As the phrase goes, the ‘streets are talking’ and rumour mills are running overtime. Several sceptics and tin foil hat bearers have been speculating and there are plenty of coronavirus conspiracy theories doing the rounds on the Internet. Adekunle Adebari e-x-rays some of the most spine-chilling, eerie and scary conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19 and how Nigeria can’ cut through the outbreak.
Since initial reports of novel Corona virus, the biggest humanitarian crisis has brought the world to a halt, known in public health circles by the moniker COVID-19 started surfacing earlier this year, the response on social media has ranged widely from measured caution to unmitigated panic. Global stocks have plummeted, and although cases in China are falling, since 31 December 2019 and as of 01 April 2020, at least over 853 200 cases of Covid-19 have been reported, including 41,887 deaths from the global outbreak and global panic. Italy, Iran, US happen to be the worst hit countries in addition to China, which is the epicentre of the outbreak.
The deaths have been reported from Italy (12 430), Spain (8 189), United States (4 079), France (3 523), China (3 310), Iran (2 898), United Kingdom (1 789), Netherlands (1 039), Germany (732), Belgium (705), Switzerland (373), Turkey (214), Brazil (201), Sweden (180), South Korea (163), Portugal (160), Indonesia (136), Austria (128), whilst Nigeria has recorded only two deaths but 131 cases as at Press time.
The fact that the virus appears to have originated in China is spine-chilling, eerie and scary, and seems to have exacerbated the opportunity to spread misinformation. Because most coronaviruses originate among mammals, and because the current working theory is that COVID-19 originated in a live animal market in Wuhan, many on social media have jumped to the conclusion that some Chinese people’s predilection for eating bats is putting global health at risk. This assumption has been bolstered by a number of viral videos showing people eating bats or bat soup.
When psychological states are peaked and people are anxious, they’re more apt to share inaccurate information.Given the strained relations between China and the U.S., there’s even more anxiety there. And because there’s heightened skepticism on social media about the official narratives from the international media and the official silence on the part of the federal government, up until a few days a go the President addressed the nation through a rather uninspiring speech .
Those Who May Have Predicted The Outbreak….
‘The Simpsons’ is popular for various reasons. It is, of course, the longest running primetime scripted series and has won several accolades too. But, the animated show is also known for predicting several major events around the world before they happened. From allegedly predicting the 9/11 attacks to Donald Trump announcing his presidency, the show is almost like an embodiment of Nostradamus. However, soon after the coronavirus outbreak, allegations of the show predicting the pandemic surfaced.
With rife speculations tracing the origins of the Corona Virus to China’s market, Scientists haven’t been able to determine the origin of COVID-19 but speculations are rife that the virus originated in the seafood market. This was substantiated by reports from Chinese health authorities and the World Health Organization which said that “most” cases had links to the seafood market, which was closed on 1 January.
There are however skepticism and suspicions that the virus could have originated from Wuhan, Institute of Virology, which houses China’s only level- four biosafety laboratory (the highest-level classification of labs that study the deadliest viruses). The first prominent personality to come out publicly and support the theory was the US senator Tom Cotton who appeared on Fox News to allege that the virus could indeed have originated from the lab.
In the wake of this pandemic, the Internet is brimming with conspiracies about the coronavirus, and, perhaps, one of the most prominent ones was that the virus could be a bioweapon. According to an ET Prime report, a group of Chinese scientists in Canada were accused of spying and were stripped of their access to Canada’s National Microbiology Lab (NML) which is known to work on some of the most deadly pathogens. The alleged ‘policy breach’, highlighted the bio-weapon program of other countries including China. Dr Francis Boyle, the creator of Bio Weapons Act, also claims that ‘the coronavirus is an offensive biological warfare weapon with DNA-genetic engineering’. Again, the claims about coronavirus being a biological weapon are unsubstantiated.
As conspiracy theories spread like wildfire, several misguided rumours about the connection between 5G and coronavirus surfaced online. COVID-19, is believed to have originated from a wet market in Wuhan, China, in November. Coincidentally, China also turned on some of its 5G networks in November.
Rumours gained steam when Keri Hilson, popular American singer, with 4.2 million followers on Twitter, sent out tweets recently about the alleged connection between 5G and COVID-19, writing, “People have been trying to warn us about 5G for YEARS. Petitions, organizations, studies… what we’re going through is the affects of radiation. 5G launched in CHINA. Nov 1, 2019. People dropped dead.”
Several conspiracy theorists also alleged that the viral videos of people ‘dropping on the ground and fainting’ in China, were a result of 5G radio waves messing with the oxygen levels in blood of the general public.
On the alleged Chinese cover-up, ever since the news about the coronavirus was picked up by global media, speculations about the communist government of China trying to ‘cover-up’ the outbreak and hide the official figures were rife. The fact that the Chinese Government tried to suppress the attempts of the whistleblowers (the insiders as well as eight doctors), who tried to warn the public of the pandemic, is rather alarming and didn’t help their cause. Further to making believable the cover up, is the recent reports that over 12 million phone lines disappearing.While the rumours of the Chinese cover-up are unsubstantiated, one can only think about the popular proverb, ‘there’s no smoke, without fire’.
Coronavirus Predicted In A Novel
This theory, in all probability, is the scariest one and will send chills down your spine. Soon after the news of the outbreak broke, several users started pointing out that a passage from the 1981 book ‘The Eyes of Darkness’ by Dean Koontz eerily predicts the Coronavirus outbreak.
The photograph of the passage from the book went viral in no time and netizens couldn’t help but freak out because the resemblance was uncanny and the evidence was hard to dismiss.
To give you some background, the plot is based around a mother who attempts to find out what happened to her son after he mysteriously disappeared on a camping trip. It turns out that the boy is held in China – more specifically in Wuhan – the site of a deadly virus outbreak.
In the passage, a character named Dombey narrates an account of a virus called ‘Wuhan-400’ which was developed at the RDNA lab outside the city of Wuhan, and ‘ it was the four-hundredth viable strain of man-made microorganisms created at that research centre’.
The passage then gives intricate details about how the virus affects the human body. The chilling accuracy with which this 1981 book predicts the outbreak and the resemblance between ‘Wuhan-400’ and Coronavirus is eerie to say the least.