A number of anti-vax right-wing talk show hosts have been not only coming down with COVID-19, but they’ve also been dying in an unfortunate trend following their expressions of doubt about or completely discrediting the COVID-19 vaccine to their millions of listeners.
But in a decided departure from that growing apparent tradition, the latest person to seemingly fit the above description is a Black man.
Wayne Dupree, whose eponymous show and online platform have a wide-ranging reach, recently said in a series of tweets that he has been “battling COVID-like” symptoms over the course of a number of days.
In the most ironic fashion, the disclosure from Dupree — who is effectively a social media influencer — came a couple of days after he advised his followers to stop trusting “social media influencers & TV anchors & hosts” who have been encouraging people to get vaccinated.
“They’re telling you what to do, but they don’t know,” Dupree stressed on a recent episode of his show. “They’re not doctors!”
Dupree, who is not a doctor, either, encouraged people to “Talk to your doctor or do your own research,” advice that has been frequently mocked for discrediting guidance from national public health officials who are working to end the pandemic.
He said listening to said influencers was “confusing,” but his listeners couldn’t be blamed if they were even more baffled after hearing Dupree’s mixed messages that essentially advised people against listening to his own words expressing doubt about the COVID-19 vaccine.
But the irony didn’t end there.
Two days later, the same Twitter account tweeted that Wednesday’s show was being canceled because Dupree was “battling COVID-like or Flu-like symptoms.” He said he scheduled a COVID-19 test but made sure to point out that he — again, who is not a doctor — was treating his condition with the chosen medications of “vitamins C, D, zinc, orange and pineapple juice, soup etc.”
Minutes later, Dupree admitted that he needed something a bit stronger to treat his symptoms, including “Robitussin and halls cough drops.” He said his cough came back that morning before letting the proverbial cat out of the bag: “A family HOUSE member was diagnosed with COVID yesterday but my spirits are up.”
Thursday marked the fourth day of Dupree experiencing what he described as worsening symptoms, including losing his “taste and smell” — hallmark signs of COVID-19.
He said his “spirits remain up” while he awaited the results of his COVID-19 test.
As mentioned, Dupree is far from the first right-wing talk show host to have something like this happen after devoting air time to downplaying vaccinations against COVID-19.
Another anti-vax right-wing talk show host died last week — the fifth in six weeks — displaying a clear pattern as each death was linked by the fateful common truth that they all refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Thus far, all of the above deaths have been white men.
Dupree’s health status is challenging that nation.
The Guardian published a report this week showing that the proliferation of right-wing talk show hosts and conservative media espousing anti-vax rhetoric has coincided with an increasingly slower vaccination rate nationwide.
“It is clearly a driving force,” Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, a media watchdog group, told the Guardian. “A lot of people understandably focus on online, especially when it comes to anti-vax information. But the reality of it is, when the dust settles, I think what we’re going to find is that the real source of a lot of the most damaging anti-vax messaging was driven largely by traditional media: talk radio and traditional rightwing forces like Fox News.”