You probably know by now that Coronavirus disease now called Covid-19 is an infectious disease caused by the recently discovered coronavirus. Coronavirus victims experience respiratory illness –mostly mild or moderate in people of younger age. In the case of older victims especially individuals with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, respiratory disease, the virus tends to develop severe ailment.
Covid-19 spreads from person to person through droplets of saliva or discharge from nose when someone who has contracted the virus sneezes or coughs. According to WHO; no vaccines or foolproof treatments have been discovered at this time but there are series of ongoing clinical trials toward potential treatments.
The Battle for Conspiracy Theories
Recent study by Pew Research Center postulates that some 29% Americans actually believe that coronavirus was created in a lab, despite scientific and fact-finding evidence suggesting that the virus emanates from animal-to-human-transfer.
According to a Duo Psychologists at the University of Vienna “When people are scared about a situation and feel a loss of control over a matter; conspiracy theories arise from the desire to make sense of what is going on”. Conspiracy theories are brought to the fore by anxiety, worry and fear and they thrive in the midst of crisis.
University of Kent psychologists explained that conspiracy theories appear to provide answers that allow people to preserve or cage their own beliefs in the time of uncertainty.
Top 5 Conspiracy Theories on Covid-19
It would seem that the world is not only embattling Coronavirus pandemic but also dealing with misinformation pandemic. Here are some top 5 conspiracy theories spreading like wild fire.
Bill Gates Taking an Unfair Knock Possibly
Seizing a 2015 video of a Ted talk show featuring Bill Gates; where he disserted the issue of Ebola and also forewarning the world against another pandemic. This has caused many people to assume that he is probably in the know of what is going on or even be the founder.
Oh! This is caused by 5G Network
The notions that some powerful ‘forces’ or persons are seizing technological advancement to power a motive or out rightly wreak havoc. So this conspiracy theory suggests that the virus is being spread by some electromagnetic spectrum –unfortunately because the ‘pandemic hit’ coincides with rapid installation of 5G networks.
The Virus was Planned, Designed and Created from a Lab in Wuhan, China
One is probably tempted to say this may be true considering the fact that the virus originated truly from Wuhan –a Chinese city. And even more closely related is the fact that a Virology Institute in Wuhan has had some of its researchers studying bat viruses for many years.
The United States is Responsible
The Chinese government following recent assertion by White House that China is responsible for what the world is now suffering; has also turned around to say the U.S military should be blamed for the importation of COVID into China.
Covid-19 is a Bio Warfare Weapon
A research by Pew opined that nearly a third of Americans believe the virus was created in a lab. Now discussing whether it was intentional or accidental. 23% believe it was created intentionally and 6% thinks it was a lab mishap. U.S Sen Tom Cotton has been said to be responsible for the spread of this theory when he linked Wuhan Institute of Virology to Beijing’s covert plan to develop a bio-weapon.
Why People Come Up with Conspiracy Theories
Douglas, a University of Kent Psychologist, explains that people tend to turn to conspiracy theories when they are powerless. Big event naturally requires big explanation –Douglas. So in a time of great confusion, he said, it is unsurprising that people crave answers and would look everywhere to find one even if it means to connect dots incorrectly. When people experience loss of control and feel threatened by situations they become susceptible to conspiracy theories.
Psych Central editor-in-chief, Dr. John Grohol in his recent publication opined that “people who feel alienated from modern world –in the face of new technology –which is seen as more complex and difficult to navigate, most likely are going to turn to conspiracy theories.” For instance the idea that 5G is more powerful than previous generations of mobile communication, births the notion that it must also be harmful to human, especially to the immune system.
The hunt for conspiracy theories could also be a function of people’s traditional values, preconceived ideologies, notions and belief. One survey by Pew Research suggests that the idea of Covid-19 being a product of Lab creation is more likely –for instance –to be believed by Conservative Republicans.
Existential fears and other inconveniences such as social distancing tend to give rise to conspiracy theories. –University of Kent Psychologist.
The Danger of Covid-19 Conspiracy Theories
Miller, a professor in University of Delaware, believes that Covid-19 conspiracy theories are likely more dangerous than when people believe other general conspiracy theories [those relating to other aspects of life]. Two types of danger are identified as potential backlash of the continuous spread of Covid-19 conspiracy theories; the first is already manifesting, people setting fire on and destroying 5G network towers. The second however may be more dangerous and this is when people begin to resist –going forward – clinical test for antibodies or out rightly fight against the administration of Vaccine when one is created and mass-produced.
The quest to make sense of a situation that is escalating fast often makes people to be vulnerable to conspiracy theories. Humans tend to believes made-up-story or misinformation on the grounds that conspiracy theories help them to deal with uncomfortable feelings, perceptions and events that are unraveling in their lives. It helps to preserve individuals’ world-views, general belief, perception, political ideology and partisanship.
In the face of fear and perceived loss of control, Covid-19 conspiracy theories are obviously having a field day. However what should be more paramount is how to keep safe and ensure we win the fight against coronavirus rather than making the situation worse with many fallacious stories making the rounds.