The Most Ridiculous & Dangerous Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories
WriterBy Matt Scofield
April 12, 2020 6:00 AM
We should have expected it, a news story of the scale and importance of the coronavirus outbreak was bound to come with an unprecedented amount of fake news and baseless conspiracy theories.
Even the disease's name, COVID-19, has been distorted in viral memes which claim that 'COVID' stands for "Chinese-Originated Viral Infectious Disease." It's actually a contraction of "coronavirus disease," suffixed with 19 in reference to the year it was first reported.
While some conspiracy theories are harmless, like David Icke's claim that the royal family are reptiles posing as humans, other conspiracies, like those relating to the coronavirus outbreak, make much more serious claims. Even if untrue these claims are dangerous as they promote a lack of trust in governments at a time when listening to the advice of experts is more important than ever.
It's not just fake news that's being circulated in regards to COVID-19, there's also plenty of pointless news. One story that has been shared a lot over the last few weeks is a claim that psychic medium and author, Sylvia Browne, predicted that the coronavirus outbreak would occur in 2020 in her book, 'End Of Days'.
It is true that in the 2008 book the psychic predicted that "in around 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe." However, her prediction is vague and nothing more than a guess on a page of other guesses, none of which have yet come true. Spreading stories like this are just a waste of people's time and get in the way of more important information.
The level of lunacy seen in the coronavirus conspiracies being shared online would be comical if it weren't for the fact that tens of thousands of people are dying as a result of this pandemic. Below are three of the most ridiculous...
5G Is NOT Accelerating The Spread Of Coronavirus
The mad and completely unsubstantiated claim blames 5G mobile phone networks for rapidly accelerating the spread of coronavirus. How this theory gained any momentum is unclear, there is no scientific basis whatsoever to link telecoms transmissions to a virus.
Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that 5G is harmful to the population in any way. Remember in the 90s when everyone said mobile phones give us brain tumour? Then 2G launched and that was going to kill us, so was 3G... and 4G. You get the picture. 5G is essentially no different to 4G, it just uses a slightly different frequency.
Whether you are using 3G, 4G or 5G, the technology uses radio waves, which cover a relatively small range of the electromagnetic spectrum. The radio waves used lie on the spectrum between FM radio transmitters and the WiFi router in your home. Taking the entire electromagnetic spectrum into consideration, 4G and 5G are basically the same. However if you pass through heat, infrared, visible light, and ultraviolet, you reach the end of the spectrum where you'll find X-rays, and gamma rays - which of course are harmful to the human body.
Partly due to the fear surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and due to a lack of scientific understanding about 5G, the claim that next-generation mobile phone technologies are worsening coronavirus have gone mainstream - in part thanks to a controversial interview with hardcore conspiracy nut, David Icke, and thanks to an irresponsible and poorly fact checked article published by The Daily Star.
The British paper pushes the frankly ridiculous and totally unfounded claims that 5G transmission may be responsible for suppressing the human immune system, and that the virus can communicate through radio waves - something that reads more like an April Fools prank than a news story.
Unbelievably, because of this, a small subset of serial idiots have turned on mobile phone companies and began to damage telecoms equipment and even hassle staff who are working hard to maintain and upgrade the country's communication infrastructure at a time when more of us are working from home and relying on phones due to being isolated away from our families.
This is the consequence of those bonkers Facebook conspiracy theories about 5G. Key workers getting harassed on the street. pic.twitter.com/5z35r6sabp— Charlie Haynes (@charliehtweets) April 2, 2020
Telecoms engineers are essential key workers and have been named by the government as such. Those seen in the video above are only laying fibre optic cable to carry the digital signals, it's not even the radio spectrum bit of 5G they're working on.
The biggest flaw in the claim that 5G could fuel the pandemic is that the virus is spreading just as quickly in parts of the UK that haven't yet been upgraded, and people are just as affected in countries that don't yet have 5G telecoms. In fact, Iran is one of the countries most affected by COVID-19, yet it has no 5G coverage at all.
Plus, how does it make any sense at all that a business intent on making profit would intentionally role out a service that killed its paying customers?
The situation has got so bad that video giant YouTube has banned all conspiracy theory videos that link 5G networks to the coronavirus pandemic. YouTube said, "any content that disputes the existence or transmission of COVID-19, as described by the World Health Organization and local health authorities is in violation of YouTube policies. This includes conspiracy theories which claim that the symptoms are caused by 5G."
Facebook-owned WhatsApp have also imposed restrictions to slow the spread of misinformation about coronavirus on its messaging platform. The app will now limit the number of times a false story can be sent to contacts.
Coronavirus Is NOT Man Made
The next crackpot claim is that coronavirus is a man-made virus that was intentionally released into society in order to control the population. There's a few versions of one meme currently doing the rounds, with varying standards of grammar. The most common reads...
And just like that the government controls all sporting events, concerts, jobs and medical facilities.
Whether or not you can leave your house.
Has depleted resources such as toilet paper and the food chain supply.
Controls all travel and whether or not you can fly.
They now control YOU and EVERYTHING about your life.
See how EASY it was?
Mass panic, hysteria and complete pandemonium of the entire world over a virus with an extremely high survival rate.
All freedom, stripped overnight.
See how EASY it was?
There's clearly quite a lot wrong with this statement, for starters resources are not depleted. People just keep buying them in such unprecedented quantities that the supply chain cannot keep up with it. Production is ongoing, deliveries are still coming, the roads are still open.
In the first line of the text it claims that "the government" is responsible for releasing the virus. Which government? Are we to believe that all world governments have agreed that this is a good plan of action and they're all going ahead with it in unison?
The list of things governments from different countries around the world can't agree on is endless. Everything from how taxes work to whether same sex marriage should be legal. Yet, the claim is they've all agreed to spread an illness in order to temporarily wipe out their country's workforce and keep them at home.
You'd have thought one country would think "hang on... if the rest of the world is going to be ill, why don't we just go against this, close our borders and use this as an opportunity to produce gallons and gallons of hand sanitiser to sell to the infected countries?"
Plus, a good chunk of the British government got the virus themselves, including the prime minister, Boris Johnson, who ended up in hospital due to persistent symptoms.
So, we can safely rule out the claim that the "government" are behind the outbreak, but what about one of many rumoured nefarious secret societies who are said to run the world from the shadows? These groups are said to be formed by the very rich and powerful. They use their influence to change government policies and control the population through the media and large companies.
The reason a group of rich influential people would want to control the public is for financial gain. They would want us to buy their products, use their airlines, and change the way we think so we spend our money and time exactly how they want us to. Coronavirus will achieve the exact opposite of this, it will damage the economy.
Rich and powerful people (who by the way are mostly older and therefore more vulnerable to the virus) wouldn't used their immense power to make the global population stay at home for weeks on end. While at home we won't be shopping in the stores they have shares in that sell their products, driving cars with their petrol in, going to events that their brands have spent a fortune in advertising at, or flying on the airlines they own.
If these organisations really existed they would want the biggest workforce possible, all of whom would be healthy and brainwashed into spending the money they earned at one of the companies the organisation owns.
They wouldn't want "mass panic, hysteria and complete pandemonium," they would want us to be subdued, oblivious sheep.
Robert H. Shmerling, MD (Faculty Editor of Harvard Health Publishing) wrote, "it is not man-made. This is one of many misconceptions I've heard quoted recently." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say, "cronaviruses are common in many different species of animals, including camels and bats. Rarely, these coronaviruses can evolve and infect humans and then spread between humans."
The coronavirus is very similar to two other recent outbreaks, SARS in 2003 and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in 2012. All three of these strains are thought to have originated in bats, which shows that these viruses do naturally occur and that COVID-19 is nothing new or different. Suggesting that it needs to have been created in a lab shows a lack of understanding about how viruses mutate and spread - something you should have learnt in GCSE biology.
Coronavirus Was NOT Released To Distract Us From A Doomsday Asteroid
The final pig ignorant theory is that world leaders released coronavirus into the population to keep us indoors and force us to spend time with our families due to the impending threat of an unstoppable a doomsday asteroid that's approaching Earth.
This claim is just as easy as all the others to debunk. We've seen end of the world prophecies like this time and time again. The most recent was in January 2019 when idiots told us that a rare blood moon eclipse would bring with it the destruction of humanity - of course this didn't happen.
This time around false claims circulating online state that NASA warned that an asteroid is on a collision course with Earth and is due to strike in April 2020. While it is true that a large asteroid is heading towards Earth, NASA hasn't put out a warning as the astronomical body will pass with a safe distance of around four million miles posing no threat to life on Earth at all.
Of course, this conspiracy theory was also fuelled by a trashy British news paper. The Daily Express ran with the headline "Asteroid Warning: NASA Tracks A 4KM Asteroid Approach – Could End Civilisation If It Hits". Other viral posts instead claim that NASA is covering up the discovery of the doomsday asteroid.
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