There were many false claims made on 14th January, by Billy Te Kahika and his supporters outside the Beehive in Wellington. The most dangerous claim was that Covid-19 is no more deadly than the flu (2 million people have died worldwide at the time of writing). Among other strange things, they claimed that Jacinda Ardern is a communist who wants to keep putting New Zealand into lockdown, including organising one again on 15th January, the day after the protest.
The problem with making false claims about a deadly pandemic is, people who underestimate the danger will not only risk catching Covid-19 themselves but will wantonly take risks that impact the health of others around them.
The trouble with making predictions about specific things happening on specific days, is what to do if your prediction doesn’t come true.
We found our answer on January 15 when @nealejones shared on Twitter a screen capture of Billy Te Kahika saying “Urgent Live!! Lockdown called off because of us?”.
If that’s not a textbook example of confirmation bias, (and delusions of grandeur) I don’t know what is.
In response to the protest, Newshub writes that Dr Anna Brooks, an immunologist at the University of Auckland’s Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery spoke to Magic Talk, saying it was “somewhat frustrating” to see people who have done their own “research” online spread misinformation about Covid-19. Dr Brooks said it was “offensive” for people to say “I’ve done my research” when actual experts have had to spend years and a great deal of money to understand what research means and how to perform it objectively.
AWSM Note: The above article is taken from the NZ Skeptics newsletter.