The Contagion Myth: A Review

Experts won’t address alternative COVID-19 theories? Fine, I’ll do it.

What if viruses don’t actually cause diseases? That’s the premise of The Contagion Myth, a recent book from the Weston Price Foundation gaining support among COVID-19 lockdown critics — surely there’s no reason to keep us spaced apart with cloth on our faces if this new disease is something like cancer or scurvy, not something that can be spread person-to-person.

How intriguing! This book gave me much to think about. But ultimately, while it does call attention to important health findings, it fails to do what its supporters claim: debunk germ theory.

The Argument

The authors explain terrain theory, the rival to germ theory, stating that germs are an effect of disease, not the cause; when imbalanced internal systems make someone sick, the diseased tissue attracts a different set of microbes. In the case of COVID-19, what threw many people’s systems out of balance was the recent introduction of 5G.

This millimeter wave technology is what’s used in airport body scans (from which children and pregnant women are exempt, tellingly), and now it’s going to surround us while we’re already bathed in unprecedented levels of overlapping frequencies. When even Scientific American is willing to point out “We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe,” you know these concerns can’t be dismissed as just fringe “conspiracy” stuff.

Elevated radiation exposure is known to lead to flu-like symptoms, and apparently 5G tends to coincide in time and place with the worst outbreaks of COVID-19. Combine that with modern pollutants and lifestyles that make us more vulnerable to the effects of EMFs, plus the fact that “contagion” is so difficult to directly prove in a study, and the authors have plenty of reason to believe this new wave of sickness isn’t caused by a virus.

The Problems

If environmental and lifestyle factors made people vulnerable to pathogens that otherwise would not make them sick, that could be compatible with what we observe. It could explain why recent pandemics coincided with upgrades in the global electrical grid— the late 19th century influenza pandemic with the start of the grid, 1918 Spanish flu with the World War I installation of radio antennas, the 1957 Asian flu with the introduction of radar, and now perhaps the 2020 pandemic with 5G. It could explain why not everyone carrying a pathogen gets the disease, why even research studies that try to infect participants fail to give them the disease just by exposing them to the pathogen.

But to say that these environmental and lifestyle factors are the entire reason for so-called infectious disease? That’s a stronger claim, and there’s a lot that it doesn’t address.

For one, how would these pandemics ever end? The changes to the electrical grid didn’t go away. How would COVID-19 spread from an area with 5G to an area without it? How can we do “contact tracing” and speak of “superspreader” events, showing that cases are linked to exposure to someone else with the disease, never spontaneously generated within an individual? Germ theory explains this to an extent that the authors’ theory can’t.

Besides, if we accepted the authors’ standard for disproving cause and effect, we could say there’s no such thing as carcinogens. This book mentions amyl nitrite “poppers” and their link to Kaposi’s sarcoma. You could point to many people who took poppers and never developed this sarcoma, though. You even could do an experimental trial giving many people poppers and notice that none of them develop it. You could surely do the same for people exposed to asbestos, or sugar, or anything else the Weston Price Foundation claims to cause cancer. None of this would disprove the link. Cancers need a combination of factors to take root; of course some people are more susceptible than others.

(And the authors include a factoid that would be quite a zinger if it were true: on his deathbed, Louis Pasteur, father of germ theory, confessed, “The germ is nothing; the terrain is everything.” The only place this quote can be found is in other health sources against germ theory, unsourced. Official sources about Pasteur say otherwise.)

The Takeaway

The way we often speak of “germs,” it’s easy to think of them as the enemy, something to be sheltered from. But is a sterile, sanitized environment really necessary for our health? This book rightfully discusses how simple exposure to a pathogen isn’t all it takes to get sick. Disease thrives in a body that’s already unhealthy, and modern lifestyles contribute to this state. It’s possible to accept the role of the “terrain” without rejecting germ theory outright.

I understand that legitimate experts don’t want to waste their time explaining why they disagree with theories that they can see as obviously ridiculous. But many people believe alternative scientific narratives about COVID-19 shared on social media; they clearly don’t seem so ridiculous to everyone. I think these deserve to be seriously addressed. Censoring them just makes it look as if science has something to hide. There are many reasons one may be skeptical of the pandemic response, but rest assured: contagion is no myth.

Carnegie Mellon class of 2022.

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