UW Professor on referring to COVID-19 as fake emergency

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Michael Palmer, an associate professor at UW, strongly believes that Canadians are blowing the global pandemic out of proportion. He referred to the pandemic as the “fake COVID emergency” in the course outline that was distributed amongst his students on Sept. 5..

The German-born associate professor of chemistry has a board certification in medical microbiology, attained from training under Sucharit Bhakdi.  Bhakdi is a renowned immunologist and bacteriologist who is strongly critical of government actions in response to COVID-19.

Palmer further elaborated on his opinions in an email to Imprint. His opinions are not endorsed by any UW Officials. On being asked why he has referred to the pandemic as a fake emergency Palmer stated, 

“The impression of a real emergency is created with flawed statistics…

… current COVID “case” bookkeeping does not use such a strict definition,” Palmer said.  

Palmer further defended his opinion by stating,  “The ultimate test for deciding whether or not COVID-19 genuinely causes deaths that would not otherwise occur is to look for an absolute increase in total mortality of all causes. Some such excess mortality occurs during each flu season, but it could in principle occur at any time if some unusually virulent pathogen were making the rounds. This number has not increased since the COVID pandemic “struck”, which further supports the contention of a false alarm.” 

On being questioned as to what would make COVID-19 a serious emergency, Palmer stated,

“I can think of no plausible scenario in which COVID-19 would turn into a serious emergency”. He further explained his stance by stating “ The risks are at this time understood well enough to justify the immediate and unconditional cancellation of any and all “response” measures that have been imposed on the general population”.

Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang from Public Health had differing opinions from Palmer.

 “COVID-19 has had impacts within our own community and when not adequately addressed, has overwhelmed healthcare systems and caused high death tolls in other countries. This is why we appreciate all the steps that our community has taken to date, and why we are asking everyone to continue to practice the recommended public health measures to help each other,.” Wang said.

When asked if his opinion impacted students, Palmer said, “They have not told me. I would like to reassure them though that I will not penalize anyone for disagreeing with me robustly and openly. When I speak my mind, I hope to encourage those who disagree with me to do likewise, and to try to prove me wrong. We need more open debate and less meek submission. I would like to thank the Imprint for permitting and encouraging the debate.”

Palmer concluded

The constant, coordinated fear-mongering on all channels is designed to scare people out of their wits, and it is working.”

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