Viral video peddles misleading claims about COVID, 'next pandemic', and WHO

By: Praveen Kumar
July 17 2023

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Viral video peddles misleading claims about COVID, 'next pandemic', and WHO


The Verdict Misleading

Selectively chosen statements have been manipulated to claim that the pandemic was not real and that the next one will be worse, among other things.

Claim ID 2de5af23


A 1.5-minute video of Youtubers Clayton Morris and Natali Morris discussing "the next pandemic" is gaining a lot of traction on TikTok. In the video, they claim that COVID-19 wasn’t a “real” pandemic and the world is being prepared for the “actual one.” They also claim that the “pandemic treaty” gives the World Health Organization (WHO) power over every country’s sovereignty.

The 1.5-minute TikTok video seems to be created by stitching together cropped parts of a longer video Clayton and Natali Morris had uploaded on their YouTube channel ‘Redacted.’ The couple put out videos of them discussing various political topics on the channel; however, their content is often inaccurate. Logically Facts found that many claims made by the two in the viral clip are also misleading.

In Fact

Firstly, the claim that WHO said that the COVID-19 pandemic is "over” is not true. On May 5, 2023, while WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had declared that COVID-19 was "over as a global health emergency," he had cautioned that it did not mean that “COVID-19 is over as a global health threat." The WHO still refers to COVID-19 as an "ongoing pandemic" and updates COVID-19 statistics on its website regularly.

At the 76th World Health Assembly, which was also attended by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, WHO chief Ghebreyesus had made a precautionary statement and said there is the threat of “another pathogen emerging with even deadlier potential” and that the world should be prepared. However, neither WHO officials nor Gates said that the next pandemic will be "worse” or will target children, as claimed in the viral clip.

Morris' reference to children's hospitals preparing for the "next pandemic" is from a July 2022 article published by Crain's Chicago Business. However, the article, headlined “Children's hospitals prepare for the next pandemic,” does not predict a pandemic that will target children but rather is about building a network of children’s hospitals for better coordination in case of a future outbreak.

The video also shows a screenshot of The Atlantic's headline, "The Next Stage of COVID Is Starting Now," published on March 13, 2023,” and then claims that the timing of Chelsea Clinton’s announcement to vaccinate every child was suspicious. While the daughter of former U.S. President Bill Clinton did talk about increasing childhood vaccination at a Fortune press conference in April 2023, she was referring to vaccinating more children against preventable diseases such as measles, diphtheria, polio, and yellow fever. Several children had missed these vaccinations due to the pandemic, but her plan about pushing for more vaccinations has no link to the “next pandemic.” Several fact-checking organizations have debunked claims that she is advocating for forcing vaccinations on children. Also, the Atlantic article does not speculate if another health crisis is going to be harder on children. 

Moreover, Clayton's claim that the COVID-19 pandemic was not real and was actually a trial run for an actual pandemic is a recurring claim, versions of which have repeatedly been debunked by numerous fact-checkers. 

In the TikTok video, the Morrises also claim that surveillance is part of WHO's pandemic "treaty" and that it would give them global power over every country's sovereignty. The WHO's Pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response accord, a.k.a. the "pandemic treaty,” mentions surveillance only in the context of identifying and reporting on pathogens and outbreaks, not surveilling people. Further, WHO's Pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response accord stresses the principle of sovereignty of states parties in addressing public health matters. On the Q& A section on its website, WHO states, “Member States will decide the terms of the accord, including whether any of its provisions will be legally binding on Member States as a matter of international law.” WHO maintains that it does not have a say in the agreement negotiated between the 194 member states of WHO.

The Verdict

Clayton and Natali Morris selectively chose snippets of news and manipulate facts about pandemic preparedness and the effects of pandemic on childhood vaccination programs to spread incorrect narratives. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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