Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, University of Chicago students and employees have been forced to abide by policies crafted by shadowy ‘experts’ who, to this day, remain unnamed. Emerging as the face of these anonymous scientists is one person: Dr. Emily Landon.
UChicago describes Landon as a leader of “the academic health system’s infection control and prevention efforts.” She has hosted several videos about COVID for the UChicago community and frequently appears on Chicago news stations to offer medical advice. Landon has also served as an advisor to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzer and as a “primary architect” of Illinois’ COVID policies.
Since Landon wields such great power over the lives of UChicago community members and Illinois residents alike, let’s get to know her a little better. To date, here are 6 of Landon’s most outrageously unethical and anti-science policy proposals and beliefs:
1. Landon Dismisses Natural Immunity
In a recent article she wrote for UChicago Medicine, Landon expressed skepticism in the power of natural immunity to combat COVID, writing that “there is a level of uncertainty on how the antibodies will respond, and immunity is really specific to that particular variant.” She goes on to write that because of natural immunity’s uncertainty, even people who’ve had COVID must still be vaccinated.
However, a systemic analysis of 9 clinical studies that investigated natural immunity discovered that all 9 studies “found at least statistical equivalence between the protection of full vaccination and natural immunity; and, three studies found superiority of natural immunity.” The analysis concluded that “vaccination of COVID-recovered individuals should be subject to clinical equipoise and individual preference.”
We’re now learning that vaccines may even cause a statistically significant negative efficacy against Omicron, as demonstrated by a recent Danish study. In other words, those who are vaccinated and haven’t gotten a booster shot might be more likely to get Omicron than those who are unvaccinated.
Natural immunity isn’t just simply equivalent—or perhaps superior—to vaccine efficacy: it’s the only reliable type of protection.
It’s inexcusable for a powerful doctor like Landon to not even acknowledge any of the research that affirms the power of natural immunity. She has used the prestigious platform of UChicago Medicine to tell untold numbers of people to be vaccinated, all while hiding pivotal information from them.
2. She Loves Useless Cloth Masks
Beyond vaccines, Landon has adamantly supported the wearing of cloth masks as a way to combat COVID—even as studies find them to be ineffective and potentially harmful.
In May 2020, Landon emphatically announced during a press conference for Governor Pritzker that cloth masks “are our lifeline.” Just months after she made this claim, however, a study found that “cloth masks have limited inward protection” in areas “where viral exposure is high,” and another study concluded that cloth masks “filter only about 10 percent of exhaled aerosol droplets.”
Even before COVID, numerous studies found a lack of a conclusive relationship between mask-wearing and a reduction in the risk of contracting a respiratory illness. Worryingly, a meta-study that referenced more than 30 experimental studies also discovered a “recurrent and uniform presentation” of “psychological and physical deterioration” among healthy mask wearers, with symptoms ranging from a decrease in blood oxygen saturation to difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath.
Landon still champions mask mandates, and UChicago has, with her guidance, required students and employees to wear useless masks while indoors since the pandemic began.
3. Landon Demands Students Get a Booster, but Not Doctors and Scientists
A recent Chicago Thinker opinion piece written by Christopher Phillips and I that decried UChicago’s COVID policies was praised by Dr. Adam Cifu, a Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Medical School Academics at UChicago. Landon responded to Cifu on Twitter, writing “no one is arguing for [infection] control no matter the cost … slowing spread [is] important so [the] high risk can get care and more therapies.”
However, if the goal of the Landon-led COVID measures is to protect the high risk, that goal is entirely thwarted by the fact that UChicago hospital employees, who total more than 9,400 and regularly interact with high-risk patients, are exempt from the university’s booster shot mandate.
As Christopher and I pointed out, this exemption—which exists because the university fears hospital employees and scientists will quit if they have to get a booster shot—completely undermines the university’s narrative that the booster shot is crucial to saving lives. The fact that Landon demands students get a booster shot but not doctors and scientists—people who, per Landon’s logic, need a booster the most—should make everyone realize she doesn’t actually believe boosters are essential.
4. She Thinks Vaccinating Young Children Is ‘Great’
When asked even before Omicron what she thinks about vaccinating young children ages 5-11, Landon enthusiastically remarked that it’ll be “great! It’ll be huge! It’ll be so good!”
Yet vaccinating young children is anything but “great.” Pfizer itself admits here on page 11 that we can’t even know the risks of vaccinating children younger than 12 due to the clinical development program’s sample size for that age group being too small. As a result, additional studies, including “a 5-year follow-up study to evaluate long term sequelae of post-vaccination myocarditis/pericarditis,” are needed to determine if vaccinating young children is safe.
Despite Landon having no idea what the risks are, she still wants all children ages 5 and up to be forcibly vaccinated. And from available data, she must have known the risks of vaccinating young people are serious: the rate of vaccine-associated myocarditis for ages 12-17 was found in Canada to be 36.1 per one million doses, a rate that significantly exceeds the pre-Omicron chance that someone in that age group is hospitalized with or dies from COVID.
Myocarditis is very serious. It can weaken someone’s heart and lead to the formation of clots, which can produce a stroke or a heart attack. Most worryingly of all, the mortality rate is believed to be 22% within 6.5 years.
Landon’s complete support for such an unethical and harmful measure should enrage every parent. Most importantly, it seriously calls to question why she has any authority to force young college students to be vaccinated.
The Hippocratic Oath, which all physicians must take, is unequivocal: “do no harm.”
5. Landon Supports Deceptive COVID Data
In one of her most recent tweets, Landon expressed confusion as to why people distinguish between those hospitalized with COVID and those hospitalized because of COVID. Landon “really [doesn’t] see much difference” between the two.
Even Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky have differentiated the two groups to demonstrate that nearly half of reported COVID hospitalizations aren’t even due to COVID. To understand how truly misleading the hospitalization numbers are, consider that even gunshot victims are listed as COVID deaths if the victims merely tested positive for COVID.
Clearly, to conflate these two groups is egregiously misleading, but Landon doesn’t care.
6. She Views the Unvaccinated as Uneducated
Landon crassly and inappropriately mocks the unvaccinated, retweeting posts that depict them as being low-class and incapable of independent research.
As the Chicago Thinker’s Editorial Board recently emphasized, there are many legitimate concerns surrounding COVID vaccines, ranging from the questionable FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine to comprehensive evidence of there being no discernible relationship between a population’s vaccination rate and number of COVID cases.
Landon seemingly brushes these concerns off, making fun of the unvaccinated for daring to think for themselves.
Here’s the bottom line: Dr. Emily Landon has both significant power and knowledge of the scientific process. It’s perfectly acceptable to make claims that are ultimately disproved by science—that’s an integral part of scientific inquiry. What isn’t acceptable, though, is to make these claims and double down when the science says otherwise. And because Landon isn’t just a scientist but a public health bureaucrat, she has used her incorrect claims to guide and direct both Illinois and UChicago’s COVID policies.
Emily Landon is “widely regarded as one of Chicago’s top coronavirus experts,” yet she has supported unquestionably harmful measures and been wrong about natural immunity. And vaccines. And masks. Despite having such an inept track record, she’s still demanding you and I obey her anti-science policies.
*The views expressed in this article solely represent the views of the author, not the views of the Chicago Thinker.