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Friday, May 24, 2024

Senate COVID hearing light on facts, heavy on misinformation - Arizona Mirror

The Novel Coronavirus Southwestern Intergovernmental Committee meets on May 26, 2023. The two-day hearing featured a litany of falsehoods and misinformation about COVID-19, the public health response to it and treatments for the illness. Screenshot via Arizona Legislature/azleg.gov

A two-day special hearing at the Arizona Senate aimed at examining the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was rife with conspiracy theories, misinformation and fear-mongering around vaccines and public health — all endorsed by the Republican state legislators who sat and listened intently and offered no pushback.

The Novel Coronavirus Southwestern Intergovernmental Committee featured testimony from a group of supposed health experts who spread a myriad of misinformation about vaccines and the pandemic during the committee’s time. Many of them already have a long history of doing so.

The committee had previously faced criticism for its name, which has been promoted in acronym form by the QAnon-friendly political nonprofit The America Project. The acronym, NCSWIC, is also a commonly used acronym in the QAnon world for the phrase “Nothing Can Stop What Is Coming,” alluding to predictions of arrests of members of the “Deep State.”

Although the official name of the panel spells the word “southwestern” correctly, the committee’s outside boosters intentionally divided the word into “south western” in order to use the acronym in their promotion.

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