Dennis Prager, one of America’s most prominent conservative pundits, announced Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 after intentionally attempting to infect himself in order to “achieve natural immunity” against the virus.
The Jewish talk-show host and founder of PragerU – a website that produces ultraconservative short-form videos – bragged about getting infected with the virus, whose severity he has long downplayed despite it killing 4.9 million people worldwide, including more than 725,000 in the United States.
Prager asserted that it was “infinitely preferable to have natural immunity than vaccine immunity, and that is what I have hoped for the entire time.” He added that he had “engaged with strangers, constantly hugging them, taking photos with them knowing that I was making myself very susceptible to getting COVID – which is, indeed, as bizarre as it sounded, what I wanted in the hope that I would achieve natural immunity and be taken care of by therapeutics.
“That is exactly what has happened,” he continued. “It should have happened to the great majority of Americans,” he said, saying he was currently taking monoclonal antibodies as well as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, both of which have proven ineffective in treating the disease.
“There’s no argument for young people to get vaccinated, none whatsoever,” Prager said.
Several high-profile conservative pundits have died of COVID after publicly deriding the vaccine in recent months. Marc Bernier (who called himself “Mr. Anti-Vax”), Dick Farrel and Phil Valentine all passed away in August, while Bob Enyart died last month.
Commenting on his own diagnosis, Prager attacked the media for its reporting on their deaths, saying: “Let’s say for a moment [that] I died of COVID. That would make national headlines. Another unvaccinated talk show host dies of COVID. … There will be zero reporting, however, [stating] unvaccinated talk show host gets COVID and is fine. Zero. So just know, the lying media lie by omission as much as they lie by commission. It’s no news if I don’t die and if I do well.”
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Last year, CNBC reported that when asked what would happen if the United States attempted to reach herd immunity against COVID without using vaccines, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the “death toll would be enormous.”
“If everyone contracted it, even with the relatively high percentage of people without symptoms ... a lot of people are going to die,” the senior U.S. health official asserted.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in August unvaccinated people had an 11.3 times greater risk of dying from COVID than their fully vaccinated counterparts.
In Israel, unvaccinated adults – who make up only 10 percent of the eligible population – now account for the majority of infections, severe cases and fatalities.
Experts generally agree that recovery provides good protection over time against COVID, especially against severe illness. However, this immunity began to wane during the latest wave in Israel, either because of the time that had passed since recovery or because the delta variant is more infectious. And though there are questions about how protected recovered patients are, many experts agree that a single vaccine dose increases their protection level.
However, Ars Technica recently reported that research has “consistently shown that immune responses from natural infections are extremely variable, thus unreliable. Vaccines, on the other hand, have repeatedly been proven to generate highly protective immune responses.”