Conservative radio host says he intentionally got Covid to ‘gain natural immunity’

Right-wing radio host Dennis Prager has revealed he tested positive for Covid-19 after a long period of purposefully trying to catch the virus through hugs and other exchanges with people.

“I’ve engaged with strangers, constantly hugging them, taking photos with them knowing that I was making myself very susceptible to getting Covid,” Prager, 73, said on Monday, having been given a positive test last week.

The host of ‘The Dennis Prager Show’ and founder of the popular Prager University video series often travels the country for speaking engagements, some of which, in the past, have included popular comedian and podcaster Adam Carrolla. 

As “bizarre” as getting Covid on purpose sounds, Prager said on his show, it’s what he wanted, “in the hope I would achieve natural immunity and be taken care of by therapeutics.”

There has been conflicting information about the protection offered by natural immunity to Covid, with health officials unable to concretely say whether it is more or less effective than a vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends getting a jab. 

A recent study published in the medical journal Viruses, however, came to the conclusion that natural immunity may provide “a more robust humoral immune response” than vaccines. 

Prager’s diagnosis came only days after he spoke at an event for Heidi Ganahl, a Republican running for Colorado governor. Her campaign team has since distanced themselves from his plan to intentionally contract the virus, saying they were unaware of the commentator’s plans. 

“We are reaching out to all those who attended to make sure they are informed,” the campaign said in a statement responding to Prager’s announcement, going on to encourage those who attended the event to get vaccinated. 

Prager claimed he has been feeling progressively better, thanks to the regimen of medication he had been taking, including the controversial ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine drugs.

“I have walked the walk on this matter, and here I am,” he said. 

His announcement has been met mostly with derision, with many social media users blasting the pundit’s plan to intentionally infect himself as dangerous.

“I pray for your health @DennisPrager, but shame on you,” conservative Trump critic and 2020 election candidate Joe Walsh tweeted

Others pointed to Prager’s hefty drug regimen and its likely high cost as a sign of his privilege, noting that most people can’t afford such an array of medications and thus might be better getting inoculated – a course of action that is free. 

Prager is one of many conservative pundits to oppose vaccine mandates, promoting medical choice as the preferred alternative. 

“I didn’t want one of the vaccines before I got Covid, and now I don’t need one,” he said. “I’ll have natural immunity that’s far superior to vaccine-induced immunity.”

Other radio show hosts have also voiced their opposition to vaccine mandates, with Fox News regular Dan Bongino threatening to end his relationship with Cumulus Media, and his radio show, over its enforcement of a mandate. 

“Cumulus is going to have to make a decision with me: if they want to continue this partnership or they don’t,” he said on Monday, giving the company an ultimatum.