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Congressman Krishnamoorthi Reveals Republican Witness In COVID-19 Misinformation Hearing Has Been Repeatedly Discredited By Courts For Promoting Misinformation

November 17, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Krishnamoorthi participated in the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing titled, “Combating Coronavirus Cons And The Monetization of Misinformation.” The committee hearing noted the danger of pandemic misinformation and the importance of educating the public on the science behind COVID-19 and the vaccine. During the hearing, Congressman Krishnamoorthi questioned Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University known for his opposition to COVID-19-related restrictions as well as his contributions to the Great Barrington Declaration which made the widely-debunked argument that governments should limit pandemic restrictions only to those at high risk of severe outcomes and let the virus spread naturally to achieve herd immunity.

“It is unfortunate and ironic that my Republican colleagues selected Dr. Bhattacharya as a witness for our COVID-19 misinformation hearing when he himself is a purveyor of COVID-19 misinformation,” Congressman Krishnamoorthi said. “As Dr. Bhattacharya acknowledged in questioning, he has drawn criticism from multiple judges for misrepresenting scientific studies and the consensus of medical professionals, while even testifying as an expert on matters on which he admitted he was not qualified. The presence of Dr. Bhattacharya as a witness today is a stark example of the challenges of combatting pandemic misinformation. During a pandemic that has taken the lives of over 765,000 Americans, we cannot afford to allow scientific misinformation and conspiracy theories to run rampant either on social media or in-person interactions. We need to make efforts to educate our communities about the necessity of masks and the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

In an October 2021 ruling that Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s executive order allowing parents to opt their children out of school mask mandates violates federal law, U.S. District Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw wrote that Dr. Bhattacharya “offered opinions regarding the pediatric effects of masks on children, a discipline on which he admitted he was not qualified to speak,” adding “his demeanor and tone while testifying suggest that he is advancing a personal agenda. At this stage of the proceedings, the Court is simply unwilling to trust Dr. Bhattacharya." Judge Crenshaw also added that Dr. Bhattacharya’s testimony was “troubling” and “problematic.” Similarly, a Manitoba Judge found the same month that Dr. Bhattacharya’s testimony public health restrictions was contradicted by a range of evidence, including his own sources. In August 2021, Dr. Bhattacharya was the state of Florida’s expert witness defending the state’s ban on mask mandates, during which he noted on child death rates from COVID-19 that it was a “question of what is the trade-off.”

To watch Congressman Krishnamoorthi’s question line, click here.