Huge crowds packing cinemas for Barbie and Oppenheimer could spark another Covid outbreak, a top virology professor has warned.
Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and a prominent advocate for strong action against Covid infections, acknowledged that his warning would not be well received.
‘Not to be a Debbie downer…but anyone worried about the covid bump post-barbieboxoffice? Or post-op?’ he asked his 465,000 Twitter followers.
‘We’ll probably never know because no one seems to be keeping track of such things anymore. Keep in touch with your boosters and find a pink N-95 or KN-95 if you can.’
Dr Peter Hotez said he knew she was a ‘Debbie Downer’, but warned people if they were packing cinemas to see Barbie or Oppenheimer.
Barbie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling is the biggest movie of the year so far
Oppenheimer, starring Cillian Murphy, also drew huge crowds in movie theaters
Both the films opened this weekend to great acclaim and huge crowds.
Barbie had the biggest opening of the year, taking in $162 million at the box office, while Oppenheimer took in $82 million.
Cinema attendances increased last week due to a slight increase in Covid hospitalizations, but their levels were well below a year ago.
During the week of July 15, a total of 7,109 people were hospitalized with Covid nationwide. By comparison, 45,000 people were admitted this week last year.
Hotez made headlines last month in June when long-shot Democrat presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a noted anti-vaxxer, challenged the doctor to a debate on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
This led Rogan to challenge Hotez to the debate on his podcast.
Hotez said he would happily appear on Rogan’s show, but not engage in a circus fight with Kennedy.
The suggestion of a Hotez-Kennedy debate sparked an online frenzy, and saw Hotez challenged at home by Alex Rosen, a self-proclaimed ‘independent journalist’ who works on a site called ‘Predator Poachers’.
Rosen, after exchanging pleasantries, asked Hotez why he wouldn’t debate Kennedy.
‘Oh come on, it’s harassment,’ replied Hotez.
‘I’m just curious, nothing hostile, just curious,’ Rosen replied.
Hotez said he was pushed out of his home after a right-wing commenter posted a video confronting him
Hotez says he hasn’t made a decision, Rogan says ‘just invited me, so we’ll see. We will think about it.’
After repeating he felt Hotez should be debating, Rosen asked: ‘What do you say to people who think they’ve been injured by vaccines?’
Hotez, clearly upset, starts to close his gate and walk away from Rosen.
“A couple of anti-vaxxers pushed me in front of my house for debating RFK Jr,” he tweeted.
‘Of course I was looking at my Sunday best in our brutal heatwave. What is it human?’
In an interview on Rogan’s podcast, Kennedy repeated his debunked claim that common childhood vaccines cause autism, which Hotez called “just terrifying.”
Hotez added: ‘It’s clear that many people actually believe this nonsense.’
Rogan fired back with a challenge: ‘Peter, if you claim that what RFK Jr. is saying is ‘misinformation’ I am offering you $100,000.00 to the charity of your choice if you are willing to debate him on my show without a deadline.’
Hotez responded to Rogan’s interview with Kennedy who objected to vaccine concerns and called it ‘just horrible’ as he lamented ‘it’s clear that a lot of people believe this bullshit.’
RFK Jr. appeared on Rogan’s podcast, repeating his debunked claim that common childhood vaccines cause autism.
In a series of tweets, Hotez hinted at his willingness to appear on Rogan’s podcast, which reaches millions of viewers on Spotify.
‘I am happy to be here to have a meaningful discussion. I respect you and your grief and I don’t want an adversarial relationship. I think we can make some progress,’ Hotez tweeted.
‘And I’m open to different options, but being pressured to give you an answer on Twitter, right now, with ‘take it or leave it’ demands is not how I do it. Frankly, I don’t think it would be in your best interest,’ he wrote.
Kennedy also signaled his desire to join, tweeting: ‘Peter. Let’s finally have the respectful, natural, informed debate the American people deserve.’
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