To say that there’s a lot going on in our city right now would be an understatement. While COVID-related hospitalizations remain high across the Municipality and the state — Anchorage Mayor David Bronson attended an anti-vax event held at ChangePoint church on Saturday. By “event” I mean a coordinated disinformation campaign that sought to directly undermine the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Anchorage’s mayor previously stated in a Facebook message that he did not believe President Joe Biden fairly won the 2020 presidential election, has previously invoked the phrase “deep state” and even shared a post to Facebook the day of the armed insurrection giving weight to former President Donald Trump’s baseless election fraud conspiracy theories.

Since taking office, Bronson’s Administration has repeatedly played the COVID disinformation card. Earlier this month, the American Academy of Pediatrics sent a scorching letter to pediatrician and Anchorage Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Savitt regarding his deceptive misrepresentation of COVID-related information at a recent Anchorage Assembly meeting. 

Bronson and his allies have promoted monoclonal antibodies over vaccines and suggested that individuals talk to their doctors about ‘potentially’ getting the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. Members of the Bronson Administration, such as Municipal Manager Amy Demboski, have actively worked to derail COVID mitigation strategies enacted by the Assembly for the Chambers even after people who attended Assembly meetings had become infected with the virus.

According to the state’s COVID Dashboard, since Mayor Bronson claimed his throne, 145 Anchorage residents have died as a result of the coronavirus. Under the administration of Austin Quinn-Davidson — between January 1 and the last day of June — 40 Anchorage residents succumbed to the virus. The data may very well point out the succinct difference between the two individuals, one of whom is likely not a victim of foreign disinformation campaigns.

State actors such as Russia and China have infiltrated their way into health-skeptic audiences, impugning vaccines and playing on domestic concerns about restrictions on civil liberties (mask/vaccine mandates) to say nothing of the on-going campaign that seeks to undermine faith in our elections and democratic process.

Chinese “scholar” Li-Meng Yan, who was in attendance at the Saturday ChangePoint church anti-vax event — attended by Mayor Bronson — rose to notoriety when she published a paper last September claiming that China had created the coronavirus in a research lab.

Reviewers for MIT Rapid Reviews, which publishes peer reviews and editorials of timely, publicly-posted preprints relevant to all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic found thatthere was a consensus Yan’s claims were better explained by “potential political motivations rather than scientific integrity” and wrote that her wild claims were found at time to be “baseless” and “not supported by the data.”

In October 2020, Yan expanded and double downed on her claims, blaming the Chinese government for developing the coronavirus as a “bioweapon,” which if you’ve ever listened to an Anchorage Assembly meeting should sound more than familiar to your now well-seasoned ears.

Still, far-right social media groups and “news” outlets championed Yan’s paper and its baseless conspiracy theories, choosing to fall prey to a disinformation campaign later embraced by members of the Trump Administration and the orange fool himself for the sake of furthering a political narrative that bemoans mask wearing and vaccine mandates as violations of American civil liberties.

Saturday’s disinformation event was effectively Save Anchorage unleashed — and by all appearances looks like it may have been planned by Mayor Bronson and his staff. The unmasked, unvaccinated mayor himself admitted at the event that “for political reasons, we didn’t want my fingerprints all over it.”

The event, out in the open where conspiracy theories and non-science-based medical opinions were spread in an attempt to lend credence to the falsehood that “alternative treatments” for COVID, such as the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin are viable, has once again made Anchorage, led by its science denying mayor, a laughing stock to those who watched this lunacy safely from afar.

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