Alex Berenson on the State of Covid and Free Speech in America

13 May 2022

CLAY: Alex Berenson is with us. He used to be on Twitter. He now is banned there. We talked about some of the drama surrounding Elon Musk’s potential acquisition of Twitter in the first hour of the show. But, Alex, first of all, thanks for coming on. Second, I saw something that my jaw dropped, and I mentioned it to close the first hour.

CNN wrote an article acknowledging that many of the people dying with covid now have received both of the covid shots, initial covid shots. In fact, they said almost half of the people dying with covid in January were double vaccinated for covid. I don’t know if you read that article, but I imagine that the fact that CNN is now writing this is just further validation and vindication for the surrounding covid vaccine story.

BERENSON: Yes. I mean, you know, people are starting to admit this, and, honestly, those numbers are only going up. You know, I had stated that I’m gonna put out on my Substack very soon. One of the things that is happening, by the way, is because the data is looking worse and worse for the vaccines, more jurisdictions, more states and countries are starting to not report it. They’re starting to not report these sort of weekly or monthly numbers. I mean, in the U.S. the data has always been kind of scattershot.

But, even in a place like the U.K., they stopped reporting it, but there are still places that are reporting it. And, for example, in British Columbia — where there’s very sort of up-to-date data — almost everyone who dies has been vaccinated and boosted in the last month. I’m sorry, not January, but in the last month. Fewer than 10% of the people who died were unvaccinated. So, the vaccine —

CLAY: Wow.

BERENSON: Yeah. Yeah. It’s amazing, actually. And so vaccine efficacy looks like it’s pretty close to zero right now against infection and against serious outcomes for Omicron. Omicron… You know, listen. The vaccines were always not what they were cracked up to be, but Omicron appears to have made them basically useless.

CLAY: So, if the vaccines are truly basically useless, what does that tell us about where we are headed in the summer and the fall of 2022, from your perspective?

BERENSON: You know, that’s a really good question, and I’m not… I’m not gonna try to duck it. I don’t think we know, because it depends on two crucial things. One is, are we gonna get another variant that’s worse than Omicron? Omicron isn’t that dangerous, right? It is very virulent, but it isn’t… I’m sorry, it is very contagious but it isn’t that virulent. So, you see these numbers saying that, you know, a huge number of children, for example, have antibodies now in the United States, in the U.K. (crosstalk) —

CLAY: 75% is the CDC data.

BERENSON: That’s right. So, do those kids have protection now? What about adults? Do we have protection? And I think that question is also very complicated because for people who aren’t vaccinated you probably have pretty good post-infection protection. But the vaccinations may actually hamper that process. You have fewer anti-N antibodies, which is a different part of the virus, actually.

And not having those may hurt you going forward. So that’s a question we don’t know. And then the other question we don’t know, which is potentially more important is, how bad is the next variant gonna be? Will it be like Omicron, or will it be, you know, more like Delta where it is actually somewhat more dangerous to people? And I don’t think anybody can know that either.

What I will… Here’s the two points that I would make that I can say with certainty. One is the people who should be doing the research about this are very incentivized not to do it, right, because it all comes down to the same question, which is: How badly have the vaccines failed us? And that is a question that they don’t want answer. So unless things get really bad, what you can sort of expect is the data is gonna…

You know, the data spigot is slowly gonna turn off. And so, you know, and the second question is, like, why can’t we have an honest conversation? I mean, it’s related, but why can’t we have an honest conversation about this? And, again, the answer is the same. An honest conversation would acknowledge that the vaccines basically have failed. But here’s the thing, Clay. You’ve seen the reality of this in that almost nobody is getting a second booster, a fourth shot.

You’re seeing the reality in the idea of vaccine mandates for kids is completely off the table. So, this is — and, by the way, the stock prices, you know, especially at Moderna, which is sort of the purest vaccine company… I mean, these companies, Moderna a couple days ago was near — was at a one-year low. So — and you’re seeing occasion you’re seeing hundreds of millions of vaccine doses in cold storage in the United States. People just are not getting vaccinated right now.

CLAY: So, Johnson & Johnson… We’re talking to Alex Berenson who has been one of the foremost purveyors of what I would say is truth surrounding this covid disinformation brigade. Johnson & Johnson essentially pulled. The FDA essentially pulled the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that was one-shot version that tens of millions of people got.

BERENSON: Correct. Yes.

CLAY: Is that totally reflected in the data, that the J&J is worse than Moderna or Pfizer, or is this like a finger in the dam to acknowledge the J&J issues while pretending that Moderna and Pfizer there are no issues?

BERENSON: I think it’s the latter. There’s no evidence that J&J is broadly more dangerous than Moderna or Pfizer, and, in fact, as a Danish scientist pointed out a few days ago — and this was an amazing thing — if you look at the data from the clinical trials, right, which is the best data, it’s the only clean data we have — and, unfortunately, you know, clinical trials were cut short last year when the companies gave everybody in the placebo arm the vaccine.

We don’t have clean clinical trial anymore but if you go back and you look at the initial cut of data that was clean, there was no… There was no advantage in all-cause mortality on the vaccine side in the Moderna and Pfizer trials. So, in other words, if you got the Moderna vaccine or if you got the Pfizer vaccine, you were just as likely to die of anything — of a heart attack or covid or a car accident or anything else — as if you got a placebo.

That was not true of J&J or the AstraZeneca vaccine, which works like the J&J vaccine. In those, there was actually a notable advantage for people who got the vaccine. In other words, the vaccine actually seemed to protect people from dying, broadly, which is what you would hope a vaccine would do. Now, we don’t know what that really means. We don’t know why that would have been.

It might have been a statistical anomaly. It might have been… We don’t know, okay. (laughs) But when you hear that, when you hear, “Hey, the vaccine actually seemed to be protective for J&J but not for — you know, not in the AstraZeneca — sorry, not in the Moderna or Pfizer trials,” you say to yourself, “Why would they pull the J&J vaccine and let the others continue?” I don’t know.

CLAY: So how would the media be covering as we approach a million deaths with covid, which is its own story. And I keep saying “with covid” because obviously many of these people dying have a variety of comorbidities and may have died otherwise and we’re now in three years’ worth of tallying all these numbers.

BERENSON: Yeah. Yeah.

CLAY: If Donald Trump had won reelection in 2020 and were still in office and everything else is the exact same — in terms of the covid shots that are being delivered, Johnson & Johnson be pulled by the FDA — how would the media be covering, in your opinion, these covid shots if Trump were in office compared to Biden?

BERENSON: You know, that is a great question. I think you would be hearing “rushed trials.” You would be hearing, “The vaccines did not work as promised.” You would be hearing, “We’ve spent, you know, billions and billions of dollars on vaccines that look like they will never be used.” You would be hearing, you know, “There’s a promise that these will be updated quickly against new variants and that didn’t work.”

You’d be hearing, “We don’t know what the long-term effects on immunity are, because, you know, we see that people don’t seem to be developing broad immunity afterwards.” You’d be hearing, “Why are there so many reinfections!” You’d be hearing, “Why is it now that every time somebody gets a fourth dose, they… You know, they immediately seem to come down with Omicron?” I mean, I think that perspective… You’ve been hearing every question that I’m asking! (laughing)

CLAY: Yeah.

BERENSON: I would not be the only reporter in the United States asking (crosstalk).

CLAY: The media would use the covid shots as a proxy to attack Donald Trump if he were still in office and everything else were or weren’t the exact same. Instead, the media uses the covid shots as a proxy to attack people who supported Donald Trump, right, who may be choosing not to get the covid shot.

BERENSON: (laughing)

CLAY: It’s really remarkable to think about, and I think it’s important to bring that to light. Okay.

BERENSON: Yes. Yes.

CLAY: One other thing I’m curious about –.

BERENSON: You would hear, most of all… You said it, actually. You’d hear, “Why is it that we’re in year three of this and there’s a million deaths with/from covid?” “Why have we had more deaths post-vaccines than pre-?” That’s what you’d be hearing. Sorry.

CLAY: Yeah. And, frankly, nobody is blaming Joe Biden for a million covid deaths. Everybody blamed Donald Trump for a couple of hundred thousand covid deaths and now we’ve got hundreds of thousands of in more and nobody’s like, “Oh, this is Joe Biden’s fault.” They tried to hang that to Trump to cost him the 2020 election.

Now, China is still staying committed, Alex, to the Covid Zero policy, and their Covid Zero policy has obviously led to Draconian lockdowns in Shanghai, there’s been fears about what might happen in Beijing. How tenable is this Covid Zero policy of Chairman Xi in China? And where in the world is that heading, so far as you can tell?

BERENSON: I mean, that’s a great question. A month ago, I would have said it’s impossible. You know, Omicron is just too… You know, is too contagious. They appear to be able to knock it down in, you know, in short term, you know, with the Draconian lockdowns. I mean, cases have gone down. You have not seen —

CLAY: Assuming they’re being honest about the numbers, which is always a caveat I think we have to toss out.

BERENSON: Right. But, you know, if they’re not, then why would they have announced what had happened in Shanghai to begin with?

CLAY: Yeah, right.

BERENSON: So, it’s weird. I mean, I think it’s a terrible strategy, obviously. It’s a terrible strategy in general. It’s certainly a terrible strategy with Omicron, which is less dangerous. And at some point, unless you’re gonna live like this forever, you’re gonna… You’re gonna have to, you know, take the restrictions off and let people get this and live with it. But they don’t…

Look, I have no idea what goes through the mind of a dictator. I have no idea why, you know, Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine. I have no idea why they’re doing what they’re doing. But they do appear committed to it, and I have to say that what happened in Shanghai is likely to just reinforce that because they did knock it down.

CLAY: What else should…? Let me ask you this. I’ll close with a covid question. I’m curious, Elon Musk came out and said he thinks Donald Trump should be allowed back on Twitter. I would presume that that worker well for your likelihood of being allowed back on Twitter as well. Have you gotten any indications? I know there’s a lot of still turmoil about whether Elon Musk will buy Twitter effectively and the stock price is jockeying a lot today. Have you gotten any indication that you would be allowed back on Twitter in an Elon Musk-owned company?

BERENSON: No, I have not, and I have not… You know, he has not contacted me. You know, I’ve sued Twitter.

CLAY: Yes.

BERENSON: And my lawsuit is proceeding. You know, my lawsuit survived the motion to dismiss, which is something not a lot of people know because the media essentially blacked it out. I mean, the mainstream media has refused to report on the fact that, you know, Trump v. Twitter got dismissed, but Berenson v. Twitter did not, and so I’m gonna get discovery that’s gonna allow me to understand how Twitter, you know, worked with or didn’t work with the government to ban me.

CLAY: Yeah, fascinating.

BERENSON: So, I mean, I’m very excited to know — you know, to have that chance. And I don’t know what the discovery will say. That’s why it’s called “discovery.” But we’ll find out. So, I mean, from my point of view is an even bigger issue here which is that my free speech rights should not be dependent on Elon Musk, right? Even if his —

CLAY: Yeah.

BERENSON: You know, Tesla does a lot of business in China. You know, Elon… Look, let’s assume the best for Elon. Let’s assume that he actually means everything he says about free speech. It doesn’t matter. That’s my right as an American, you know? California law, the California constitution. There’s lots of reasons that I should be allowed to speak freely on this incredibly important platform. And that’s what I’m fighting for. And, you know, this lawsuit is moving forward, and we’ll see what happens.

CLAY: Okay. You mentioned the data that you’re gonna share at your Substack which I would encourage people to subscribe and/or read. You can read Alex Berenson there. What else do you think people should know about the latest in data and/or discussion as it pertains to covid right now?

BERENSON: I just say, I mean, the number one thing is this idea that the vaccines really are… You know, they have — they are demonstrating — zero efficacy. Certainly, zero efficacy against infection and transmission. If anything, negative efficacy. And, you know, I mean, I don’t think anybody who listens to you is lining up at this point for a booster or a second booster. But I don’t know why anybody would do that. And so, you know, that’s I think where we are it happen it hasn’t changed that much. We will see what happens this summer in the southern states, if there’s another southern surge and what that looks like.

CLAY: And, by the way, just to continue to reiterate, you’ve got young kids; I’ve got young kids. We haven’t gotten them covid shots. It would be crazy in your opinion based on the data that you look at to be getting young kids covid shots, particularly ’cause 65% of them have already had it.

BERENSON: Crazy! Crazy. It is — and that is a great point. And, you know, if you go on Twitter, epidemiology Twitter you see these people, you know, “We can’t wait for the FDA, you know, to approve the shots for kids under 5.” Look even if that happens, I can tell you, it’s gonna be like 5 or 10% of the country that does that. You know, they’re gonna be all the people, you know, who work for the New York Times, you know. So you’ll hear about it, but don’t kid yourself. You know, don’t be fooled. Like, no one is getting their young children vaccinated against this. Nobody with any sense.

CLAY: As well they shouldn’t. Alex Berenson, we appreciate the time. Go check out the Substack for Alex. He does phenomenal work there. We’ll talk to you again soon. That was Alex.



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