Marc Van Ranst accused of spreading fear and false information
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    Marc Van Ranst accused of spreading fear and false information

    Credit: Belga

    Action group Viruswaanzin (which translates as ‘viral madness’) has filed an official complaint against virologist Marc Van Ranst for spreading fear and false information.

    The group’s lawyer, Michael Verstraeten, filed a complaint with Belgium’s Medical Association. The organisation handles complaints in cases where citizens feel they have suffered at the hands of a medical professional. If the complaint is found to be justified, disciplinary sanctions can be imposed on the accused.

    Viruswaanzin believes Van Ranst is abusing his status as a physician, spreading misinformation, and sowing fear among the public. Due to the latter, the organisation feels Van Ranst is responsible for fear-induced early deaths. Any record of such cases was not given.

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    Lastly, Van Ranst has been accused of “publicly denigrating” his fellow physicians, by openly calling those who disagree with him “idiots”, “patented fools” and “know-it-alls”.

    Van Ranst himself responded by saying that “in some cases, we should be allowed to call people crazy”. The virologist estimates that the complaint will not be followed up on by the Association.

    “I am 100% confident. This complaint will likely go straight to the bin.”

    On his Twitter, Van Ranst shared the complaint with his followers, which was published on Viruswaanzin’s official website. “The unbearable lightness of the existence of people mad with the virus”, he said.

    On 16 August, the group protested Belgium’s coronavirus measures in Brussels. During the protest, they demanded for Van Ranst to be dismissed.

    The protestors did not stick to the safety measures, such as keeping a safe distance and properly wearing a face mask, during the protest.

    At the end of July, Viruswaanzin sued the Belgian state and Bill Gates, along with British epidemiologist Neil Ferguson.

    Overall, the group feels the lockdown has caused more deaths than there would have been otherwise. Instead of the current safety measures, members would like to see regulations that “don’t limit the economy and the rights and freedoms of people”.

    Over the past months, Van Ranst has gained attention by speaking out on the pandemic and voicing his opinions on Belgium’s safety policies. Though respected and cited by many, the virologist was recently criticised by French-speaking politicians and experts for speaking out against Walloon policy. In response to deputy prime minister David Clarinval, Van Ranst said that Belgium would not have seen a second wave of infections if the social bubble would have been smaller than 15 contacts.

    Amée Zoutberg
    The Brussels Times