BY Terrance Turner
Sept. 1, 2021
Stand-up comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan has tested positive for COVID-19. Rogan made the announcement today after returning from a series of shows in Florida. (Today Florida reported 19,048 cases of COVID-19, along with 10 new deaths. Florida is reporting an average of 19,908 cases a day, according to the Miami Herald.) Rogan had done shows in Orlando, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale.
Rogan began feeling sick after he returned from the shows, he said. He had a headache and was feeling “run down”, he said. “Throughout the night I got fevers, sweats, and I knew what was going on,” he told followers in a video on Instagram. “I got up in the morning, got tested, and I found out I got COVID.”
Today’s announcement comes after Rogan has made headlines for controversial comments about the virus and the vaccine. In late April, Rogan was criticized for urging young, healthy Americans not to get vaccinated. On an April 23 episode of his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, Rogan said:
“I think you should get vaccinated if you’re vulnerable. I think you should get vaccinated if you feel like — my parents are vaccinated. I’ve encouraged a lot of people to get — and people say, do you think it’s safe to get vaccinated? I’ve said, yeah, I think for the most part it’s safe to get vaccinated. I do. I do.
But if you’re like 21 years old, and you say to me, should I get vaccinated? I’ll go no. Are you healthy? Are you a healthy person? Like, look, don’t do anything stupid, but you should take care of yourself. You should — if you’re a healthy person, and you’re exercising all the time, and you’re young, and you’re eating well, like, I don’t think you need to worry about this.”
Rogan’s comments drew massive backlash online, including accusations of anti-vax rhetoric. “I’m not an anti-vaxx person,” Rogan said. “In fact, I said I believe they’re safe and I encourage many people to take them.” But April’s comments drew a firestorm of criticism — some of it even from White House officials.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, described Rogan’s recommendation as self-serving and counter to the overarching goal of stopping Covid-19’s spread.
“Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you are propagating the outbreak,” Fauci told NBC’s “Today” show. “Because it is likely that you — even if you have no symptoms — that you may inadvertently and innocently then infect someone else, who might infect someone who really could have a problem with a severe outcome.”
“I guess my first question would be, did Joe Rogan become a doctor while we weren’t looking?” White House communications director Kate Bedingfield told CNN on Wednesday in response to a question about Rogan’s remarks. “I’m not sure that taking scientific and medical advice from Joe Rogan is perhaps the most productive way for people to get their information.”
Rogan himself echoed that criticism in a follow-up conversation. “I’m not a doctor. I’m a f—king moron,” he admitted, adding that “I’m not a trusted source of information, even for me.”
But that hasn’t stopped him from talking. In August, Rogan was in hot water again after slamming vaccine passports. He decried them as an infringement on civil liberties, saying that “when you give people freedom, you let them do whatever the f–k they want to do, they actually find ways to succeed and grow and thrive. But as soon as you put the boots to them, as soon as you tell them, ‘You have to do this, or you can’t do that. You have to listen to me’ — now you have a mini dictator,” he insisted.
“You have one step away from a king. One step closer. You’re moving one step closer to dictatorship. That’s what the f—k is happening,” groaned the podcaster. “That’s what’s gonna happen with a vaccine passport. That’s what gonna happen if they close borders,” he continued, suggesting a day when “You can’t enter New York City unless you have your papers.”
It would create a country where officials tell citizens, “You can’t do what you want to do unless you do what I want you to do,” he predicted.