Misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemicWikipedia open wikipedia design.
The pandemic of the coronavirus disease 2019 has caused a large number of conspiracy theories and misinformation about where the pandemic started, how serious it is and the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
Background[change | change source]
Fake information has been spread through social media, text messages, and mass media, including the state media of countries such as China, Russia, Iran, and Turkmenistan.
It has been spread by celebrities, politicians (including leaders in countries such as the United States, Iran, and Brazil), and other important public figures. Commercial scams have claimed to offer at-home tests and "miracle" cures. Other claims include that the virus is a bio-weapon with a patented vaccine, a population control scheme, or the result of a spy operation.
Origins of the virus[change | change source]
One survey by Pew Research showed 29% of Americans who answered thought SARS-CoV-2 could have been made in a lab on purpose and 23% thought it could have been made in a lab by accident.
In early May 2020, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was "enormous evidence" that the virus was from a laboratory in Wuhan. but he said it could have been an accident. Intelligence officials and virus scientists said it was more likely that the virus had not come from a lab.
When the leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, said that he did not want the United States to help his country against coronavirus, he named the idea that Americans had made the virus on purpose to harm Iranians as one of his reasons: "I do not know how real this accusation is but when it exists, who in their right mind would trust you to bring them medication?"
Scientific studies on the origins of the virus[change | change source]
On March 17, 2020, scientists from Columbia University and other places published a paper in Nature Medicine showing that SARS-CoV-2 was almost surely not made by humans in a laboratory. They did this by comparing the genomes of different viruses to each other. The scientists saw that SARS-CoV-2 did not match any of the viral backbones that already exist for virologists to use. Within a few weeks, this became one of the most cited scientific papers in history, meaning other scientists were reading it and using its information.
References[change | change source]
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- Raphael Satter, Robin Emmott, Jack Stubbs (April 25, 2020). "China pressured EU to drop COVID disinformation criticism: sources". Reuters.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
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- Galeotti, Mark (April 10, 2020). "Coronavirus Propaganda a Problem for the Kremlin, Not a Ploy". The Moscow Times.
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- "Iran's Khamanei refuses US help to fight coronavirus, citing conspiracy theory". France 24. March 22, 2020.
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- Katherine Schaeffer (April 8, 2020). "Nearly three-in-ten Americans believe COVID-19 was made in a lab". Pew Research. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
- David E. Sanger (April 3, 2020). "Pompeo Ties Coronavirus to China Lab, Despite Spy Agencies' Uncertainty". New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
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- Jon Gambrell. "Iran leader refuses US help, citing virus conspiracy theory". Associated Press.
- *University of Sydney (March 26, 2020). "Unlocking the Genetic Code of the Novel Coronavirus: How COVID-19 Made the Leap From Animals to Humans". SciTech Daily. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
- Kristian G. Anderson; Andrew Rambaut; W. Ian Lipkin; Edward C. Holmes; Robert F. Garry (March 17, 2020). "The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2". Nature Medicine. doi:10.1038/s41591-020-0820-9. Retrieved March 29, 2020. Cite journal requires