Bill Nye notes that COVID deniers are “making the same mistakes” in 2021 that killed between 50 to 100 million people during the 1918 Spanish Flu
With a death toll of more than 562,000 Americans more than a year after COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic in the United States, Bill Nye has a strong message for those who are still denying the seriousness of the virus and refusing to wear masks, distance from others, and get a vaccine when it’s available to them.
The famed “Science Guy” told People he believes things might have gone very differently for the U.S. if Americans had a better understanding of public health measures and how they prevent the spread of the virus, especially those who continue to discredit that wearing masks, distancing, and vaccines “protect everybody around you from you” if you are infected and are either showing symptoms or are asymptomatic.
“That we have people running around in here, the third most populous country, which was nominally the world’s most technically advanced country — the only country that can land rovers on Mars over the last 20 years, although that’s going to change — the same country’s got people not willing to wear masks, thinking it’s government coming after them, that are against carrying a card that says I’ve been vaccinated, it’s just weird,” said Nye.
He added that he finds it “discouraging” that Americans are “making the same mistakes” that caused the deadly flu pandemic in 1918 to kill more than 50 million people around the globe, with about 675,000 of those deaths occurring in the United States. “It’s important for everybody to have a fundamental understanding of public health,” he said.
Nye noted that the scientific advancements that allow us to have effective vaccines within a year of the first known case of COVID-19 should not be understated, and he addressed anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists head-on.
“This is the first time in 300 years of viral vaccine making, that somebody’s been able to make a vaccine that makes you resistant to the disease without having to [use] a version of the original disease,” he said. “It’s really something. It shows you how well we understand this now.”
He called those who believe misinformation about vaccines “a big problem for decades,” adding that “the ability to evaluate evidence, like when somebody claims this or that is a fact, and decide whether or not it’s reasonable,” is frustrating.
As other public health experts have warned, it seems the next fast-spreading pandemic is inevitable, and Nye agrees. But he hopes that “by COVID-27, the students today will take it a lot more seriously than we did this time.”
“The U.S. certainly could have saved 200,000 people who are not living anymore, and then around the world several million,” he said. “So it’s discouraging. But we want to not have that happen again.”