Is Covid-19 real? The Conspiracy theories lane

As the Covid-19 crisis worsens, the world has also had to tackle a global misinformation pandemic. Conspiracy theories that likewise behave like the viruses themselves are spreading just as rapidly online especially as well as other mediums as SARs-Cov-2 does offline and having a rather negative impact on efforts put by governments in trying to fight this pandemic. Thus the importance to speak out and combat online misinformation and conspiracists’ narratives that are misleading the world populations.

 Some of the conspiracy theories that have been making rounds since Covid-19 was declared a worldwide pandemic are as discussed below;

  • Blaming 5G Internet.

In an effort discredit this notion, World Health Organisation (WHO) pointed out, that viruses cannot travel on mobile networks, and that Covid-19 is spreading rapidly in many countries that do not have 5G networks.  This theory should be easy to debunk; it is biologically impossible for viruses to spread using the electromagnetic spectrum. The latter are waves/protons, while the former are biological particles composed of proteins and nucleic acids. This is mostly associated with the fact that there was a rapid rollout of 5G networks taking place at the same time the pandemic hit. “Cue” a viral meme linking the two, avidly promoted by anti-vaccine activists who have long been spreading fears about electromagnetic radiation, egged on by the Kremlin.

  • Virus escaped from a Chinese lab.

This theory at least had the benefit of being plausible. It is true that the original epicentre of the epidemic, the Chinese city of Wuhan, which also hosts a virology institute, where researchers have been looking into bat coronavirus for a long. One of the researchers (Dr. Shi Zhengi a prominent virologist) from the institution admitted in an interview that it was a relief when genetic sequencing showed that the new SARs-Cov-2 coronavirus did not match any of the viruses sampled and studied in the Wuhan Institute of Virology by her team, as such the argument hit a dead end.

  • GMOs may have contributed to the development of the virus.

For decades now, Genetically Modified Organisms have been under criticism by Anti-GMO activists. In early March, an Italian Attorney Francesco Billota penned a rather bizarre article where he was claiming that GM crops cause genetic pollution that allows viruses to proliferate due to the resulting environmental imbalance.

  • Manipulation by the “Deep State”.

This conspiracy has it that a body of people, typically the “influential members of the US elite is plotting to undermine the president.

  • Inflation of the death rates of Covid-19.

A prominent figure in promoting this line of thinking has been Dr. Annie Bukacek, who gave a speech warning that the Covid death rates were being manipulated. A video that has since gone viral and been viewed more than a quarter of a million times on YouTube. however to debunk this theory and  according to Rolling Stone Magazine, her insistence that Covid death rates are inflated has, of course no basis in fact. The Magazine further cautions its readers that the death toll is a serious under-count.

  • Covid-19 was imported into China by the US military.

In response to the anti-China theories, the government of China came up with its own theory and through the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, who tweeted

“It is possible that the US military brought the virus to Wuhan during their participation in the 2019 Military World Games in Wuhan last October.”

Which the Atlantic reported and vehemently criticized a “geopolitical ploy”- useful for domestic propaganda but not widely believed under the “International eye”.

  • The virus does not really exist.

According to professional conspiracist theories, “Covid-19 does not exist”, but a ploy by the globalist elite to take away our “freedom”. Which seems to have been influential in the anti-lockdown protests witnessed world over which has seen many refuse to observe social distancing measures. This could and has directly aided to spread the epidemic further in localities and increase the resulting death toll a good example of a country affected by this stance is Tanzania.

  • Blame on the big Pharmaceuticals.

Citing examples from figures like Alex Jones urging masses to buy expensive miracle pills that he claims can cure all known diseases. Another Dr. Mercola, an anti-vaccination and anti-GMO medic. She put up a claim that vitamins and numerous other products he sells can cure or prevent Covid. He has since been banned from goggle due to peddling misinformation.

  • Covid was created as a biological weapon

This theory is particularly popular in the US. However, due to genetic sequencing this notion can easily be debunked now that there is unambiguous scientific evidence.

To conclude, if you’ve taken the time to combat misinformation, through actions such as muting or blocking or even going a step further to report the content of false information peddlers on social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp among other social Apps, thank you for your service to the internet.   

Question.

Have you ever convinced a friend or a family member to take down misinformation?

Share your strategy.

Author's

Hauler Kasozi, Arinitwe Survival, Alex Sabitmana, Lukas Raget Ogola, Onyango Sanfo Senivo and Ruth Andera

IUEA Students

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