COVID-19 is spreading around the globe, and so is misinformation about the disease. But these conspiracy theories take misinformation to the next level by completely altering facts and ignoring scientific evidence outright.
It’s crazy to think that people actually believe this stuff. Here’s some of the worst COVID-19 conspiracy theories making the rounds on social media.
The US bioengineered COVID-19, or China created it as a bioweapon
Politicians from the U.S. are spreading the idea that China created COVID-19, and some Chinese politicians think the U.S. caused it. No evidence suggests the Chinese or the U.S. created this virus deliberatively.
There’s actually a few scientific theories about how COVID-19 came about, and no one fully knows what caused it. But given its resemblance to SARS, it’s likely it had something to do with bats, snakes, or pangolins. Either way, it’s definitely not a developed bioweapon.
There’s a cure or a way to prevent it
Scientists are quickly working to develop a vaccine, but others on social media are quick to invent their own cures — from hot yoga, to coconut oil, to blasting your nasal cavity with hot air from a hair dryer. Some, likely people on cocaine already, believe COVID-19 can be prevented by snorting cocaine.
There is no known cure for COVID-19 and cocaine is definitely illegal.
A meteor brought COVID-19 to earth from space, and now it’s spreading through the wind
COVID-19 started in the same area in China that a meteor hit in October 2019. Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe thinks the meteor released particles of the disease, initially causing COVID-19. So, essentially, it was the aliens’ fault.
Now, Wickramasinghe is convinced the particles are travelling around the world and spreading in the wind. There’s no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can travel around the world with the wind. COVID-19 resembles other diseases like SARS, which developed from bats (Wickramasinghe also believes SARS and the Spanish Flu originated from space).
A psychic predicted this in 2008, according to Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian shared a page of psychic Sylvia Browne’s book, which appears to predict that there will be a global pandemic in 2020. According to Kim’s twitter, Kourtney shared a picture of the book in their family group chat.
“In around 2020, a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments,” Browne’s book reads.
It might match the description of COVID-19, but Browne’s other advice proves she’s not exactly a reliable source. In a study of all of her predictions, Ryan Shaffer found “Browne has never been mostly accurate out of 116 readings, with thirty-three cases mostly wrong and eighty-three unverified predictions”.
Greta Thunberg caused COVID-19 to help with climate change
Clemens Zie on Twitter shared this one, saying, “Greta planted the virus so that people would stop using cars and planes.” Zie is a second year university student in Stirling, Scotland, and his tweet only got eight likes.
Thunberg has announced that she believes she has contracted the virus, but is recovering in self-isolation.
“Vladamir Putin released 500 lions” to enforce social distancing
A fake photo of “breaking news” appeared to show a lion roaming the streets of Russia. The photo circulated after being posted on a Russian parody Instagram account. It gained traction in India, where some Twitter users even applauded Russia for their tough-on-COVID stance.
Global News traced the photo to one taken in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2016.
Although some places have asked the police to enforce social distancing, no one —
not even Russia — has brought out the big cats.
Conspiracies aside, it’s clearly important to get your COVID-19 information from a reliable source. Visit the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website for accurate COVID-19 information and practice social distancing.