Covid’s Ripples, in the Middle of the Ocean – The New York Times

by | Dec 14, 2022 | COVID-19

Times Insider explains who we are and what we do and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.Two men, caught up in pandemic conspiracy theories and online misinformation, left their lives behind for what one of them called a “great opportunity.”They were following a man who, on YouTube, spoke of theories about Satan’s plan to destroy the world and the evils of the Covid-19 vaccine.Inspired by his words, the two men, Isaac Danian and Shukree Abdul-Rashed, traveled to Hawaii, where they set sail across the ocean, intent on rebuilding civilization. But Mr. Danian and Mr. Abdul-Rashed probably never made it to the Cook Islands, their intended destination. After bouncing between squalls and closed ports, they disappeared, most likely off the coast of Wallis and Futuna, according to officials there.David Wolman, an independent writer based in Hawaii, reported the tragic, unnerving story in a recent 4,000-word investigation in The New York Times. He first learned of the events in the spring of 2021, when Abigail Danian, Mr. Danian’s mother, had posted a plea for help on Facebook. After digging around, Mr. Wolman was “completely hooked,” he said. In an interview last week, Mr. Wolman discussed his reporting. This conversation has been edited for clarity.The men’s disappearance involves several countries, jurisdictions and agencies. Did you feel like you were the only one weaving together all the information, and did that complicate your interaction with the families?Absolutely. They were having a hard time hearing back from anyone. Whereas if you call and say you’re with The New York Tim …

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