Is coronavirus fake news or a real apocalypse? From politicians to students to YouTube stars, many people have expressed disbelief in Coronavirus. However, this has happened before with viruses and plagues. In the 1980s, there were many ideas about AIDs and treatment, such as that it could be cured with goat’s milk. Years later, many of these theories and truths were debunked as lies.
Will the same thing happen with coronavirus?
Fake news has been an issue since the rise of digital content creators, self-made news channels, interest groups, politicians on Twitter, and so forth. It seems everyone has an angle, and while it can be difficult to determine what news is real and what is fake, COVID-19 has proven to be real.
False Claims About Coronavirus
This past week, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify have deleted multiple videos, podcasts, and other content related to a video called “Plandemic,” which tries to prove in documentary-style that coronavirus is a planned plague. This video and others like it are particularly dangerous, as the COVID-19 death toll approaches 305,000 as of mid-May.
Some of the theories and claims include:
- COVID-19 is a man-made hoax
- Spraying chlorine or alcohol on your skin kills coronavirus
- Only the elderly are at risk of death
- COVID-19 is no more deadly than a regular flu
- You can catch COVID-19 from your dog or cat
- Coronavirus was created to control populations
- The US created the virus and planted it in Wuhan to blame China
- Face masks protect you from contracting COVID-19 completely
- Standing by someone with coronavirus for more than 10 minutes guarantees transmission
- And many others…
Most coronavirus myths have been debunked by medical organizations, scientists, WHO, and many other researchers at universities around the world.
So why do so many people believe that coronavirus isn’t real or was planned by a larger government entity?
How Many People are Dying from Coronavirus?
The worldwide death toll for COVID-19 hit 305,000 the week of May 11th. It’s to some to even question that the global coronavirus pandemic is even real, but anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 people have died every day since the peak in April. On April 17th, cases soared to a peak: over 8,000 total coronavirus deaths.
If it’s such a global coronavirus pandemic conspiracy, would all these hospital workers be so invested in the lie? Would nurses be dying of coronavirus after treating patients? If at the most common level of healthcare, people are dying from COVID-19, then the virus is very real and capable of taking lives from all ages, genders, and cultures.
Why Do Smart People Say Coronavirus isn’t Real?
There are a few reasons according to experts. Psychologists have begun studying this phenomenon, and they’ve recognized patterns.
Too Much Information
We are at the peak of the digital age, and with more people staying home glued to news channels and social media, it’s hard to believe either way that all reports are accurate. After all, there are some in the medical community who have pointed out discrepancies, such as this doctor who reported being told to say deaths were caused by coronavirus even if not the case.
Just Sharing to Share
People from every location and perspective are weighing in with their thoughts, hoping to get a reaction or a comment to whatever they have to say. Social media has made it possible for everyone to share their opinion and to consume other views. However, social media can also exaggerate information and try to twist facts to serve ego, instead of fact. One study found that 25% participants said fake news was true, but 35% of the same group said that they would share anyway.
Coronavirus Fake: Cases of Corruption and Conspiracy Theories
It’s hard to decipher what is going on in the upper branches of government across the world. There were reports of missing journalists in Wuhan, which have proven to frightfully true. These conspiracy theories only feed into others that may not be true, such as coronavirus was carried by a snake-bat lab-created mutant, and that it was done on purpose in relation to Hong Kong protests. These types of theories are the most dangerous, but due to the abundance of misinformation, it can be presented as fact.
The Bottom Line
There is no shortage of information available on the Coronavirus pandemic. Using just a subset of the information, it’s easy to make the case either way – that the Coronavirus is just so much fake news, but likewise it’s easy to show that it’s a highly communicable pathogen that can cause grave illness and in a small percentage of cases, death.
The fact that it is so communicable – especially also by those who show no symptoms – that makes it something we all need to take seriously. Catching COVID-19 will not be a death sentence for most who catch it – but as so many can catch it, left unchecked it’s clear that it needs to be treated as a serious public health issue worthy of unprecedented measures to contain it.