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Joe Rogan, podcasting giant dismissive of vaccination, has COVID-19

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                Joe Rogan was seen during a weigh-in before UFC 211, in May 2017, in Dallas.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Joe Rogan was seen during a weigh-in before UFC 211, in May 2017, in Dallas.

Joe Rogan, the host of the hugely popular podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience,” said today that he had tested positive for the coronavirus after he returned from a series of shows in Florida, where the virus is rampant.

Rogan, who was rebuked by federal officials last spring for suggesting on the podcast that young healthy people need not get COVID vaccinations, said that he started feeling sick Saturday night after he returned from performing in Orlando, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale. He did not say whether he had been vaccinated.

“Throughout the night, I got fevers, sweats, and I knew what was going on,” he said in a video on Instagram, adding that he moved to a different part of his house away from his family. (In an episode of his podcast in April, he mentioned that his children had experienced mild COVID-19 symptoms earlier in the pandemic.)

He took a coronavirus test the next morning that came back positive, he said.

In his video today, Rogan said he had been treated with a series of medications. “Sunday sucked,” he said, but by the time he made the video, he said he was feeling “pretty good,” using an expletive.

“A wonderful heartfelt thank you to modern medicine for pulling me out of this so quickly and easily,” he said.

The list of treatments he mentioned included monoclonal antibodies, which have been shown to protect COVID patients at risk of becoming gravely ill; and prednisone, a steroid widely accepted as a COVID treatment. When Donald Trump was stricken with COVID during his presidency, he was also treated with monoclonal antibodies.

Rogan also said he had received a “vitamin drip” as well as ivermectin, a drug primarily used as a veterinary deworming agent. The Food and Drug Administration has warned COVID-19 patients against taking the drug, and that has repeatedly been shown as ineffective for them in clinical trials. However, it is a popular subject on Facebook, Reddit and among some conservative talk show hosts, and some toxicologists have warned of a surge of reports of overexposure to the drug by those who obtain it from livestock supply stores.

Rogan has been traveling nationally with a show called, “Joe Rogan: The Sacred Clown Tour.” He was scheduled to perform a show with comedian Dave Chappelle in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday, but Rogan said in his video today that it would be postponed until October.

His podcast is effectively a series of wandering conversations, often over whiskey and weed, on topics including but not limited to comedy, cage-fighting, psychedelics, quantum mechanics and the political excesses of the left. The show was licensed to Spotify last year in an estimated $100 million deal. His comments on the show in the spring undermining the value of vaccinations for young, healthy people drew condemnations from the Biden administration and Prince Harry, another Spotify podcaster.

Rogan has offered refunds to fans who bought tickets to an upcoming show scheduled for Madison Square Garden after New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, required that attendees at major events show proof of vaccination.

Rogan said on his podcast last week that 13,000 tickets to the show had already been sold but that because he opposes vaccine requirements, he would offer refunds.

“If someone has an ideological or physiological reason for not getting vaccinated, I don’t want to force them to get vaccinated to see” the show, he said on the podcast in late August, underscoring his comment with a profanity. “And now they say that everybody has to be vaccinated, and I want everybody to know that you can get your money back.”

Rogan returned from performing three shows last week in Florida, where the state is reckoning with its highest-ever surge in virus infections, according to a New York Times database. Even as cases continue to rise, with more than 15,600 people hospitalized with the virus across Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has held firm on banning vaccine and mask mandates. Florida’s deaths are considerably higher than those in any other state in the country.

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