Out of the 1.1 million articles found to contain fake information, 46 percent fell under the category of misinformation/conspiracies. Here are the top conspiracy theories related to Coronavirus that have been doing the rounds.
An analysis of the COVID-19 misinformation, falsehoods and conspiracy theories circulating in the media was conducted by the
Cornell University. Its finding were published by the New York Times. Over 38 million articles were published in the English language globally between January 1-May 26 of which 1.1 million contained misinformation which represents just under 3 percent of the entire COVID-19 conversation. Out of the 1.1 million articles found to contain fake information, 46 percent fell under the category of misinformation/conspiracies. (Image: Moneycontrol)
Miracle Cures: The most prevalent conspiracy theory by far was the miracle cure which consisted of 26.4 percent. This was the point of convergence for several different misinformation themes. It also includes President Trump advocating for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine despite the fact that no peer-reviewed data found them to be effective in treating patients with the virus. Trump was also ridiculed for claiming that ultraviolet light and disinfectants might be used as COVID-19 treatment. After his statement, the number of articles in the "miracle cures" category of disinformation climbed from 10,000 to 30,000 in just one day. (Image: AP)
New World Order/Deep state: The also study noted 11 different conspiracies ranging from COVID-19 being developed as a bioweapon in a Wuhan laboratory to mentions of the deep state and "a new world order". As reported by Cornell Alliance for Science, there is a belief that a “ deep state” of America’s elite is plotting to undermine President Donald Trump of which Dr. Anthony Fauci who is the face of the US coronavirus pandemic response is a secret member. Fauci’s expression of disbelief when the deep state was mentioned during a press briefing supposedly gave the game away.
Democratic Party hoax: It consisted of 3.6 percent of all coronavirus conspiracy articles. This theory uncovered by the Cornell Study includes a claim eagerly pushed by President Trump’s son Eric that the Democratic Party rival to Trump’s own party had manufactured the COVID-19 pandemic to bring him down during his impeachment trial. (Image: Moneycontrol)
Wuhan Lab/Bioweapon: There are several versions of this theory. Most of them allege that the virus had been released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). It is a fact that Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei province, was initially the epicentre of the outbreak, but there is no evidence to prove the claims that WIV was involved. This theory though is so strong that a $20 trillion lawsuit has been filed in the US against China. The plaintiffs have sought an amount bigger than China's GDP, claiming coronavirus is the result of a biological weapon prepared by the Chinese authorities. Social media users have also been quick to add fuel to the fire. However, some clinical scientists disagree on the theory. (Image: Reuters)
Bill Gates: Another conspiracy theory was Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates wants to use COVID-19 vaccines, some of which his foundation is funding, to embed microchips in people to control their actions. This consisted of 2.5 percent of all the coronavirus conspiracy articles. (Image: Reuters)
5G: American singer Keri Hilson linked the COVID-19 outbreak with China's rollout of 5G network in November 2019. Hilson, who has 4.2 million followers on Twitter posted several tweets where she said: "People have been trying to warn us about 5G for YEARS. Petitions, organizations, studies...what we're going thru is the affects [sic] of radiation. 5G launched in CHINA. Nov 1, 2019. People dropped dead." Many eerie theories on similar lines followed, alleging COVID-19 was indeed planned to depopulate the world. There is so far no research that proves a link between 5G airwaves and the novel coronavirus. In fact, a report by CNET debunked this theory. (Source: Moneycontrol)
Anti-semitic conspiracy: Anti-semitic means to be hostile or prejudiced against Jews. This conspiracy theory consisted of 1.6 percent of the total conspiracy articles published. (Image: Reuters)
Population control: American basketballer Michael Porter Jr. came up with a conspiracy theory that coronavirus is being used for population control and claimed that he has never been vaccinated in his life, The Sports Rush reported. He has really caught onto them, by delivering a statement about anti-vaccination and how the Coronavirus is possibly the government’s play to control the population. (Image: Moneycontrol)
Anthony Fauci: Cornell identified US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci, who has often been at odds with US President Donald Trump, when it comes to statements on the coronavirus, as becoming a topic of misinformation early in April. Conspiracy theorists claim Fauci has exaggerated the number of deaths from COVID-19 or accused him of “being a beneficiary of pharmaceutical efforts to find treatments and a vaccine”, says the study. This conspiracy theory consisted of 1.0 percent of the total conspiracy articles published. (Image: Reuters)
Plandemic: This term has also become popular by conspiracy theorists after a 26-minute documentary was uploaded on YouTube on May 4, a slickly produced narration that wrongly claimed a shadowy cabal of elites was using the virus and a potential vaccine to profit and gain power. The video featured a discredited scientist, Judy Mikovits, who said her research about the harm from vaccines had been buried. The video made “numerous false claims” about the virus and was eventually removed. (Image: Reuters)
Bat soup: From the beginning people speculated about the origin of the coronavirus. Videos of Chinese people eating bats amid the deadly outbreak in Wuhan were circulated online. One such clip showed a Chinese woman holding a cooked bat on camera. The video prompted an outrage online blaming Chinese eating habits for the outbreak. However, the video in question was shot in 2016. China had banned the consumption of wild animals after the outbreak began as reports suggested COVID-19 originated from bats sold in Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. But there is no concrete evidence to support the claim that bats transferred the virus to humans in Wuhan. It contributed 0.6 percent of all the conspiracy articles published. (Image: Reuters)
First Published on Oct 6, 2020 09:27 pm