Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has debuted a new COVID-19 conspiracy theory that claims global powers planned and executed the worldwide pandemic with the ultimate goal of releasing a vaccine that gives much of the earth’s population severe brain damage. Videos promoting this conspiracy theory have racked up more than 5 million views since April 3 at Infowars’ streaming platform Banned.video.
Jones, who frequently promotes lies about vaccines, debuted the conspiracy theory on the Saturday broadcast of The Alex Jones Show on April 3, drawing on a 2017 report released by the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health about a hypothetical scenario in which a fictional disease called “SPARS” causes a global pandemic between the years 2025 and 2028.
The 89-page report, along with a web page explaining the SPARS exercise, is publicly available online at Johns Hopkins’ website. According to the report, the purpose of the exercise was to provide public health communications professionals with prompts to help them envision how to respond to difficult situations during a global pandemic and the ensuing fallout, including attempts to end the pandemic through vaccination. As one might expect with such an exercise, many things that can go wrong do in the scenario, and its readers are presented with many challenges.
During his April 3 broadcast, Jones alleged that the Johns Hopkins report was no mere exercise, but instead was the “smoking gun” revealing a plan by shadowy global powers to unleash a pandemic on the world and then depopulate the planet with a vaccine designed to maim. As Jones put it, the overall goal of the plot is supposedly “to kill you and save the earth.” (Jones was vague during his broadcast about who exactly would be behind the plot, but he did mention top government scientist Anthony Fauci and vaccine proponent and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, as well as, of course, Johns Hopkins University.)
The conspiracy theory echoes the “Plandemic” and other overarching COVID-19 conspiracy theories that have gone viral on mainstream social media platforms during the pandemic. As of now, Jones’ conspiracy theory is primarily racking up views on his own fringe platform, but risk remains that it will make the jump to large social media platforms.
Jones’ conspiracy theory lands at a particularly dangerous time, as mass vaccinations are underway against COVID-19. Not only does his conspiracy theory falsely allege that the pandemic was a planned event, but it also alleges vaccination efforts are a plot to cause mass death.
In particular, Jones has focused on a section of the Johns Hopkins report that prompts public health communicators with potential challenges around vaccine hesitancy. In one hypothetical scenario the report imagines, “a group of parents whose children developed mental retardation as a result of encephalitis” allege that their children’s medical problems were caused by a SPARS vaccination, because some cows that had a predecessor of the hypothetical vaccine also suffered encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) during safety trials. The report does not establish whether there’s any validity to the claims within the hypothetical; instead, the purpose is to provide health care communicators prompts so that they can consider what they would do if similar claims were made in a mass vaccination situation.
Jones got the details wrong in discussing that section — inaccurately claiming the scenario's impact is mad cow disease, which destroys the brain and spinal cord — but more importantly, he claimed that this is what is actually happening in real life. As he put it during his April 3 broadcast, “I’m explaining, it’s in the document that they say it’s going to happen. … They’re depopulating people with horrible degenerate diseases that will hold them down so now the whole family’s wealth will go take care of mom, or the son or the daughter, or dad, so it’s a soft-kill weapon that sucks you dry.”
Jones also claimed of the Johns Hopkins report, which is supposed to occur in the years 2025-2028, “So far, this is a three-year drill. We are a little more than a year into the drill and it’s happening exactly as the drill says. Now within six months, or less, massive brain damage, massive death. You already see it happening. That’s just because it’s so strong. It’s not supposed to kill you right away, but it’s so strong. Like [Bill] Gates said, ‘Well, it’s got to be really strong.’ It’s supposed to hit you a year later. We’re about to see all hell break loose.”
One obvious question raised by Jones’ conspiracy theory is why would the perpetrators of this plot publish their plans publicly online? Jones has offered various explanations for that question, including comparing the situation to one in which a serial killer writes a horror novel to throw off investigation of their crimes and saying, “Hitler wrote Mein Kampf and said what he was going to do, and then he did it.”
Toward the end of his April 3 broadcast, Jones offered a warning to the supposed plotters, saying, “These little bastards think we’re too dumb to read this? They think we're supposed to be at home watching football right now, or whatever the hell is on. Guess what? I’m not. My wife, my children are at home and I’m here protecting them as a man, and we’re going to fight you.”
Since debuting the conspiracy theory, Jones has gained at least one popular figure within the far-right as a backer. Disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn promoted Jones’ findings in a video, saying, “The one thing I know about this gentleman, Alex Jones, is that he loves this country, he is as smart as a whip, he absolutely believes in what he believes in, and he also does his research and his homework.”
Since April 3, Infowars’ SPARS-themed videos have been viewed more than 5 million times at Banned.video:
- Emergency Saturday Broadcast! World Shocked By SPARS 2025-2028 Document (2.9 million views)
- BOMBSHELL: MASSIVE VACCINE DAMAGE PREDICTED BY JOHN HOPKINS SPARS SCENARIO DAMAGE FULL SHOW 4-4-21 (303,000 views)
- BREAKING: General Flynn Calls For Investigation Into SPARS 2025-2028 (995,000 views)
- Global Emergency Broadcast: Gen. Flynn Endorses SPARS 2025-2028 Report – FULL SHOW 4/7/21 (218,000 views)
- New Discoveries Revealed in SPARS 2025-2028 Depopulation Document (270,000views)
- EMERGENCY BROADCAST: SPARS 2025-2028 Is The Blueprint For Total Collapse of Civilization (741,000 views)