The WSWS is publishing a series of articles with statements of support for Dr. Berger, which readers can send via email here. Please indicate in the email how you would like to be identified in our next article, and if you want to include a photo please attach one to the email.
There has been an immediate outpouring of support for Australian physician Dr. David Berger from scientists and professionals across the globe, who have spoken out against the attempt to censor his activity on social media by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
Dr. Berger has been a staunch defender of the Zero-COVID elimination strategy to bring a swift end to the COVID-19 pandemic, and has consistently opposed the official “let it rip” response by the Australian and other world governments. Fundamental to the conception of elimination is that it is a basic social right to live without the threat of infectious pathogens sickening and killing people. Health practitioners, scientists, and public health officials have taken a sworn duty to protect the lives and livelihood of the population at large, and Dr. Berger’s advocacy for elimination is fulfilling this pledge.
The AHPRA acts as a statutory authority for health professionals working in collaboration with the Medical Board of Australia. According to the national Registration and Accreditation Scheme, all health practitioners must register with this body, whose stated purpose is to hear and investigate complaints on the performance, health, and conduct of those registered.
The anonymous claim made in Berger’s case is that he violated the Medical Board of Australia’s “code of conduct” on social media and behaved “unprofessionally” towards colleagues. In reality, the complaint being leveled against Berger has to do with his commitment to exposing government lies and the corporate/media falsehoods that attempt to minimize the dangers posed by COVID-19.
Dr. Berger is being forced by the Medical Board of Australia and AHPRA to submit to a compulsory “program of education” where he must produce a “reflective practice report” that will explain how he has behaved discourteously and unprofessionally to his colleagues and the board in general. He has essentially been told to cease and desist or face the consequences of being deregistered, impacting his ability to treat patients and earn his living.
The World Socialist Web Site, which has also consistently advocated for a Zero-COVID global elimination strategy, on Friday published the only article so far on the attempts to silence Dr. Berger. This article was shared widely on social media and has been read by many thousands of people throughout the world. A tweet of the article by the Committee for Public Education (CFPE), an independent rank-and-file committee of educators in Australia, prompted numerous scientists, workers and anti-COVID activists to voice their support for Dr. Berger.
Almost every comment roundly supported Dr. Berger, with many noting that his scientific advice has kept them and their families safe during the pandemic. The following are a sample of the comments submitted directly to the WSWS or posted on Twitter.
Renowned virologist Dr. Stephen Griffin of Leeds University, a member of Independent SAGE, wrote to the WSWS, “It is upsetting that public health has become political in Australia after previously having done such an amazing job of minimizing pandemic impact until recently. To silence Dr. Berger using threats is tantamount to censorship, nothing else.”
Dr. Griffin added, “The fact is that Dr. Berger has spoken with conviction and honesty around his views of how the pandemic is being handled, many of which I agree with. It has been clear that the UK government have wished to ignore and marginalize suffering caused by SARS-CoV-2 for quite some time now. It is tragically disappointing to see Australia follow this wretched example.”
Dr. Berger has been repeatedly defamed and attacked by social media trolls and right-wing pundits for exposing the false claims that children do not get COVID, that the virus is not airborne, that schools are safe, that vaccines largely prevent infection, and that the virus is mild.
Lisa Diaz, a mother and anti-COVID activist who has also faced attacks from UK school boards and governmental authorities, told the WSWS, “This assault on David is actually terrifying. All he has done is tell the truth about the devastating health implications of SARS-CoV-2. However, he is a threat as governments around the world want to keep spinning the lie that COVID is mild, reinfections are fine, and we should all live our lives and pretend it’s [COVID] gone away.”
Diaz added, “It isn’t in the interests of the powerful elites for the general public to know the truth—that it’s a brain shrinking, autoimmune, vascular disease that can attack every single essential organ in the body, irrespective of whether symptoms are mild. David cares. He tried to warn people. And for that he is being punished. It’s sick … the world has gone mad, and nobody is coming to save us. People need to move and move quickly.”
Italian data scientist Antonio Caramia, who maintains a comprehensive database of COVID-19 and monkeypox cases and provides critical updates on the spread of both viruses, told the WSWS, “Dr. Berger has been right since the beginning of the pandemic. He is a light in the darkness of misinformation. What the Australian Medical Authority is trying to do is simply unbelievable. This can be a very dangerous issue for people because it can let government misinformation win against the truth.”
One of the most widely-shared tweets on Friday was from Dr. Kimberly Prather, director of the Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment in San Diego, California, who has continuously warned about the role of airborne transmission during the pandemic. She wrote:
Professor Yaneer Bar-Yam, co-founder of the World Health Network and Complex System Physicist from Massachusetts, and one of the leading scientists who has advocated for the global elimination of SARS-CoV-2, tweeted:
Independent British journalist Chris Turnbull, who has continuously raised the alarm about the dangers of COVID-19, posted a thread noting the Orwellian character of the censorship by the AHPRA:
Dana Parish, best-selling author of Chronic, a book which addresses infection-mediated chronic illness, wrote in defense of Dr. Berger, “It is an unspeakable disgrace that a medical or political body would attempt to gag a physician warning the public about the dangers of this airborne, potentially life-ruining virus. If public health officials would focus their energies on mitigating the virus—and actually doing their jobs—people like Dr. Berger could practice medicine without having to do it for them. I strongly support and appreciate the truth he puts forth and encourage him not to ever back down.”
Jess, an anti-COVID activist in Canada, told the WSWS, “Dr. Berger has been the voice that we all need and now they are trying to silence him. He has fought and continues to fight to get the word out that #CovicIsAirborne and that this plan of mass infection is not one anyone should be forced to ‘live with.’ He constantly advocates for children, for the most vulnerable and continues to be on the front lines fighting despite so many trying to bring him down.”
Kate Pritchard, an aid worker from Western Australia, thanked the WSWS for bringing awareness to this travesty, writing, “Thank you for speaking out, raising awareness and showing support. Many of us rely on Dr. Berger to keep our families safe. It is clear he is a particularly decent human being with integrity and humanity many lack.”
Upon hearing of the AHPRA’s actions against Dr. Berger, clinical epidemiologist and staunch anti-COVID advocate Dr. Deepti Gurdasani tweeted the following:
The WSWS calls on all scientists, healthcare workers, health practitioners, and workers in every industry across the globe to support Dr. Berger against censorship by the Australian authorities and the onerous attack on him and his livelihood. Demand that these disciplinary actions be withdrawn. Send us your statements of support for Dr. Berger and we will publish them in the coming days.
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