When the COVID-19 pandemic started to flare up in the United States, I started to freak out a little bit. I have a generalized anxiety disorder, and like many other people, I was constantly refreshing social media and news websites for updates. Thankfully, I had Dr. Mike. Unfortunately, he recently had to apologize for being caught partying during the largest COVID spike of the year.
For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Mike is a doctor with almost 6.5 million subscribers on YouTube. I first started watching him because he had some great takes on mental health, but when the pandemic started, he became my most-trusted source. There was so much conflicting information going around about whether we should or shouldn’t wear masks and how bad this pandemic would get, and Dr. Mike always had a level-headed approach to the conversation.
He explained how we need to adapt as new data comes out and we may need to change how we protect ourselves from catching and spreading COVID-19. I learned a ton in the early days of the pandemic because of Dr. Mike, but most of all, he beat into all of our heads to stay alert and not anxious.
At the time of writing this, it’s the end of November, and we’re consistently breaking records of COVID cases. This is during the holiday season when many people decided to stay home for the first time in years rather than seeing their family for Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Dr. Mike went to one of the COVID capitals of the country, Florida, to visit his father, but this wasn’t the issue.
The issue was that he attended a party on a boat and someone took a picture of him and over a dozen other people in close proximity without masks. After getting caught, he made an apology video on his second channel, which only has 58k subscribers compared to his main channel’s 6 million. Not only was this apology riddled with flawed logic and self-justification, but now the opposition to COVID guidelines now has more ammunition.
While I don’t think Dr. Mike should be canceled over this incident, I do think it’s important that we have a rational conversation about what he did, why his apology missed the mark, and where we go from here.