Ben Garrison, a right-wing cartoonist known for his opposition to vaccines and his extremely flattering drawings of former President Donald Trump, told Gizmodo late Sunday that he contracted covid-19 and has been sick for about two weeks. But allegedly getting covid hasn’t changed Garrison’s mind about modern medical science.
Garrison, who lives in Montana, believes that he got covid-19 while dining out at a restaurant a couple of weeks ago. Montana has seen a disturbing rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with about 900 new cases each day.
“Yes, it’s definitely Covid and we’ve had all the symptoms. My wife and [I] went out with a couple to a restaurant and the next day all four of us were sick. One of us went to see a doctor and was told she had Covid, and that was the clincher,” Garrison told Gizmodo via email. (Garrison has been banned from Twitter for supporting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.)
“We’re taking Ivermectin and various vitamins including a lot of Zinc,” Garrison continued, explaining what he’s doing to treat the disease. The cartoonist also notes he’s taking beet root juice. None of this has been proven to treat or prevent covid-19, with monoclonal antibodies and vaccines being the only real ways to fight this pandemic, which is still raging in many parts of the world.
Garrison has promoted ivermectin in his various cartoons, including the illustration above, where a horse is seen kicking Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. The cartoon horse appears to have a “cents” symbol on his hooves as he shouts, “get some horse sense!” and kicks Dr. Fauci, who’s holding a droopy needle with dollar signs.
Ivermectin has not been shown to help treat covid-19. While ivermectin is being studied as a potential covid-19 treatment, much of such research is plagued with alleged fraud, errors, oversight, and bad data. In proper doses, the drug is relatively safe and a useful antiparasitic. Its popular use is for treating parasites in livestock such as horses. Recently, some people, particularly those influenced by Facebook misinformation hubs, have taken the livestock versions of the drug in a mistaken belief that it can cure or prevent covid-19, leading to ivermectin’s association with horses. Garrison is clearly referencing this with his recent cartoon.
With 1,440 cases this year so far, ivermectin poisoning has more than tripled since 2019 and 2020, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. The New York Times reported Sunday that in New Mexico, two people have died; their deaths are being attributed to the use of ivermectin instead of proven covid-19 treatments. State health officials say that ivermectin caused kidney failure in one of the patients.
Garrison told Gizmodo that he and his wife are not feeling well and that he’s completely lost his sense of taste and smell. Garrison seems to believe that he and his wife are struggling to overcome the disease because they’re in their mid-60s.
“Both Tina and I feel slightly better after two weeks, but it has been rough. I lost my taste and smell as well as desire to eat any kind of food. I lost 15 pounds as a result. Young people tend to bounce back more quickly, but we’re in our mid-60s,” Garrison wrote.
When Gizmodo asked Garrison whether he’d been vaccinated against covid-19, he repeated many of the same conspiracy theories that appear in his cartoons.
“We will never take their foul spike protein-producing jabs, which are neither safe nor effective. They’re not real vaccines. They’re gene therapy,” Garrison wrote in an email to Gizmodo.
The various covid-19 vaccines that have been approved for use in the U.S. by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, have been shown to be safe and effective.
“15,000 have died as a result of the Covid vaccines and hundreds of thousands others have had serious side effects. The mainstream media will not mention a word of this—not one peep. Instead we get the ’safe and effective’ malarky over and over as well as government pushers urging us to take the free poison. Don’t do it. The Pfizer CEO certainly won’t. Bill Gates and his family won’t, either,” Garrison claimed.
Severe side effects to the covid-19 vaccines, such as death, are extremely rare and any American is more likely to die from covid-19 than vaccines. Garrison’s contention that the CEO of Pfizer won’t get vaccinated is simply untrue. Bill Gates has also been vaccinated against covid-19, despite conspiracy theorists claiming he won’t get the jab over fears about side effects.
Garrison says he’d never visit a hospital to treat his covid-19. (Last week, NBC News reported that anti-vaccine Facebook groups have been influencing members to not seek hospital treatment for covid-19 and even instructed them to pull their sick family members out of ICU.)
“I would never go to a hospital with Covid. Robert David Steele did it a few weeks ago and they killed him. The hospitals get extra money for Covid death reports, which is necessary to keep fear ramped up,” Garrison claimed in an email to Gizmodo.
The man Garrison is referring to, Robert David Steele, was a conspiracy theorist who frequently appeared on InfoWars with Alex Jones. The 69-year-old Steele believed some incredibly bizarre things, including that NASA had imprisoned children on Mars to work as slaves. Steele, who claimed to be a former CIA officer, reportedly died of covid-19 in August.
Garrison insists that the entire covid-19 pandemic response is really about government control, not public health—a recurring mantra in the covid hoaxer community. He repeated his false claim that vaccines don’t prevent covid-19, ad nauseam. “This is about vaccine passports, tracking, government control and tyranny,” Garrison added.
The U.S. is currently averaging over 119,000 new cases each day and over 2,000 new deaths. And with only 55.9% of the population fully vaccinated, the disease is likely to keep circulating through the population during the winter.