Coronavirus Conspiracies


Emme Perencevich

Infographic by Emme Perencevich

Jack Carrell, Reporter

They’re impossible to avoid: tweets and Reddit threads about how COVID-19 is being spread by 5G cellular towers. Or that the virus is the result of work in a bioweapon laboratory. But why are these baseless conspiracy theories everywhere, and how come no one can convince those people that they are not true? These theories are dangerous and they need to stop, because the first step in any solution is for the governments around the world, and people in charge to begin sticking to the facts and explicitly disproving these conspiracies. Until that happens, there is no way to stop not only the spread of COVID-19, as well as the conspiracy theories that come with it.

These theories are a pain when you’re trying to have rational conversations with friends and family and one person keeps claiming that coronavirus is a result of a Chinese laboratory. No amount of facts will convince that person that they are wrong.

The conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19 (caused by SARS-CoV-2 or novel coronavirus) have been tossed around ever since mainstream media outlets began discussing the virus. Popular ones have included theories that the COVID-19 spreads through 5G cellular towers and that the virus has its origins in a lab. 

In particular, the belief that it was started in a lab is extremely popular. As a Pew Research Center poll found that 29 percent of Americans believe that the coronavirus started in a lab. However, there remains no factual evidence to back these claims. The main thing that makes these claims so powerful is that people want to be able to blame someone for this pandemic. This is why theories of the virus being the result of a government lab are so powerful.

Furthermore, the theory that new 5G cell towers spread the virus took off in the United Kingdom. Leading some citizens to attack and burn those cell towers. According to the New York Times, this theory has led to over 100 incidents of arson in Britain over the past month. Some people believe that 5G can suppress the immune system. While others think the virus can be transmitted through the tower’s radio waves. It should be noted that all of these claims have been discredited by all credible science experts.

The other problem is that the governments around the world should be dispelling these baseless claims, not promoting them. While in most cases no government entity has mentioned these theories, that is not the case for China. Online “trolls” began discussing the idea that an army reservist, that was stationed in China, was “patient zero.”. This story holds no evidence and all major news organizations agree it’s false. However, Chinese diplomats and state-run media have promoted this theory, all of this according to CBS News.

This is the true problem, not that some crazy, small group of people are creating these theories. Rather, some organizations and governments begin to promote them. As of right now, there is no real solution to this problem. Nobody wants to be blamed for this virus, which is why Chinese officials are promoting these theories.

Here, in the US, the president wants this crisis to be over. In turn, he is quick to promote baseless and wild “solutions” to the virus. Even going so far as to claim people should try injecting disinfectants to treat the coronavirus. Then, on Friday, May 1, 2020, President Trump promoted the unproven claim that COVID-19 originated in a Chinese Laboratory. What’s dangerous about a claim like that, is that nearly all intelligence experts in the government agree that COVID-19 is not a product from a Chinese Lab.

The problem with these theories is not only are people being untruthful but they are dangerous in times like these. Right now, all society needs are truthful advice and information. Misinformation can lead to bad judgments and misplaced hatred. The type of misinformation that has led to people believing that it is fine to reopen this country. That is why these theories and the promotion of them need to stop.