Tragically, we now live in a time where celebrities famous for music, movies, or social media seemingly have more influence over public health than those qualified to actually give reasonable advice. Celebrities have been known to take to their large platforms to sow doubts on vaccines, 5G, climate change – even rapper B.o.B has made a concerted effort to inform everyone the Earth is flat.
If these celebs are willing to push dangerous conspiracy theories, surely they would jump immediately on any opportunity to gain knowledge and experience?
Some Russian doctors working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic are asking just that, after writing an open letter to prominent anti-vax Russian celebrities inviting them to view the devastating impacts of their claims firsthand with a tour through the hospitals' "red zones".
The letter was written by 11 prominent doctors from hospitals in Russia, as they battle COVID-19 in the midst of a devastating wave. With cases soaring as high as 39,000 per day, hospitals are struggling to provide adequate space in intensive care units. They continue to roll out their internally-developed vaccine, called Sputnik V, and have delivered over 125 million doses so far, enough to have vaccinated 43.5 percent of the population assuming all need double doses.
Targeting the most outspoken celebrities who pedal anti-vax agendas, the doctors invited them to their ward in an attempt to explain the impact of the misinformation on people’s lives.
"We are all a bit busy at the moment and you can guess why," said Denis Protsenko, chief physician at Moscow's main hospital, in the letter.
"But since many people are reading and listening to you, we will find time to arrange a tour of the 'red zones', intensive care and pathology departments for you."
The celebrities include: TV presenter Oskar Kuchera, who is well-known on social media and has cast doubt on the vaccine efficacy; leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Gennady Zyuganov, who linked the vaccine to the (unfortunately) widespread microchip conspiracy; and actor Egor Beroev, who likened vaccine passes to forcing Jewish people to wear the Star of David on their arms during the Nazi regime.
Even though the letter is rousing, a betting person would wager the anti-vaxxers will ignore it as they often do with peer-reviewed research and real-world data.
In response to the letter, the Kremlin has labelled the doctors "heroes", reports EuroNews.
Oskar Kuchera has responded to the letter in a Facebook post, where he impressively manages to both agree with the devastating threat COVID-19 represents to society but continue to oppose the vaccine, deflecting responsibility onto the Russian government and asking a flurry of long, unanswered questions. Kuchera then finishes the response with: “I have great doubts that an invitation to the "red zone" can give me answers to the questions listed above.”