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Conspiracy Theories Amid COVID-19: Reel or Real?

by Navneet Kaur - 13 May, 2020, 12:00 566 Views 0 Comment

Introduction

The present pandemic all around the world has put to question the very human existence and while discussions regarding its origin and spread are going on, we can’t really ignore the whole array of ‘Conspiracy Theories’ that have been proposed by countries and institutions. Be it the US-China blame game or the accusations on Russia and China for spreading fake news through Twitter, these theories open up new horizons of thinking.

The US-China “Theory” Tussle

As soon as the news reached us regarding the novel Coronavirus having engulfed the whole of China, speculations were raised on China being behind it. A recent video shows Donald Trump persistently calling it the “Chinese Virus” while being questioned about the same by a journalist. Altogether, the USA has been affirmative about the virus having been originated in Wuhan, with Trump threatening to stop the funding of WHO, which he considers being pro-China. Not only that, but the Trump Administration also doesn’t refrain from terming the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), a hub of artificial engineering of the virus.

China responded to this “Sinophobia” with a theory of its own saying that the US Military carried the virus during the 2019 Military World Games in Wuhan, that were held last October. Zhao Lijian- the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman repeatedly says that it originated in the USA. The article titled, “Further evidence that the virus originated in the USA” was shared by Zhao citing various sources, but was later deleted. Written by Larry Romanoff, the article claims that the US Military germ laboratory in Maryland would have been the place where Coronavirus came from. Meanwhile, BBC News says that most of Larry’s writings are opposed to China and pro-US in nature.

China has even said that the rising culture of Vaping (Electronic Cigarettes), has been the actual cause behind it and that the outbreak is just a pullover by the US to hide the E-Cigarette menace.

Biological Warfare or Technological one?

Many nations believe that COVID-19 is a biological tool to favour geopolitical interests and gain supremacy over other nations. The USA also feels so and according to Pew Research, 3 in 10 Americans believe that the virus was made in the lab as a biological weapon. This theory can’t be wholly negated too as what we see today is a partial, gradual fall of the superpower’s hegemony, which may be a carefully devised plan. However, Shi Zhengli- the lead expert in the SARS outbreak immediately checked the records in Wuhan lab and with the genome sequencing data also, this theory stands false. A recent finding by Scripps Research Institute has also clarified that the virus is a result of Natural Evolution.

Amidst this theory, there is another that connects the Pandemic to 5-G networks that were installed by China almost around the same time when Wuhan got hit. A French Conspiracy Website titled “Les moutons enragés” was the first to share it. This theory may sound a little absurd, given that viruses as biological creatures can’t travel through such radio waves or networks. Debunking such a theory, WHO has clarified that there is no such connection between 5- G networks and Coronavirus.

Iran, U.K and India’s own Devised Theories

Iran has been one of the worst affected by COVID-19. Iran’s Press TV asserted that certain people associated with Zionist activities had created a deadlier type of Coronavirus against Iran. Thus, Iran has accused Jews and Zion elements of having created the virus to pave a way for stock market failure and make the situation advantageous to grow themselves. Many other Arab nations have also alleged Israel and the USA for creating and spreading COVID-19.

India has not very specifically proposed any such conspiracy theory, but the whole section of Media and other politicians who have targeted the “Tablighi Jamaat” has in an indirect manner shown radical stereotypes that they possess. This whole episode shows that a certain section of Indian Society feels that the Jamaat had conspired to spread the virus for various reasons including terrorism. There is undoubtedly a tinge of Islamophobia to this whole theory and it stands redundant, given that COVID-19 is traced to have spread in other nations quite before. India has also clearly alleged China for being the nation that intentionally created panic all across the world.

The U.K too has come forward supporting the U.S.A’s claims that the virus was an accidental leakage from the Virology Lab. Again, there is no clear evidence supporting this claim, with WHO and top US epidemiologists having confirmed it. The UK even became the target of 5-G Conspiracy Theory, with many telecom towers burnt by enraged people.

Pharma Plans or Bill Gates?

The vaccine for this virus not having been developed till now has put our minds wondering if there is a big hand of capitalism in it. News has spread that this crisis is a “golden hen” for many big pharmaceutical companies to expand their production by charging a high amount of money for medicines that are used for basic treatment. And if at all the vaccine gets developed, the situation is again going to get positive for these companies who will make a good profit.

But the most recent and intriguing theory that has been doing rounds on social media claims Bill Gates for being behind this outbreak. YouTubers shared a 2015 video of Gates in TED talk, in which he talked about the Ebola outbreak and hinted at a similar one in the future. Thus, he has been accused by the anti-vaccine supporters for already having developed a vaccine for it and that he is exploiting the situation to depopulate the world and install microchips in people, which he can use to track their details. Conspiracy Theorists have even labelled COVID-19 as a way to divert attention and said that there is no such thing as Coronavirus.

Conclusion

Conspiracy theories have a long history and are a way to express certain viewpoints which may look very bizarre but are only channels to show criticism. There are certain sabotaging activities that are associated with them too, with YouTubers spreading disinformation for garnering more views and frightening people or spreading hate. What we as individuals need to understand is that, in such an atmosphere of false news, the vital thing is to understand the reasons behind such theories and choose wisely between what is right and wrong.

Navneet Kaur
Navneet Kaur
Author is currently pursuing English and Political Science from Lady Shriram College for Women, Delhi University. She is an avid reader and writer. Her areas of expertise are International Relations and Domestic Affairs.

3 replies on “Conspiracy Theories Amid COVID-19: Reel or Real?”

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Article well built up with all sorts of angles required to see how this pandemic is more than just what we adapt from news and rumours.



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Article written very well by focusing on all the aspects and angles of this very pandemic. Gives a clear and wider view than just the rumours and news we receive.



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