Anonymous crowd of people walking on a busy New York City street.

‘We Want Them Infected’: An Excerpt from Jonathan Howard’s New Book on the COVID-19 Pandemic

This excerpt from the new book titled “We Want Them Infected” is printed with permission from Jonathan Howard, MD and Redhawk Publications.  

By Jonathan Howard

On June 29, 2021, Dr. Harriet Hall penned an essay on the website Science Based Medicine titled “A New COVID-19 Myth?” in which she wrote:

A correspondent suggested I should have known that the pandemic was over months ago. That’s obviously a myth. But where did that idea come from?1

I knew the answer. Even before the first wave peaked, doctors suggested the worst was over and that measures to control the virus were more dangerous than the virus itself. This message was repeated regularly throughout the pandemic.

On March 17, 2020, Dr. Zubin Damania – a physician, comedian, and internet personality known as ZDoggMD to his fans in the “ZPAC Supporter Tribe”2 – recorded a podcast titled “COVID-19: Is Our Cure Worse Than the Disease?”3 He made four similar podcasts with Dr. Monica Gandhi. In October 2020 they recorded “How to Stop Living in Fear of COVID”4 where listeners heard Dr. Gandhi say that “you can still see your friends and family while keeping yourself safe, and you’re not gonna die of this.” In February 2021 they recorded “The End of the Pandemic”5 where listeners heard that “a UCSF infectious disease doctor is convinced this pandemic is ending, and sooner than you think.” Drs. Gandhi and Damania shared a belly laugh then, mocking variants by saying “variants shmariants.” The Delta and Omicron variants would both arrive several months later, and Dr. Gandhi would admit to regretting this comment.6

This didn’t stop her from making a nearly identical podcast in May 2022 titled “Living with COVID,”7 which declared “we now have all the necessary tools to end the COVID ‘emergency phase’. Here’s how (and why) we can live with this coronavirus.” They recorded another podcast in December 2022 titled “A Better Pandemic Playbook”, where Dr. Gandhi again made her case for “COVID optimism” and spoke of “how little severe disease there is.”8 She said that, due to high rates of immunity, “since March of 2022 we’ve seen very little severe disease in the hospital.” In reality, 160,000 Americans died of COVID from March to December 2022, and COVID was the third leading cause of death for the third year in a row.9

Early in the pandemic Dr. Gandhi believed that if COVID killed over 100 Americans daily, citizens would band together and prevent this at all costs.10 Sadly, she was wrong about this too. Despite her near-perfect record of poor predictions – which included her predicting she would stop making predictions on The Mehdi Hasan Show6 – San Mateo County celebrated their re-opening with Dr. Monica Gandhi Day on June 15, 2021. Although 596,374 Americans had died of COVID by then, Dr. Gandhi cut a ribbon of masks as part of the celebration. The Delta variant arrived immediately after, and 500,000 more Americans would die of COVID before the end of 2022.

Many times, doctors’ sarcastic admonition to “wait two more weeks” turned out to be extremely reliable indicators of when cases would spike again. In a since-deleted tweet, Dr. Ramin Farzaneh-Far said this in November 2020, right before the deadliest wave of the pandemic. In June 2021, Dr. Anish Koka mocked those who were concerned about the Delta variant, saying “we’ll know in 2 weeks,”11 along with an eye roll emoji. A month later, the headlines would read “Pediatric Hospitals in U.S. in Peril as Delta Hits Children.”12 Economist Dr. Andreas Backhaus quipped about the Great Barrington Declaration and one of its authors, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, by saying:

I thought about writing a paper that estimates how long it takes for a country or region to suffer from a severe COVID19 outbreak after the GBD crew said that it had already reached herd immunity. One might call this new relationship the “Gupta predictor”.13

Dr. Gupta was not the only author of the GBD to repeatedly claim the virus has been tamed. Dr. Jay Bhattacharya said COVID had been “defanged” on: April 14, 202114; May 3, 202115; July 21, 202116; July 28, 202117; and January 6, 2022.18

I too was overly optimistic, writing on July 25, 2021:

We will almost certainly never have months in a row where over 1,000 Americans die daily. Again with the caveat that a nasty variant could change everything, I am confident the worst is over for the US as a whole, at least for vaccinated people.19

Sadly, those new variants appeared, and the worst had yet to arrive in much of the country.

Notably, nearly every doctor who declared the pandemic over continues to discuss COVID constantly, undermining their admonitions that everyone else should treat COVID like any other disease.

Dr. Jonathan Howard is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health and the Chief of Neurology at Bellevue Hospital. For additional information, visit

“We Want Them Infected” is available through publisher Redhawk Publications at

1. Hall, H. (2021, June 29). A new COVID-19 myth? Science-Based Medicine.
2. Zubin Damania. (2022, November 19). In Wikipedia. https://
3. Damania, Z. (Host). (2020, March 17). COVID-19: is our cure worse than the disease? [Video podcast episode]. In ZDoggMD: Slightly funnier than placebo.
4. Damania, Z. (Host). (2020, October 11). How to stop living in fear of COVID [Video podcast episode]. In ZDoggMD: Slightly funnier than placebo.
5. Damania, Z. (Host). (2021, February 22). The end of the epidemic [Video podcast episode]. In ZDoggMD: Slightly funnier than placebo.
6. Gandhi, M. (2022, February 4). Mehdi Hasan questions doctor on COVID predictions [Video interview]. In The Mehdi Hasan Show.
7. Damania, Z. (Host). (2022, May 15). Living with COVID [Video podcast episode]. In ZDoggMD: Slightly funnier than placebo.
8. Damania, Z. [ZDoggMD]. (2022, December 11). A better pandemic playbook [Video podcast]. YouTube.
9. Ortaliza, J., Amin, K., & Cox, C. (2022, November 10). COVID-19 leading cause of death ranking. Kaiser Family Foundation.
10. Fisher, M. (2021, September 4). The COVID endgame: Is the pandemic over already? Or are there years to go? The WashingtonPost.
11. Koka, A. [@anish_koka]. (2021, June 30). Is it possible Howard & co. Are correctly predicting Armageddon unless the kids aren’t forced to be vaxxed ? Maybe.. (we’ll know [Tweet]. Twitter.
12. Goodman, B. (2021, August 17). Pediatric hospitals in U.S. in peril as Delta hits children. WebMD.
13. Backhaus, A. [@AndreasShrugged]. (2021, April 9). I thought about writing a paper that estimates how long it takes for a country or region to suffer from [Tweet; thumbnail link to tweet]. Twitter.
14. Damania, Z. (Host). (2021, April 14). Focused protection for COVID [Video podcast episode]. In ZDoggMD: Slightly funnier than placebo.
15. Bhattacharya, J. (2021, May 3). The Ingraham Angle [Video interview transcript]. Fox News.
16. Hill, Z. K. (2021, July 21). Stanford doc Jay Bhattacharya calls vaccine mandates ‘unethical,’ says patients can choose. Newsweek.
17. Polumbo, B. (2021, July 28). Despite ‘Delta’ alarmism, US COVID deaths are at lowest level since March 2020, Harvard and Stanford
Professors explain. Foundation for Economic Education.
18. Arnold, J. (2022, January 6). Pandemic of obsolete talking points. Family Research Council.
19. Howard, J. (2021, July 25). “We’ll have herd immunity by April”: Reflections on a failed prediction. Science-Based Medicine.


The Petrie-Flom Center Staff

The Petrie-Flom Center staff often posts updates, announcements, and guests posts on behalf of others.

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