The United States has entered a new and aggravating phase of COVID-19, with plentiful vaccines — which poorer nations could only dream of — but a stubborn constituency unwilling to embrace the cure. While much of the disinformation originates domestically, many Americans are unaware that this current firestorm around COVID public health measures and vaccines has also been manipulated and fueled by malign state actors to exacerbate our divisions and sow distrust. 

Russia Today (RT) has even amplified Nicki Minaj’s infamous tweet about the COVID vaccine causing the swollen nether regions of her cousin’s friend in Trinidad, suggesting that she might be on to something. The U.S. is vulnerable and exposed — not only to worsening health outcomes but to further erosion of trust in our information space and institutions.