As the COVID-19 crisis worsens, the world is also facing a global pandemic of disinformation. Conspiracy theories that behave like viruses themselves have spread across the web in the same way SARS-CoV-2 has spread through the population.
Today, we present to you the 10 reasons to believe that the Covid is a conspiracy.
The blame on 5G
This conspiracy theory should be easy to refute: it is biologically impossible for viruses to spread through the electromagnetic spectrum. The electromagnetic spectrum is made up of waves and photons, while viruses are made up of biological particles made up of proteins and nucleic acids. But that's not really the point - conspiracy theories are alluring because they often connect two things that may at first glance seem correlated. In this case, the rapid rollout of 5G networks happened just as the pandemic struck.
Bill Gates as a scapegoat
Most conspiracy theories, just like the viruses they look like, are constantly mutating and have several variants circulating at the same time. Many of these plots appear to involve Bill Gates. Indeed, members of the anti-vaccine and QAnon (a conspiracy theory detailing an alleged plot against Donald Trump and his supporters) and right-wing pundits have seized a video of a lecture given by Mr. Gates on TED in 2015. In this video he talks about the Ebola epidemic and warns of a new pandemic. With this video, they support their claims that Bill Gates was aware of the COVID pandemic or that he himself caused it intentionally.
A recent variation of this conspiracy theory, which is particularly popular with anti-vaccine campaigners, is the idea that COVID is part of a plot led by Gates to vaccinate the world's population.
The virus escaped from a Chinese laboratory
This conspiracy theory has the benefit of the doubt. It is true that the original epicenter of the pandemic, the Chinese city of Wuhan, is also home to a virology institute where researchers have long studied bat coronaviruses. One of the researchers, Shi Zhengli, a renowned virologist and one of the experts who worked on the previous SARS outbreak, was concerned about the possibility. So, they spent days frantically checking lab records to see if anything had gone wrong. She admitted to heaving a "sigh of relief" when genetic sequencing showed the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 did not match any of the viruses sampled and studied by her team at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
However, the mere coincidence that China's leading bat coronavirus institute is in the same city as the source of the COVID outbreak has proven too tempting for conspirators to miss.
The Covid was created as a biological weapon
A spicier variant is that the Covid not only escaped from a lab, but was intentionally created by Chinese scientists as a biological weapon. This theory that the Chinese created the virus somehow is especially popular in the right wing of US politics. She received media coverage thanks to U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). The latter amplified the theories first broadcast in the Washington Examiner (a very conservative media). Theories that the Wuhan Institute of Virology "is linked to Beijing's secret biological weapons program."
The US military imported the Covid into China
The Chinese government has responded to anti-Chinese theories with a conspiracy theory. This is its own and seeks to blame the United States. This idea was first propagated by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. The latter tweeted "it is possible that the US military brought the virus to Wuhan". The comments, according to Voice of America News, echoed a conspiracy in China. This, already widespread, claims that US military personnel had brought the virus to China. He reportedly brought it during his participation in the 2019 World Military Games in Wuhan last October.
GMOs are somehow to blame
Genetically modified crops have been the target of conspiracy theories for years. Because of this, it was therefore not surprising to see GMOs blamed in the early stages of the Covid pandemic. In early March, Francesco Billota, an Italian lawyer, wrote a bizarre article for the II Manifesto. In it he wrongly asserts that genetically modified crops cause genetic contamination that allows viruses to proliferate due to the environmental "imbalance" they cause. Anti-GMO activists have also tried to blame modern agriculture. Ironically, GMOs will apparently be part of any vaccine that fixes the problem.
COVID-19 doesn't really exist
According to professional conspirators like InfoWars' David Icke and Alex Jones, COVID-19 doesn't really exist. According to them, it is a plot by the world elite to take away our freedom. The first versions of this weak theory put forward the idea that the new coronavirus is not worse than the flu. This theory influenced protests against the restrictions in several US states.
The pandemic is being handled by the “deep state”.
President Trump has been a long-time conspirator and has dabbled in many of the theories mentioned here. Trump and his cronies believe that the American "deep state" elite are conspiring to weaken the president. According to them, Dr. Antony Fauci, the face of the US response to the pandemic, is a secret member. Fauci's expression of disbelief when the president mentioned "the deep state" at a press conference would have launched the theory.
The coronavirus is a Big Pharma conspiracy.
A lot of the promoters of conspiracy theories are actually smart players trying to sell. Alex Jones, who urges viewers to buy some very expensive miracle pills that he says can cure all known ailments. Anti-vaccine and anti-GMO quack Dr Mercola says vitamins (and many other products he sells) can cure Covid. Natural News, another conspiracy site, sells all kinds of pills, potions, and survival gear.
These conspirators are leveraging their market to trick people into believing that evidence-based medicine (i.e. conventional medicine) doesn't work. They insist that this is a plot by the big pharmaceutical companies to make us sick. Conspiracies involving "Big Pharma" are a staple of anti-vaccine narratives. Therefore, it is not surprising that they were transmitted in the era of coronaviruses.
Covid death rates are inflated
Another theory coming from the far right is the idea that death rates from Covid are inflated. According to them, there is therefore no reason to maintain restrictive measures or other measures of social distancing. In all likelihood, the actual number of deaths is seriously underestimated.
And you, what is your opinion or your theory on Covid?