosters, vaccine efficacy is failing, this is a way to make an excuse for that, and we should all be very cynical. And, by the way, stock market went down on Friday. It’s up today. So clearly the market is saying it doesn’t think there’s much here.
BUCK: Alex, it’s Buck. It has been a couple days.
BUCK: Thanks for being back. Good to talk to you. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving. What are we seeing now? The term “breakthrough” doesn’t seem to get used very much anymore in this country for cases. Are there numbers? Are there official numbers on how effective the vaccines are after six months and how many breakthrough cases we have? Because it feels like we should have a lot of that data, but I don’t see it. I’m looking around for further clarity on this. I mean, essentially at what stage of the vaccine plateau or dip are we?
BERENSON: That’s a great question. My best guess — and some people have actually been saying this and I just Substacked it in the last few minutes — is that we’re rolling off vaccine efficacy right now. The peak vaccine months were February through May, and we’re now six months out, which means six months out from May, more than six months out from February.
That means that those people are losing any protection against infection or transmission, if you believe the U.K. and Swedish and Israeli data. Our data is terrible, but those countries have pretty good data, and it shows that essentially protection goes to zero against infection and transmission. And so I think that’s why — or that’s one reason why — there’s this desperate push for boosters, because the Israeli data also shows that if you give people boosters, you temporarily pump up their antibodies and you get some protection back for a meter of months.
Now, it’s completely unclear that that’s worth the risk of boosters, the risk of long-term impacts from getting your body on the cycle, but the health authorities clearly don’t care about that right now. All they care about is if they don’t get people boosted, the numbers for December, January, February, are gonna look terrible, and everyone is gonna wonder — even the stupidest people in the world are gonna wonder — “What have we been doing the last year?”
BUCK: What is the Fauci plan, by the way? What do you think? I ask people this now because it’s so clear, it seems like “everyone gets the shot” has to be plan including the children. We played NIH Collins before, the director of the NIH saying, “Look at kids in the ICU,” as if that’s a real explanation. What is the Fauci plan as you see it at this point for America to deal with covid? I don’t just mean the next two months. I mean the next year.
BERENSON: Why would you think they have a plan that goes out more than two months? I think they’re hoping to get to this Pfizer drug which we’ve talked about which may be effective. Look, I’m gonna talk about my book here for a minute, and the reason I’m gonna talk about it is when I was writing Pandemia, and when you read the book, it really does catch the last 18-24 months.
And one of the things that became clear to me is they’ve been wrong over and over again, okay, and everyone knows it, and the number… They’ve been wrong about so many things but the thing they’ve been so provably wrong about that was so important — and I’m gonna tell you, I was right about this — was school closures. The schools should never have been closed, and that was obvious as early as May 2020 okay? And I’m not saying this in hindsight.
I said it at the time. Keep the schools open. It is wrong. Kids are very, very low risk from this. We know this. They don’t spread it to teachers. They don’t give it to adults. They get it from adults. They should not be penalized. And all these people, all these people on the left, all these health authorities, everyone in the media, practically, said, “You want to kill grandma!” I got called horrible things on Twitter and off. Okay?
And guess what? We’re 18 months later and that is the consensus. The consensus is the schools should never have been closed, that we denied kids a year of schooling, we took advantage of them; it was wrong. Okay. Has anybody been punished in any way? Well, I’ll tell you who’s been punished. The governor of Virginia is a Republican or will be Republican because of this. So the voters know.
But the media and the public health authorities and the Democratic establishment have just pretended this didn’t happen, and I think that’s… I don’t know what’s gonna happen in the year, 18 months with the vaccine. But there’s certainly a world in which this all just kind of goes away and we just pretend that we didn’t try to get the whole world to get these shots.
The efficacy just goes to zero, and there’s some kind of halfway decent therapeutics out there, and this just goes away, ’cause that’s what happened with schools, and it’s kind of what’s happened with lockdowns in the United States. Nobody is seriously talking about lockdown again. So when I wrote Pandemia, it was stunning to me how wrong they’ve been on just about everything and how no one has called them on it.
CLAY: Alex Berenson with us now. We’ve called them on it on this show. You’ve called them on it, which is one reason you’re not allowed to be on Twitter anymore. When you look ahead, Alex, I’m glad that you’re writing your book because I think it’s so significant to start to put all of these failures together for the public record to be written in the years ahead.
CLAY: Right now, we’re still in the Joe Biden “if you wear a mask, if you get vaccinated, this thing is gonna go away.” Is actually natural immunity going to be the savior here in that so many people have had this virus that the number of people that can continue to spread it are going to naturally be diminishing because of the massive spread? Is that actually gonna be the savior more than the vaccines, maybe?
BERENSON: It certainly looks that way. I mean, there’s two things. There’s natural immunity and there’s the fact that the virus should — quote-unquote, “should” — tend to become more transmissible but less virulent, more like a cold.
CLAY: Which is what could be happening in South Africa in an ideal way, right?
BERENSON: That’s right. That’s exactly right. If what the South African was saying is true, that is what’s happening. You don’t know yet. But that… Yes. So those two things. Here’s the one potential problem. If the vaccines don’t just sort of cause their own immunity to wane in a few months after the antibodies wane, but if they actually interfere with the development of your own natural immunity following infection, then we could have this large group of people who are gonna be more vulnerable to this than they otherwise would be.
I’m not saying we know that. We don’t know that. I’m just saying there’s a little evidence that that’s a risk. But barring that, yes, everybody’s gonna again corona. Many, many, many people in the United States and around the world have already gotten it. Those people should have good natural immunity now.
BUCK: What do you think…? We’re speaking to Alex Berenson. His book, Pandemia, is out this week. Alex has been on the front lines and willing to say things that have proven true on covid when people were literally yelling things at him like, “You want grandparents to die!” I’ve had the same phenomenon. Alex, I’m worried that they’re gonna rewrite this.
You mentioned the school situation. I think they’re gonna be furiously rewriting. The moment that this really just fades — and who knows when that will be, but it will come — they’re going to be acting like everything they did was brilliant and amazing, and Fauci is gonna walk around saying that he saved millions of lives. I just want you to react to what you think when you hear this guy say in a nationally televised interview that he is science.
BERENSON: (laughing) He doesn’t even understand what science is, if he says that, okay? Science is a process. It’s a process of discovery, a process of having theories, testing them, and seeing if they’re right or wrong. And science is a tool, too, okay? I’ve said for a year and a half. Oppenheimer made the atomic bomb, right — Oppenheimer and his scientists — but Truman decided to drop it. It was a political decision, and it was a military decision.
Science provides the tools. Science can say, “Hey, we think masks work really well” or “they don’t work really well.” But it is up to us as a people and to our leaders — the ones we decide to lead us — to make the decision, “Hey, it makes sense to make everybody wear a mask, or it doesn’t,” and that has also been lost from the beginning of this, and it’s one thing I write about in Pandemia. The scientists shouldn’t be in charge. It is not their role and we’ve sort of forgotten that.
CLAY: The masking and the school closures and the vaccine, how does this all end? Last question for you. This is the question that book and I have been debate on the show and talking about with our listeners for a long time. How does this all end? How do we go back to normal? When are people not gonna be wearing masks on airplanes? What is the time frame still?
BERENSON: I think a lot of it has ended. I don’t wear the mask on the subway anymore when I’m in New York City and nobody says anything to me. I think a lot of people have gone back to normal. If the vaccines are merely useless in the long run and not actually dangerous. Let’s just hope that effectively —
CLAY: We’re hoping now that they’re useless.
BERENSON: That’s right. We’re hoping they’re useless. Then it will just end. Everyone will get it and we may see a less dangerous, more transmissible strain, and the therapeutics will continue to improve, and Anthony Fauci will say, “I did this with the vaccines.” He will be the equivalent of the rooster crowing at sunrise and thinking he made the sunrise. In fact, he’d just been in the way and made it worse for a year and a half. But I think we’d all take that on Team Reality right now, right? Let’s just have this end. That’s sort of my hope at the end of Pandemia that we just all walk away.
BUCK: Alex, any major concerns from you about where this all goes?
BERENSON: Well, yeah, there’s political concerns. You see in Europe they’re pushing lockdowns, and I do think there’s a risk that the vaccines actually are driving some long-term biological processes that are worrisome.
BUCK: Oh, man. Alex, even bringing that up, the left gets… Oof! Oof! They get very upset about that.
BERENSON: I’m not saying that there’s proof, okay? I’m saying that it’s a risk worth elucidating right now. That’s what scientists should be doing, looking at this: Ruling it in, ruling it out, explaining how it might be happening. So there’s a medical risk, and a there’s risk that somehow this mutates in some terrible way, but it doesn’t actually look after a year and a half like that’s a serious risk, but it’s a risk. So those are the risks. But I guess… I don’t know. Maybe I’m just in a good mood today ’cause the book is coming out tomorrow. But I’m feeling a little more optimistic.
BUCK: I like it. I like the optimism. I’m glad that the worst-case scenarios with regard to some of this stuff have not occurred. And let’s roll with this optimism and this positivity, Alex, and tell everybody where they should get your book, Pandemia, which anybody who’s enjoyed the interviews you’ve had with this here on the show — many, many, many of them now — should definitely pick up.
BERENSON: Sure. So Pandemia is available in bookstores. It’s available on Amazon. There’s an e-book. There’s an audiobook. Buy ’em all! Buy ’em for your kids. It makes a perfect Christmas present, or it doesn’t. But buy it anyway. But no, really, guys, I love being on with you. I think those of us who see the truth have almost a responsibility to talk about this as much as we can.
BUCK: We’ve tried really hard, man. Alex, thank you so much. By the way, I’ve really appreciated you. Here in New York City in the early days of this thing, it felt like there were so few voices of sanity when we were going through absolute madness here in the early days.
BERENSON: Madness! (laughing)
BUCK: Total “Pandemia,” you could even say.
BERENSON: Pandemia — and I will say one last thing. The best thing about the book might be the cover picture which I took just left of Times Square in 2020 and is an empty street and it is amazing to me that Times Square was ever empty. That should never happen again unless it’s smallpox or something that is true a threat to us.
BUCK: Yes, like civilization ending, which is how people are reacting to this thing. Thanks so much. Alex Berenson. Pandemia is the book.
DON JR.: It’s not meant as a call just to Donald Trump. It’s meant as a call to anyone who would question, you know, the authority of so many of these unelected officials.
CLAY: Forcing people who were dying in the hospital to not be able to speak with their family members is, to me, a crime against humanity.
BUCK: The CDC failed in a way that it should be torn down to the studs, all of its leadership should be fired, it should be renamed something else.
CLAY: Wasn't it only, like, six weeks ago that Trump had supposedly grabbed the steering wheel?
BUCK: I say we take the people seriously who have been right all along instead of the people who have been wrong like Ashish Jha.