Fox News host Laura Ingraham continued her campaign against COVID-19 vaccination drives — and her advocacy for “natural immunity” by simply letting the virus run rampant — with a highly misleading segment on the tiny country of Iceland and how it is seeing cases of the delta variant while also having some of the highest vaccination rates in the world.
“The surge, though, you are hearing about in the U.S., has produced 33 cases for every 100,000 people,” Ingraham said. “Iceland, though, is right behind us at 29. The director general of Iceland's Ministry of Health telling Reuters, ‘Since July 9, 77% of domestic infections were among vaccinated individuals.’”
Ingraham insisted that this was “the kind of data that should have every doctor in the country screaming about natural immunity.”
However, her segment left out key information from the rest of that Reuters article, in which Director General Ásthildur Knútsdóttir also explained that the vaccines protected “over 90 percent against serious illnesses” from the delta variant.
And yet another wild card in understanding the data: Professor Monica Gandhi at the University of California explained to Reuters that in some of these nasal swab tests of vaccinated asymptomatic people, “we don’t know if that test is really a ‘case’ or a low viral load result from the vaccine fighting the virus in your nose.”
Raw cases are only one measurement of vaccine’s effectiveness, as it is well documented by now that the vaccines are helpful in not only minimizing cases among the vaccinated but also at preventing serious illness and deaths from the delta variant. In the case of Iceland, for example, Quartz noted that the small country has recorded only one death from the virus this year: “Iceland provides a case study for how an effective vaccine rollout perhaps doesn’t guarantee herd immunity but prevents hospitalizations and deaths.”
So even if it turned out to be true that the delta and other variants are on course to cause more “breakthrough” infections among vaccinated people, this would only make widespread vaccination even more important in order to avoid the serious cases.
By contrast, hospitals are now filling up in areas of the United States with lower vaccination rates, while one-third of national cases last week were in just the two states of Florida and Texas. But Ingraham and frequent guest Dr. Peter McCullough looked only at national statistics, rather than regional distributions, to claim that hospitals were not having any problem at all.
“I want to show you this chart, and this is from Johns Hopkins. We don't exactly have an ICU bed capacity problem,” Ingraham said. “So what is this that we are hearing about? We're hearing about overwhelmed hospitals, but the ICUs, is that a problem?”
“No, not that I can see,” McCullough agreed.
McCullough also claimed it was “almost as if the vaccine invited this explosion of cases” in Iceland. (McCullough has previously claimed on Ingraham’s show that “no one under age 30 should receive any one of these vaccines.”)
In fact, as Reuters pointed out, Iceland had lifted all its domestic restrictions only on June 25 — so it would be the reopening that “invited” the rise in cases.