I’ve written before on my stance on conspiracy theories, so it should come as no surprise that I am disappointed by the new set of conspiracy theories that have cropped up regarding the latest pandemic.
Unfortunately, the difference between the current set of conspiracy theories, and those I argued against in the past, is that now these conspiracy theories have a direct effect on the health of the world population — it’s one thing to believe that the moon landings were faked, or that Area 51 contains aliens, but it’s an entirely different thing when conspiracy theories result in people flaunting quarantine rules during a pandemic or destroying critical infrastructure.
The three most disturbing conspiracy theories that I’ve seen regarding this disease, from my perspective at least, are the following
- This is not a serious disease, the government is trying to make you panic to chip you while vaccinating you against it (when the vaccine eventually comes out)
- Bill Gates orchestrated this pandemic, apparently for the same reason as above
- 5G networks are spreading the disease — some even go as far as claiming that COVID-19 is not caused by a virus but by wireless technology
These rather outlandish conspiracy theories seem to have gained an unexplainable foothold among the world population. I don’t have the luxury of access to opinion polls or any other tools to gauge the degree to which these conspiracies are believed by people, but I had several active social media accounts who were on my “friend list”, mostly from the anglo sphere, whose owners repeated pushed these conspiracies.
My problem with these conspiracy theories is that they are interfering with the ability of state authorities to successfully control the disease. The claim that covid is no more deadly than the flu is troubling, because it has led people to avoid wearing masks, disobey social distancing rules, and, in some places, protest against the stay at home orders.
What is more worrying, is that the claim that the government is trying to chip people during vaccination is gaining foothold. This weird claim is acting in synergy with the anti-vaccine arguments that have been with us for quite some time, and is probably going to hamper the ability of a mass vaccination program to reach everyone.
If mass vaccination fails, its effects on society will be great. The death toll will continue to rise, the ability of healthcare facilities to deal with COVID-19 cases as well as other health issues will be compromised, and the economic effects of the pandemic will be more far reaching.
The scientific consensus is clear, COVID-19 is serious and vaccines are good for you. But these conspiracy theorists do not seem to heed science in any way. They ignore the scientific consensus and follow the lead of politicians, and discredited public figures, who continue to deny the science and instead push their weird agenda.
The numbers are clear, case fatalities of COVID-19 are much higher than the seasonal flu by several orders of magnitude, and precautionary measures are needed to prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed and to reduce the number of deaths, but people are turning a blind eye to this and instead following a set of destructive ideas that are making them ignore all precautions and putting the health of all of us at risk.
Finally, the weird claim that 5G communications are causing the pandemic are, frankly, too ridiculous to believe. And yet there are people who are very passionately pushing this agenda — to such an extent that there have been several acts of vandalism against 5G communication towers in some countries.
I still remember an argument that I had with one of the proponents of this outlandish conspiracy theory — when I pointed out that electromagnetic waves do not carry viruses, they claimed that COVID-19 is not caused by a virus — despite the fact that the virus has been identified and its genetic sequence published.
These people do not seem to understand the science, or, more worryingly, they do understand the science but are still propagating these falsehoods. Some conspiracy theories are harmless, unfortunately those surrounding COVID-19 aren’t. I hope that these people represent a small percentage of the human population, because if not, we are doomed.