COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories are Dangerous

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Graphic by Lena Hardisty

By Braeden Nett

Due to the effects of COVID-19 the world has been forced to deal with a collapsing economy, extensive governmental control and social distancing.  

The current global situation has created a breeding ground for conspiracy theories, ranging from COVID-19 not being that serious to the idea that the virus was manufactured by the satanic new world order led by George Soros and Bill Gates. 

“We have done an incredible job.  We’re going to continue.  It’s going to disappear.  One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear,” President Donald Trump stated in February. 

Shortly after, during a rally in South Carolina Feb. 28, Trump claimed that the coronavirus outbreak was the Democratic Party’s “new hoax.”

With statements such as these and the fact that he has refused to denounce the conspiracy theorists, the number of people who buy into COVID-19 conspiracy theories has only increased. 

The conspiracy theories about the current pandemic have real-world consequences. Despite a lack of credible evidence, groups of people have begun to protest the installation of 5G networks, believing them to be a source of the coronavirus. The connection between cellular data networks and a virus has not been made. But what is known is that these protests, which often include large groups of people standing close together without proper PPE, only increases the chance of spreading pathogens. 

In Olympia, Wash., thousands of people gathered to protest Gov. Inslee’s stay at home order. Like most protests, the demonstrators were all bunched up together, making it very easy for asymptomatic carriers to spread a pathogen to others. Data has supported the idea that many coronavirus carriers may be asymptomatic, reinforcing the need for mandated social distancing for all. 

A common argument of the lockdown protesters is that the lockdown is tyrannical. What the protesters fail to realize is that a government issued quarantine with the sole intent of saving lives is not tyrannical.

Trump’s comments have also had consequences other than encouraging people to protest a justified lockdown. When he suggested using disinfectants to treat the coronavirus, such as bleach or isopropyl alcohol, calls to poison control centers increased by 60%. This has forced the official Washington state Emergency Management Twitter account to state: “Please don’t eat Tide pods or inject yourself with any kind of disinfectant. Just don’t make a bad situation worse.”

With the example set by the Executive branch of disregarding  science as a means to combat the current crisis,  more people may become ill or die thanks to a mindset promoted by the current commander in chief.

Unfortunately, even if Trump treated COVID-19 like an actual threat, there would still be people in America and across the globe that would create conspiracy theories about the virus. 

What allows these theories to thrive is thanks to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Conspiracy theories and misinformation can spread like wildfire, as anyone with broadband can post false information with a click of the button or a tap of the screen. 

This is why in a time of mass confusion people should fact check their sources of information even if it may challenge their own beliefs. They should also use trusted sources that are not biased towards a certain group or political belief. In order to gain a clear understanding of COVID-19 and its effects on the world at large.

Unfortunately, this has allowed members of the anti-vaccination movement to claim that COVID-19 was created by Bill Gates in order to vaccinate everyone on earth.

This shows that even if a vaccine was found anti-vaxxers would damper efforts to prevent further loss of life.

So please if someone tells you that the virus was made by the new world order, or that it can be treated with disinfectant, or god will protect them from it, feel free to socially distance yourself from them as it’s the only thing you can do to protect yourself and others.