Conspiracy theories feed on anxiety, fear … and now, coronavirus


A rendering of coronavirus via the CDC.

MYSTERY WIRE — “A deep sense of anxiety and fear where misinformation can thrive” describes America perfectly right now. As the coronavirus takes over the nation’s very short attention span, there’s a comfort available … one we don’t dare take.

It agrees with us, even though it might seem a little mean-spirited.
It reassures us — you’re not the only one who thinks that way.
And it pats us on the back for being so smart in the midst of all these dummies who can’t see the simple truth.

It’s your friendly neighborhood conspiracy theory.

And Rolling Stone magazine has done a nice job identifying some of these wayward lines of logic.

READ: Coronavirus is spreading — and so are the hoaxes and conspiracy theories around it

This virus and the panic that has come along with it — both are serious business — aren’t going anywhere soon. But the panic doesn’t need to be as big a part of the story, and misinformation is feeding the fire. Here are a few highlights of the Rolling Stone list of 9 conspiracy theories/hoaxes, but be sure to read EJ Dickson’s full article:

Blame China

Nothing like a common enemy to solidify your thinking. Two theories fall into this trap. Points(s): Cultural differences mean the Chinese are inferior — even disgusting. They eat bats! (Also a theme when SARS was a thing.) And what about the sophisticated Chinese Level 4 Super Lab right in the middle of the outbreak site? Counterpoint(s): There’s no evidence that bats — or any other animal — had a role in transmitting the virus to humans, and there’s no proof the virus was genetically engineered.

There’s already a vaccine … but they don’t want us to have it

Point: The US applied for a patent on Jan. 22 for a coronavirus vaccine. They have some reason they are not releasing the cure — probably profits for Big Pharma. Counterpoint: It’s a new virus, thus, no way there could have already been a vaccine.

The rich and powerful orchestrated this

Point: Bill Gates (among a host of others) knew this was coming, and has been working to make it happen for the past five years. Counterpoint: That’s a gross mischaracterization of anything Gates has ever said about the world preparing for pandemics.

It’s another ploy to take down President Donald Trump

Point: This virus is nothing to be concerned about — it’s equal to the common cold. (Thanks, Rush Limbaugh.) Counterpoint: In fact, there’s a 2% mortality rate. It’s a serious health problem. It falls under the umbrella of cold viruses, but the symptoms are different and more severe.

There’s more to read about, including hand dryers, “miracle bleach” and the Simpsons.

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