The pandemic is a matter of fear, a fear of disease and death that they are trying to amplify through every possible channel of intoxication, with the collaboration of doctors, academics, researchers and an assortment of marketing specialists.
One video shows a physician at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina, Mary Kathryn Rudyk, asking Carolyn Fisher, the hospital’s marketing director, how to inflate the number of people classified as “covid patients” to provoke fear among the unvaccinated.
“I think we need to be more forceful, we need to say something on the way out: if you don’t get vaccinated, you know you’re going to die,” Rudyk says in the video.
The National File and other local media published the leak and identified the people featured (1). The recording begins with Fisher explaining how her department reports “significant numbers” to the public: the percentage of unvaccinated people, the percentage of vaccinated people, and the percentage of deaths in the intensive care unit (ICU).
The doctor then asks how post-covid cases can be included in the number of people hospitalised “for covid”. The publicist replies: “My feeling at the moment is that maybe we need to be a little bit scarier for the public.
“There are a lot of people who are still hospitalised who we consider post covid, but we don’t include in those numbers, so how do we include those people post covid in the number of patients we have in the hospital?”
Fisher asked him if he means all the patients who have been in the hospital “since the beginning of covid”. Rudyk replied, “Well, those who are still in the hospital, and this is a question I can put to someone else, but I think these are important numbers: patients who are still in the hospital, who are no longer on the covid ward, but who are still occupying the hospital for various reasons.”
When the video went viral on the internet, the hospital’s management had to come out with a public statement full of implausible explanations (2). In a conference call, Shelbourn Stevens, director of the hospital, said that these patients are classified as “recovered”.
“But I think, from our point of view, we would still consider them covid patients because they are still healing,” Stevens said.
Rudyk said he believed these patients should be “highlighted as well, because once they come out of isolation, they are no longer in the covid numbers”, prompting Stevens to say they could discuss later offline “how we can include that in the marketing”.
In response to questions asking for confirmation of whether the people in the video were hospital employees and what the context of the video was, a spokesperson said the staff involved in the video are seeing the “highest levels of hospitalisations and deaths from covid-19 so far in this pandemic, despite safe and effective vaccines being widely available”.
“It was a frank discussion among medical and communications professionals about how we can more accurately convey the gravity and severity of what is happening inside our hospitals and throughout our communities,” the spokesman said. “The data we have shared does not include patients who remain hospitalised with covid-19-related complications, even if they are no longer in isolation, and therefore does not provide a complete picture of the full impact of covid-19 on our patients and hospitals.”
The hospital remains concerned about misinformation, the spokesperson said, and is working “to be transparent and tell the full story.”