Is coronavirus real? Did coronavirus escape from a lab? Is it something that rich of the world intentionally released to the world? Do the rich benefit from the pandemic? Is COVID-19 an act of terrorism? These questions are popping up like mushrooms after rain in search results, so here are my personal thoughts on them.
First of all, yes, it is real. World is rich in alarmists and most of them would beg to get this kind of attention, but we are seeing only the first global shutdown – and actually the first big shutdown of any scale in generations. Hospitals are under heavy barrage, and whatever you think of some of the rich, it is your average overburdened doctor and nurse that have to deal with it. If they could debunk the very existence of COVID-19, they would, very fast.
While virus release on purpose theory is asked globally, it seems to me that it is almost always the Americans questioning the virus’s existence. Answer to this lies in US healthcare system, devoid of universal healthcare (which has its pros and cons), and it is easy for the Americans to suspect that fat corporations would easily benefit from sending their desperate uninsured citizens the iconic surreal bills. Other countries do not suspect it – universal healthcare has gigantic flaws, but a new disease overburdening its workers and management is the last thing those people would want.
Did coronavirus escape from a lab? Is coronavirus fake?
If you ask me, it seems unlikely, although out of tinfoil hatty theories it is the most credible one: the virus could have been accidentally released from a lab. Could it have been tested on bats, not rats? Possibly… bats would find it much easier to escape and propagate a disease. If true, it changes nothing in our lives. Intentionally? Now that is highly unlikely.
Do the rich benefit from global pandemic?
Global economic mayhem is a period of instability that opens the path for drastic changes: of the rich, of the powerful institutions and corporations, overturn of governments. It is an unpredictable threat to the economy with unforeseen consequences, hard to control danger with voting results and a battery of risks of social dissatisfaction that can fuel protests.
If the rich are already rich and those in power have the power, they will not want their playground to change rules, they will want to stay in the quiet and milk the situation as long as possible. A global pandemic is a stick put between the spokes of this process.
While many will argue that no one will go on streets with pitchforks and torches when social distancing is understandable and agreeable on fundamental levels, it is a whole different story when politicians and corporate management begin to fall sick, die or are forced to leave in addition to swelling social dissatisfaction.
In short – no, it is highly unlikely that something of this scale was ever intentional.
The “I’m sure the X did this!” theories
Those conspiracy theories I mainly hear in three versions:
- “It is the Americans ordered by president Trump, due to his well known dissatisfaction with economic influence of China over the US, that planted the coronavirus in Wuhan to cripple China. The Americans, however, were incompetent and it backlashed on them, while the entire world is hit with a ricochet.”
Globally thinking, this is the most popular theory I heard so far. Extremely popular in China.
- “It is the Chinese government that released the virus on their own population to justify putting additional measures of oppression, or with deliberate intention to justify sacrificing a part of its own population in order to infect the globe, as they were aware that, as an authoritarian state, they can control it much better than the West, and it will cripple the West.”
Popular in the West.
- “It was the Russians. They fear the Chinese and planted the disease to cripple them.”
Popular in certain post-Soviet states with angst against Russia.
Of course, there are more scapegoats (including the usual ones panickers and racists point fingers at), but we will skip them. I will now explain why I think none of the three above are right.
On the anti-American conspiracy theory.
This is unlikely for several reasons. While possible, like all of those mentioned, it seems unlikely that Americans would be unaware of the ease with which Americans fly to China and will bring the disease back to the US causing much bigger mayhem at home, that the transmission of SARS-COV-2 is so high, and it would go unnoticed. Not to mention, it was rather obvious that in the Land of the Free, it will be hard to explain to a citizen that he cannot do something, which is not good in times of pestilence. And crippling China economically isn’t in the best interest of the US itself, considering that compared to Iran and Russia it has been a very predictable, stable rival with rather clear intentions, whatever they might be.
On the anti-Chinese conspiracy theory.
China doesn’t benefit from the virus. I am not referring to the temporary economic shutdown or a number of bankrupt companies which is a situation they, on the whole, probably can afford. I am referring to the fact that the centrepoint of China’s superpower in 2020, is its industrial powerhouse and creation of huge amounts of dependency of other countries, especially foreign rivals like the EU and the US, on them. In short – that trade matters, and the more foreigners have to rely on it, the better for China itself.
One pandemic could end it, turning the attention of many companies to somewhere else. Short term backlash is not so short, either – what does it matter that China can produce again, if all their economic vassals are shut down and won’t buy, or go bankrupt?
It is extremely unlikely that Chinese government would neglect to think this one through, when it is praised for its ability to use authoritarian rules to follow long-year plans (which are impossible on the West due to voting pressure on rulers for short-term achievements).
On the anti-Russian conspiracy theory.
This one is utter nonsense for several reasons. First, Russia isn’t so stupid to develop an extremely contagious disease and plant it in China, while forgetting that China is its neighbour and that there is a sizeable amount of land trade between the two. Two, Russia does not seem to focus its propaganda machine on China, it seems to still dwell in Cold War era and fetishise NATO and USA’s significance. Three, we now can see that Russia clearly underestimated the disease and is now facing a problem.
Act of terror theory
This is unlikely for a completely different set of reasons. A bioweapon is sought after by specific characteristics of the pathogen induced:
- Small or medium level of contagion.
- High to very high mortality rate.
- Ease of development, production, reproduction and ability to control.
Diseases that form perfect bioweapons are such as anthrax, plague, smallpox, ricin, or even marburg and ebola, where infected target population is very likely to die, but unlikely to spread the disease back to the attackers. Difficulty in obtaining, sustaining, reproducing, developing and controlling of the virus seems to snuff out the idea that an underground organisation of terror or homicidal fanatics would be able to pull this one out where they fail to carry out much simpler tasks. Support of foreign governments to such organisations? I highly doubt any of them would give something like bioweapons to a bunch of cave-hiding guys with home made RPG rockets. Chemical weapons, sure. Not biological pathogens.
SARS-COV-2 from a bioweapons perspective is quite inefficient. Its mortality rate is most likely closer to 2% or even 1% (if you count in all the untested asymptomatic cases and untested mild symptomatic cases) instead of the 50% – 90% that is often typical of bioweapons. Its long incubation stage, ability to stealthily infect others result in contagion rate that would cause a pandemic indeed, putting at some risk everyone from peasants to the kings. It can be safely said that this disease is unlikely to have been engineered.
All in all, while there surely are many lies revolving around specifics of the pandemic, such as the number of cases or the death rate, origin of the virus is probably just what we are told it is – someone in China fancied a bat for supper, and there the infection started. Bats are already known to be a carrier for a huge number of diseases, including Marburg and Ebola.
I do not think that any of the above mentioned theories have even a grain of truth. It seems to me to be a standard psychological attempt to find a scapegoat for a natural disaster like many that we already know from historical records.
So what should we do? We should stay at home, maintain social distancing and communicate with people using social media. You can also read my previous article on what to do on a quarantine.