If you feel like you’ve been inundated with viral messages proclaiming that Covid-19 was orchestrated by governments as a means of population control, or a result of 5G rollouts, you’re not alone. Covid Conspiracy theories are flying about with as much momentum as they were at the start of the pandemic – perhaps more now that we have a vaccine on its way. And while we don’t condone or endorse any one of these theories, we do love a good conspiracy for the fact that they highlight the limitless abilities of the creative human imagination (it’s impressive). We also lament the fact that there are people out there who would rather believe the contents of a WhatsApp rumour than actually informing themselves by digging a little deeper. Then there are the conspiracy theories that are just so far out that one can’t help but have a laugh – and who doesn’t need that right now?
So, without further ado, grab your tinfoil hat, because here are some of our favourite (for whatever reason) Covid Conspiracy theories:
Covid-19 comes from 5G
The fact that these two things happened to emerge around the same time, a sound conspiracy does not make. By last April people were protesting and setting fire to 5G towers because of this rumour that had circulated – not surprisingly – on Twitter and Facebook. It’s laughable, and yet troubling, that people would go to such extreme measures to destroy these towers when,
The fact is that conspiracy theories about 5G were bubbling below the surface before the pandemic came about, and the emergence of the coronavirus was just a convenient tool to add fuel to the fire. In fact Ruth Reader at Fast Company writes that these may be politically motivated.
“The technology is poised to make download speeds, upload speeds, and everything in between a lot faster—which could give countries with 5G an economic edge.,” she says. “While there are some people who believe without evidence that radiation associated with wireless technology has negative health impacts, there are also propagandists who may be trying to slow the adoption of this technology in countries that stand to benefit from it. Prior to the pandemic, Russian news outlet RT was pushing false stories linking 5G to adverse health affects”.
So, while we had a chuckle at all the loonies who laid claim to this theory (but not at some of their drastic and destructive actions) we’re glad it’s on its way out. Which of course leaves room for…
Covid-19 was engineered in a lab
From the early days of the pandemic, people have been claiming that the virus was created in a lab, for * insert your favourite nefarious plot here*.
Scientists have, however, so far unanimously agreed that the virus leapt the species barrier on account of close co-habitation between humans and certain animals – which says more about the stupidity and recklessness of humanity in general than it does about any particular government or scientific body. Reader writes that “If the virus were engineered, there would be evidence of the original genetic code in COVID-19’s DNA as well as any additions or deletions”.
Furthermore, while the Wuhan Institute of Virology does have coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 does not seem to have been among them.
This theory was fervently pushed by conservative publications and Donald Trump, though, which should immediately tell everyone that it has a firm basis in racism and politics rather than in science. It has since become kindling for dangerous and divisive anti-China rhetoric, and a feeble excuse for – and distraction from – the US government’s shameful handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sure, it can be comforting to pick a scapegoat, but when that scapegoat is so clearly implausible, it might be best to abandon it, don’t you think?
And speaking of scapegoats,
Billionaires are using the pandemic to profit from vaccines
This work of fiction was touted by the the widely discredited conspiracy theory film Plandemic, which made the wildly unsubstantiated claim that National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates are using their collective power to profit from a Covid-19 vaccine. If that doesn’t sounds like something a Batman villain would do, I don’t know what does.
Considering how loudly Fauci was proclaiming the dangers of protecting ourselves against catching the virus from the get-go, and Bill Gates’ history of philanthropy trying to eradicate communicable diseases, this particular theory just feels unnecessary.
Another Gates-related Covid conspiracy theory is that he has a secret plan to use vaccines to implant trackable microchips in people. Again, this rumour was oringinally enthusiastically pushed by dubious Russian sources, and if you choose to believe them…well, I’m afraid you’re already too far gone.
What’s more likely is that there’s been a misunderstanding somewhere along the way. One study, funded by the Bill Gates Foundation, looked into a “technology that could store someone’s vaccine records in a special ink administered at the same time as an injection” – something like an invisible tattoo. The study made no mention of microchips.
I’m no big fan of billionaires myself, and I’ve written about that before, but if you’re really seeking someone to blame for anything, perhaps you shouldn’t choose a guy who can afford to sue you for slander a thousand times over.
The vaccine changes your genetic code
Like every other vaccine ever invented, this one has received a lot of (weird) flack from anti-vaxxers trying to push their (also weird) agenda. And while, yes, vaccines may come with some slight risks – which are far outweighed by their benefits – the fact that a vaccine can permanently change your DNA is just silly.
The RNA that’s being used by some of the new vaccines simply teaches your body to fight an attack from Covid-19. Messenger RNA molecules are translated in the body to build proteins. Once the mRNA is in your body, your cells can use the information to build antigens, and that’s a good thing! In fact, because RNA vaccines aren’t made with pathogen particles or inactivated pathogens, they are non-infectious, so they won’t make you sick like flu vaccines might.
As was the case with 5G, this technology is relatively new, so it’s no wonder some people are a little uneasy about it, but claiming that it can alter your DNA (what does that even mean? you’ll sprout lime green body hair? or horns?) is a little far-fetched.
Are you starting to see a pattern here? Because I am. New things are scary – but the printing press was once new; Lightbulbs were once new. We can’t flee from progress forever.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t harbour some low-key anxiety that this new vaccine may be how the zombie apocalypse begins, but that’s probably more to do with the fact that I’ve watched one too many dystopian horror flicks than anything else.
Whatever you believe about vaccines or Covid-19 itself, do yourself and everyone else a favour and do proper research, utilising legitimate and verifiable sources before you spread (mis)information to anyone else. If you neglect this step, you stand a very great chance of not only spreading lies (which probably benefit some more nefarious cause) but also of looking like a downright idiot.
And nobody wants that.